Do you have a knowledge gap? Short answer: yes.

Your company has a wealth of communication and productivity tools at your disposal. But your team members are still struggling to talk to each other effectively. What’s going on?

It’s time to get to the bottom of this.

Take a look at all of your tools - everything from chat apps, to documents, to wikis, to anything else that people will need to refer to get information.

Next, create a list of all the departments or separate teams in the company or division.

Now, build a table: tools down the side, departments or teams across the top. Start filling in which departments or teams use which tools. If the tool is siloed by channels or folders, consider that a gap.

I’m going to save you time and ruin the punchline for you: You’re going to have a knowledge gap.

Chat apps are siloed by their nature, only allowing for small group or 1:1 communication. Even channels that are meant for an entire team only have a very small percentage of members who actively participate. If a thread is active and a teammate is busy, they are unable to participate and may never go back through the conversations to see what they missed.

Any tool that has a structure that isolates information or limits ownership, is a knowledge gap. Even if the intent of the structure is to provide organization or the intent of the ownership limits is to ensure accurate information - the very nature of forcing organization or enforcing limits results in knowledge gaps.

If someone in your company or team has to say, “Where can I find…” you have a knowledge gap.

You aren’t alone.

We even face knowledge gaps. I’ve classified all of Stack Overflow’s knowledge sharing tools/systems and given you a count of how many we have of that specific tool.

  • Shared folder/drive (countless)
  • Team sync meeting (countless)
  • Email aliases (countless)
  • Chat (3) - channel based, 1:1 based, and meeting based
  • CRM, sales and ordering/billing systems (3)
  • Work documents (2) - spreadsheets, slides, documents
  • Meeting platform (2)
  • External research platform (2)
  • Project management (2)
  • Reporting systems (2)
  • Customer support/help center (2)
  • Wiki (1)
  • Training system (1)

We have our own instance of Stack Overflow for Teams in addition to all of these tools. And we have about 100 new questions a month that come in from across the company.

We’ve found that Stack Overflow for Teams has become the first place people go to when they have a question. They find that posting a question and tagging an individual or group is more likely to get them an answer than if they emailed, posted in a chat channel, or tried to search through archived chats or discussion forums.

Folks realize that it takes less effort, time and stress to post a question in Stack Overflow for Teams. They trust that someone will answer their question. One of the big reasons? Everything is transparent.

Everyone can see when a question is unanswered, who was tagged on the question to answer it, and how long the question was unanswered. It holds teammates accountable to share knowledge (aka, provide answers). It’s easy to ignore a ping or email, it’s difficult to ignore a question that everyone else can see.

By using Stack Overflow for Teams as a first port of call for knowledge seeking and sharing, teams throughout the organization will be able to gain insights from one another and add their own unique context to conversations. Rather than serving as a dated resource that’s rarely updated, the Q&As can be constantly added to with new insights and information. Because team members are able to vote on the most helpful responses, the most relevant content will float to the surface. They’ll also be able to sort by categorical tag or filter with search functionality to find relevant content around specific keywords or topics.

While many other tools have their uses for various teams, Stack Overflow for Teams can serve as a bridge between departments to solve the knowledge gap—giving you the ability to empower your organization to act more efficiently with better intelligence at every stage.

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