Is my competitor using knowledge sharing?

Like every other business out there, you’re looking for an advantage over your competitors. While these advantages can often come down to technologies, suppliers, and processes, there’s one you might have overlooked: how your proprietary knowledge is shared and distributed.

If only HP knew what HP knows, it could be three times more productive

HP’s former CEO, Lew Platt

The sentiment rings true across the board: IDC found that Fortune 500 companies are losing out on $31.5 billion in revenue by failing to share knowledge internally.

Today, many companies—SMBs all the way to the enterprise—are making use of knowledge sharing tools that help them extract high-value information from their senior developers and other SMEs and distribute it throughout the organization. Such tools help companies reduce their reliance on employees with specialized knowledge, and limit the amount of time spent asking and answering repetitive questions or searching for information among disconnected resources, such as emails, manuals, wikis, and discussion boards.

So who’s using knowledge sharing tools? Here’s a closer look at a few types of companies using knowledge-sharing, and how they use it to improve productivity:

Enterprise technology

Enterprise technology companies rely on knowledge sharing tools to build transparency into their processes and increase employee productivity and development velocity. At Microsoft, for example, a company with over 50,000 developers, they’ve grown a robust internal communication platform, with 70,000 internal users asking more than 80,000 questions. While the development teams use the platform frequently to share and ask questions about legacy code, the sales team also uses it to ask technical questions to better understand the products and support customer needs.

Enterprise financial services

A Fortune 100 financial services company uses knowledge sharing tools to support multiple goals, including onboarding for new employees, internal tech support across the organization, and developer collaboration. With more than 15,000 total users on the platform after a year, the company estimates that it’s saved $470,400 in engineering hours each month.

Health & wellness startup

Flex, a startup in the women’s health & wellness ecommerce space, has scaled rapidly from their start with just eight employees in 2016. As such, it’s been crucial for the company to have the tools to quickly onboard employees and improve developer collaboration. With a small team, developers had often had trouble locating important technical documentation, or found knowledge gaps when mission-critical employees were taking time off. Additionally, the small team frequently uses the help of outside contractors, so it’s important for them to get up to speed quickly without taking too much of the development team’s time. By utilizing a knowledge-sharing tool, the company’s been able to greatly improve developer collaboration and contractor onboarding, and to extract knowledge from senior employees so that technical team members can refer to it at any time.

These companies, and many others, are gaining a competitive advantage by building a seamless process for sharing information and improving productivity. With knowledge sharing, they can move more quickly, helping them focus on innovation instead of training and answering questions. Learn more about how Stack Overflow for Teams can help.

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