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Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Building Technologies with 'References@SBT'

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This case study presents References@SBT, a web-based application for sharing knowledge, experiences and best-practices globally within Siemens Building Technologies. The application architecture, the content structure and actions on how to improve and increase the content are described. The user community with currently about 3,000 members is highlighted as the critical success factor. As a social networking tool, References@SBT intends to connect people by supporting the communication with each other. The result of a user survey shows the benefits of deploying and using this application from a qualitative and quantitative perspective: It is helpful for 84.6% of the users and implicates an average time saving of 0.6 working days per user.
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GLOBAL EXCHANGE OF KNOWLEDGE AND BEST-PRACTICES
IN SIEMENS BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES
WITH 'REFERENCES@SBT'
JOHANNES MÜLLER
Siemens Switzerland Ltd.
Building Technologies Group, Security Systems Division
Gubelstrasse 22, 6301 Zug, Switzerland
e-Mail: j-mueller@siemens.com
This case study presents References@SBT, a web-based application for sharing
knowledge, experiences and best-practices globally within Siemens Building
Technologies. The application architecture, the content structure and actions on
how to improve and increase the content are described. The user community with
currently about 3,000 members is highlighted as the critical success factor. As a
social networking tool, References@SBT intends to connect people by support-
ing the communication with each other. The result of a user survey shows the
benefits of deploying and using this application from a qualitative and quantita-
tive perspective: It is helpful for 84.6% of the users and implicates an average
time saving of 0.6 working days per user.
1. History
The Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) group was founded on October 1st, 1998 as a
result of integrating the former Elektrowatt group's industrial sector units into the build-
ing technologies activities of Siemens. Thus, the competencies of the former companies
Cerberus, Landis & Staefa and Siemens were consolidated into one organization. Today,
the SBT group is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and consists of four business divi-
sions: Building Automation (BAU), Fire Safety and Security Products (FS), Heating,
Ventilation and Air Conditioning Products (HVP) and Security Systems (SES).
Each division operates in its own, highly competitive market and sells products, systems,
customized solutions and services by a decentralized organization. Because SBT has
been significantly challenged on price by its competitors, several strategic initiatives
have been defined and implemented to reach the Siemens business targets. Concerning
the growth of sales and profitability, one of the focus areas was to enable the global sales
force to learn from successfully implemented projects and solutions. To facilitate this
knowledge transfer, the divisional SES management decided to develop a web-based
intranet application, which contains solution concepts in order to replicate or re-use them.
In January 2005, this paper's author joined SES to take the lead in this program and im-
mediately started with database design, application development and programming, con-
tent collection, and community building. According to the motto "How can people and
computers be connected so that - collectively - they act more intelligently than any indi-
viduals, groups, or computers have ever done before?" (CCI, 2007), the main objectives
have been and still are today:
Build a reliable source of business-related knowledge,
identify trusted and proven sources of best-practices for further exchange,
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 1 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
establish a global community of practice (CoP), and
build up an environment, where it is rewarding and encouraging to publish and
share own work and individual experiences.
The application, which was at first planned for SES projects and solutions only, was
developed in a rapid prototyping manner. Instead of writing concepts and specifications
and having time-consuming discussions with a lot of colleagues, the application was
quickly designed and implemented by one single person, and the database was filled
with about ten contributions as initial content. Already in March 2005, a working proto-
type was ready to be demonstrated. Afterwards, it was improved and extended in many
iterations driven by the requirements of the user community (see chapter 4).
A major obstacle at the beginning was the filling of the database. It turned out to be quite
challenging to discover and prepare existing projects for a contribution. The greatest
achievement was (and still is) to convince the sales reps and project managers/engineers
to invest time and effort to enter project information into the database without immediate
payback for themselves. Getting access to people and obtaining buy-in was only possible
with active top-management support. The critical success factor was to generate a mo-
mentum and keep it going (Akcay, Amdi, Haddad, Miceli, Schott, Thoma, 2006).
Some weeks after the initial prototype was available on the Siemens intranet, the other
divisions of SBT realized the benefit of such an application for their own business needs.
After some relatively minor adaptations, the application could be extended for group-
wide and cross-divisional use in mid-2005. In October 2005, the application was named
References@SBT and became an integral part of the official 'Global SBT Intranet'.
Fig. 1. Homepage of References@SBT, where recent urgent requests,
news announcements, and knowledge references are dynamically displayed.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 2 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
2. Content Structure and Taxonomy
The contributions stored in References@SBT can be divided in well structured "Know-
ledge References", feedbacks and spontaneous discussion postings. An unlimited num-
ber of files in any format can be attached to any contribution.
Each contribution clearly displays the name of its author, i.e. the person, who entered the
contribution and is responsible for its correctness and completeness. Persons are always
displayed as hyperlinks to the respective member pages (see chapter 4.2), which include
the full contact information of the mentioned persons. This enables to build a community
of experts and to identify "knowledge champions" (Hariharan, 2005).
2.1 Knowledge References
While the first application prototype contained finalized customer projects only, nowa-
days several different content types can be stored and found in References@SBT:
Customer Projects (finalized, ongoing, or recently contracted)
Solution Concepts
Service Concepts
Technology Information
Market Analyses
External Award Stories
Business Excellence Cases (i.e. internal improvement project)
"Lessons Learned"
Besides textual information, each knowledge reference contains several attributes like
discipline (e.g. access control, fire detection, heating/ventilation), customer industry
sector (e.g. airport, financial service, oil and gas), country, year of completion, and con-
fidentiality status (for internal use only, externally communicable). This taxonomy al-
lows multi-dimensional search profiles with a combination of several attributes and/or
keywords (e.g. access control projects executed in the healthcare market in Germany and
completed in 2004 or later).
Besides the author (i.e. information provider), one or two contact partners, who can give
technical advice concerning the contribution, can be optionally mentioned. Furthermore,
the geographic position of the site/building (see figure 2), where the project was exe-
cuted, can be specified in terms of geographic coordinates.
Every 4-6 months, all knowledge references are scanned for completeness. This auto-
mated process has to be manually started by an administrator. If a knowledge reference
is detected having incomplete or inconsistent data, the author and the contact partner(s)
will receive a notification e-mail asking for data completion or correction. Usually, the
rate of return after such a measure results to about 20-25%, which is comparatively high.
2.2 Feedback to Knowledge References
Any user can give feedback to any knowledge reference, which is in principle similar to
customer reviews on the internet. This can be seen as a continuous content improvement
process and helps to ensure the quality of the contributions and to reward active users. A
feedback always contains a title, a textual comment, a feedback type attribute (e.g.
"learned something", "created business", "outdated info", etc.), and the name of the
feedback provider, which is displayed as hyperlink to the respective member page (see
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 3 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
chapter 4.2). Optionally, a rating can be given on a scale from 0 to 5, which will be dis-
played as stars, e.g. " " representing a rating of 4. All given feedbacks are dis-
played below the respective knowledge reference and are immediately visible for all
readers. They are accompanied by an automatic notification e-mail to the author and the
contact partner(s).
2.3 Discussion Postings
Currently, the following discussion forums are available in References@SBT:
Feedback and Help concerning References@SBT
Solution Talk
Successful Knowledge Reuse with References@SBT
Urgent Requests
A discussion forum can accommodate several discussion topics. Each discussion topic,
being a discussion about a certain subject, consists of one or several discussion postings:
one 'topic starter' (i.e. the topic's initial posting) and an arbitrary number of replies.
3. Application Features
References@SBT is implemented as a web application and is exclusively available on
the Siemens intranet. It is programmed in VBScript running in an 'Active Server Pages'
(ASP) environment. All information is stored in an MS SQL database, which is con-
nected to the application via an ADO/OLE DB interface (Henderson, 2004).
3.1 Barrier-free Access
References@SBT is open for all Siemens employees. Since it is only accessible within
the intranet, there isn't any further login necessary. The 'Integrated Windows Authentica-
tion' feature, which is supported in ASP, identifies any user by his or her Windows login
data. (A Windows login is mandatory to enter Siemens' computer network.) For a pure
reading access, a registration as community member (see chapter 4.1) is not necessary.
But to use the interactive features (contribute a discussion posting, give feedback, mod-
ify the 'About me' data, set and manage notification alerts), a registration is required.
3.2 Intuitive System Usage
An all-important goal while developing References@SBT was to design a self-
explanatory and intuitive user interface. A user should quickly feel comfortable, while
interacting with References@SBT, without reading any manuals or attending any train-
ings. On the basis of the author's working experiences, the overall usability and the way
of how to interact with References@SBT was taken from Com ShareNet (Clasohm, 2002)
(Müller, Baumann, Manuth, Meinert, 2004), the KM application of the previous Siemens
Communications group, and adapted to SBT's requirements.
3.3 How to Find Relevant Contributions
1. Via the 'Quick Search' field located in every page, a search term can be speci-
fied. This leads to a one-dimensional search profile (e.g. all contributions con-
taining the term "SiPass"). Terms with similar or identical semantics (e.g.
"Wien" and "Vienna") are automatically proposed as search alternatives. This
enables a quick, simple and spontaneous search query at anytime.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 4 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
Using the attributes, which are described in chapter 2.1, it is possible to search for rele-
vant content without specifying keywords:
2. The 'Browse Knowledge' page allows the selection of one attribute resulting in
a one-dimensional search profile (e.g. all contributions related to healthcare).
3. The 'Search Knowledge' page allows the selection of multiple attributes and/or
multiple keywords, which results in a multi-dimensional search profile (e.g. all
knowledge references, which describe projects executed for hotels in Germany,
have both access control and fire detection, show an order volume of at least
€ 500,000, and contain the term "management").
4. A geographic depiction, where the resulting locations of any search profile are
geographically displayed using Google MapsTM, allows to search for projects
executed around a certain geographic location (see figure 2).
Fig. 2. Geographic display of projects executed in Switzerland. When clicking on a red marker, a small
window opens and displays the project's title, which is a hyperlink to the project page, and a site picture. The
positioning was done manually and very precisely, i.e. to the site/building, where the project was executed.
Each one- or multi-dimensional search profile can be individually subscribed, thus the
user will be automatically notified in case of any changes (i.e. new/modified knowledge
references or new discussion postings). This helps the users to stay informed according
to their specific field of interest without the need of accessing the application.
5. A 'Notification Alert' can be set on any search profile or on any discussion fo-
rum. Then, the user will receive a daily or weekly e-mail with new and modi-
fied contributions.
6. An 'RSS Feed', which is a standardized XML data format and can be sub-
scribed within any feed reader, is dynamically provided for any arbitrary search
profile.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 5 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
Additionally, it is possible to search for customers or community members. Doing so,
corresponding contributions can be found as well.
7. The 'Search Customers' page performs a direct search for the projects' custom-
ers by country and/or keyword. Within any customer page, all related knowl-
edge references (i.e. all projects ordered by this particular customer) are listed.
8. The 'Search Members' page allows a search for registered community mem-
bers by country and/or keyword and delivers links to the respective member
pages. In chapter 4.2, a detailed description of the member data is given.
References@SBT was originally intended as knowledge exchange platform for purely
internal use. Thus all contributions are shown by default. Due to the lack of a suitable
reference database, which presents SBT projects towards external users, it was required
to utilize References@SBT for customer presentations and therefore to implement a
'Presentation Mode'. After switching to this mode, all contributions with the confidential-
ity status "for internal use only" (see chapter 2.1) and all commercial data (e.g. value of
the project contract) are consequently hidden.
Content from the References@SBT database is also displayed on other Siemens intranet
pages. This ensures the data storage and maintenance within one single database and
disburdens the other webmasters from permanently updating static link lists. The data
import from References@SBT is done using one of the following mechanisms:
An 'inner frame' displays a References@SBT page delivered in a special layout.
The content is dynamically imported with RSS and displayed according to the
style and layout of the respective page.
3.4 How to Contribute a New Knowledge Reference
The contribution of a new knowledge reference is allowed in English or German lan-
guage. German texts will be translated into English before being released in the database.
File attachments are welcome in any language and won't be translated.
On each page, two links are provided for contributing a new knowledge reference. The
first one points to a web form, the other one to an 'MS Word' template, which can be
completed and sent to the administrator via e-mail. Since the users cannot directly add or
edit knowledge references in the database, any new contribution will be checked, edited
or translated, and copied to the database by the administrator. As soon as a new knowl-
edge reference is released, a notification e-mail is sent to the author and the contact part-
ner(s) asking them to check the content and, if necessary, to complete missing data.
4. Community Building around References@SBT
From the very beginning, the users have been the main focus while developing the appli-
cation and collecting the content. References@SBT is not intended to be an omniscient
tool, which can store and provide the complete SBT knowledge. Besides offering data,
information, and codified knowledge, References@SBT wants to connect people and to
let them communicate with each other - just in the sense of a social networking tool.
Although the application is - from a technological viewpoint - quite simple, it is used
very often, and the number of registered users is steadily growing (see table 1). This
success has been mainly achieved by consequently focusing on the usage part.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 6 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
Table 1. Monthly access statistics, user registrations, and contributed knowledge references
month page
views unique
users user registrations
new / cumulated know. references
new / cumulated
April 2007 9,337 1,873 182 / 3,030 73 / 1,070
March 2007 10,603 3,329 121 / 2,848 41 / 997
February 2007 8,689 3,270 87 / 2,727 33 / 956
January 2007 8,407 2,181 115 / 2,640 32 / 923
December 2006 8,198 3,050 111 / 2,525 37 / 891
An important key success factor is getting in touch with the people, who are directly
involved with the customer projects and are usually located in regional sales branches.
This target audience of References@SBT must be motivated to participate, to enter con-
tent and to reuse other colleagues' contributions.
Many features of today's version are based on user feedbacks. Significant developments
are done in close interaction with the users. Thus, all user feedbacks, suggestions or
enhancement requests are always treated very seriously, replied quickly and reflected in
the tool in very short iteration cycles.
4.1 How to Join the Community
The References@SBT Community aims to bring together all frequent users and pro-
ject/technology experts, who are usually Siemens employees. Any user can quickly reg-
ister in order to become a community member. There are several ways to participate:
1. At the beginning of each References@SBT browser session, a popup window
automatically appears for unregistered users and suggests a registration. (Ap-
proximately 80% of the members registered that way.)
2. If an unregistered user wants to contribute a knowledge reference, feedback, or
discussion posting or to activate an alert, he/she is asked to register.
3. If an unregistered user is mentioned as contact partner in a new knowledge ref-
erence, he/she will be registered by the administrator. This means that any con-
tact partner appears as a member of the References@SBT Community - even if
he/she never used the system.
4.2 Member Page
Each community member has - similar to a "yellow page" - an own member page in
References@SBT. This page displays name, organizational department, office location,
phone numbers, mail address, an optional 'About me' field, and an optional portrait (as
jpg file). Via an LDAP interface, most user data are derived from the Siemens-wide
employee directory, thus a manual maintenance of the user data in References@SBT is
not necessary. The key for the data synchronization is the member's e-mail address,
which is always unique and remains mostly unchanged.
The 'About me' field can be edited by the member him/herself and can contain any indi-
vidual and business-relevant information such as current function, competencies, work-
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 7 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
ing history, etc. Due to local working regulations in certain countries, it is voluntary to
enter information into this field.
All contributions (knowledge references, feedbacks, and discussion postings) of the re-
spective member are listed on a separate page, which is linked from the member page.
Furthermore, several interaction functions can be found on the own member page, such
as managing own alert settings, editing the 'About me' data, toggling between presenta-
tion and default mode, and (during an incentive measure, see chapter 5) accessing the
individual RefCoins balance.
4.3 Frequent Communication
To keep up the momentum, a newsletter called References@SBT Newsflash is sent to all
community members every 6-8 weeks. This e-mail not only introduces new application
features, but also highlights recent and particularly worthwhile contributions, introduces
certain community members, and shows the latest urgent requests (see chapter 2.3). It
can be observed that in the days after sending a newsletter, the activity in terms of ac-
cessing the site and making new contributions significantly increases, e.g. more new
knowledge references and more answers to urgent requests as usual.
5. Incentive Measures
Using References@SBT is currently voluntary for most readers and contributors. In the
long term, knowledge sharing and thus the active participation in KM systems and com-
munities should be an integral part of working processes, business target agreements
and/or HR-based staff incentive systems (e.g. annual bonus).
To quickly increase the amount of contributions, especially during the initial phase, two
reward competitions have been arranged up to now. Within a limited observation period
(twice respectively a four months period), the users have been able to collect points (so-
called RefCoins) for performing certain actions, e.g. contributing a new knowledge ref-
erence, giving feedback, or answering an urgent request. The 10-15 top-users in terms of
accumulated RefCoins have been awarded. According to the following table 2, the con-
tribution activity significantly boosted during the incentive measures.
Table 2. Impact of incentive measures on the contribution activity. The total
observation period is from March 2005 to February 2007 (24 months).
# new knowl-
edge references duration
in months Ø contrib.
per month
with incentive measure 344 8 43.0
w/o incentive measure 494 16 30.9
total 838 24 34.9
According to performed interviews (Müller, 2006), users feel the highest motivation, if
acknowledgement and plaudit directly come from the top-management. Therefore, the
winners have been invited to an award ceremony, where the prizes together with official
award certificates were handed over to the award winners by the CEO of SBT in person.
Furthermore, an article of the ceremony and the pictures of the winners were published
in SBT's employee magazine and additionally released in the intranet news.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 8 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
6. Benefit for Siemens Building Technologies
It is hard to quantify the business impact of a KM system. Here are some subjective and
spontaneous feedbacks about immediate benefits:
"I think References@SBT is a great idea! It will be particularly useful as we try
and position cross-SBT opportunities, and multi-business unit offerings to our
customers" (by a member of the Canadian SBT management, October 2005).
"Big thanks to my colleague Thorsten for his information. I posted my question
onto the discussion board and the following day had all the required informa-
tion, including drawings and potential suppliers. Yesterday a problem, today a
solution" (by a British user, who quickly received a valuable answer on his ur-
gent request from a colleague in Germany, September 2006).
"Sieht toll aus, unglaublich. Können Sie auch das Blaue vom Himmel runter-
programmieren?" (by a very active Austrian user, who suggested a feature im-
provement, which was immediately implemented, January 2007).
In October/November 2006, a user survey was performed. Both registered members and
unregistered users could judge their benefit of using References@SBT for their daily
work. In total, 739 responders participated, as it can be seen in the following tables.
Table 3. Answers to the qualitative question: "How
helpful is References@SBT for your daily work?"
answer amount percentage
very helpful 83 11.2%
predominantly helpful 149 20.2%
partially helpful 393 53.2%
regrettably not helpful 114 15.4%
According to table 3, References@SBT is to a certain degree helpful for 84.6% of the
responders. If "several days" are set to 3 days and "one or several hours" are set to 0.5
days in the following table 4, the answers result in time savings of 425 working days for
all 739 responders or in average 0.6 working days per responder. Given the fact that only
a part of all users participated in the survey, the total time savings are much higher.
Table 4. Answers to the quantitative question: "By (re-)
using the information found in References@SBT, how
much working time could you save (estimated)?"
answer amount percentage
several days 59 8.0%
one day 66 8.9%
one or several hours 365 49.4%
no time savings 249 33.7%
Mainly, saved working time means saved costs, which leads to a higher profitability.
Besides that, the reuse of knowledge found in References@SBT can also result in a
faster reaction to customer's questions and/or an improved quality of the implemented
solution or performed service - and thus in a higher customer satisfaction.
Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 9 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
7. Lessons Learned
After about two years productive deployment of References@SBT, the following lessons
learned can be summarized:
Always focus on the user community (not on the application).
Never stop to address, moderate and motivate the user community.
Ensure continuous attention and support of the top-management.
Provide a self-explanatory application with an intuitive usability and a state-of-
the-art look-and-feel. Avoid bulky manuals and time-consuming trainings as
preconditions for successful use.
Provide multiple communication channels, e.g. several web entry points, dis-
cussion forums, RSS feeds, e-mail notification, download to Excel. Allow the
users to interact with the application according to their personal preferences.
Get contributions of colleagues directly involved with first-hand knowledge
(e.g. execution of customer projects, implementation of solutions, carrying out
of services). "Content that matters is king!"
Let the users immediately benefit from the content found in the database. Make
the content easy reusable in the users' daily work.
Acknowledgements
The author wants to thank Jens-Uwe Reuffurth and Thomas Schott for their continuous
support of establishing, maintaining, enhancing and improving References@SBT. Fur-
thermore, the author appreciates the continuous encouragement by the divisional SES
management, in particular Bernd Haetzel, Peter Löffler, Thomas Stöffler, Jens Wegmann,
and Zoltan Wirth, and their willingness to provide and sponsor a group-wide service.
Special thanks goes to Heinrich Hiesinger (CEO of SBT), who brought in invaluable
top-management support and personally awarded the best contributors.
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Johannes Müller: Global Exchange of Knowledge and Best-Practices in Siemens Page 10 of 10
Building Technologies with 'References@SBT', published in the Proceedings of
the 2007 International Conference on Knowledge Management (Vienna, Austria,
August 2007), World Scientific, ISBN-13: 978-981-277-058-5, pp. 55-64.
... References@SBT ist eine vom Autor entwickelte und administrierte Plattform zum weltweiten, firmeninternen Austausch von geschäftsrelevantem Wissen und Information. Die web-und datenbankbasierte Anwendung wurde zur ausschließlichen Verwendung durch Siemens-Mitarbeitende konzipiert und ist daher nur im Siemens-Intranet verfügbar [Mül07]. Der Fokus bei der Entwicklung liegt nicht auf der reinen IT-Anwendung, sondern umfasst vielmehr die damit zu vernetzende Community, welche bereits Anfang 2005 in die frühe Konzept-und Entstehungsphase eingebunden wurde. ...
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Full-text available
References@SBT ist eine Intranet-Anwendung zum globa-len Austausch von Wissen, Erfahrungen und Best-Practices inner-halb Siemens Building Technologies. Nicht die IT-Anwendung als solche, sondern die derzeit ca. 3.300 Mitglieder umfassende Nutzer-Community bildet den Hauptfokus zum effizienten Wissensaustausch. Im Sinne von ‚Social Networking' möchte References@SBT Siemens-Mitarbeitende über organisatorische und geographische Grenzen hinweg vernetzen und diese zur direkten Kommunikation unterein-ander animieren. Es kann beobachtet werden, dass der dadurch ini-tiierte Wissenstransfer nicht nur über die Anwendung, sondern auch parallel dazu über rein bilaterale Kommunikation stattfindet.
... Doch bereits im ersten Jahr des Betriebs vergrößerte sich der Fokus auf die gesamte Siemens Building Technologies Group (SBT). Entsprechend lautete der Plattformname zunächst "References@SBT" [3] [4]. Im Zuge der Einführung von Divisionen im Siemens-Konzern wurde 2008 unter Einbezug der Community der Name leicht in "References@BT" angepasst − mit BT als Abkürzung für die Building Technologies Division. ...
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References+ ist eine Web-2.0-Anwendung und Community-Plattform zum weltweiten Austausch von Wissen, Erfahrungen und Best Practices innerhalb des Siemens-Intranets. Im Sinne von Social Networking möchte References+ Siemens- Mitarbeitende über organisationale, hierarchische und geographische Grenzen hinweg miteinander vernetzen und diese zur direkten Kommunikation untereinander animieren. Die Plattform entstand 2005 und ist seit über einem Jahrzehnt im produktiven Einsatz. Kontinuierlich wurden und werden Funktionen und Inhalte von References+ erweitert und in agiler Manier den sich über die Jahre ändernden Nutzerbedürfnissen angepasst. Die Ergebnisse mehrerer Nutzerumfragen quantifizieren den dadurch erzielten Mehrwert für die Teilnehmer und das Unternehmen. Mittlerweile umfasst die References+-Community mehr als 18.000 registrierte Mitglieder, die in über 80 Ländern beheimatet und in allen Siemens-Divisionen tätig sind.
... Referencesϩ -called References@BT until February 2012 -is a well-known case for CSS used for knowledge management (Müller, 2007;Müller and Stocker, 2011;Müller et al., 2012). The primary goal of Referencesϩ is to make core business knowledge and the corresponding experts available within Siemens more quickly. ...
Article
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Purpose – To measure the success of corporate social software (CSS), interviews, surveys, content and usage data analysis have been commonly used in practice. While interviews and surveys are only capable of making perceived use and benefits transparent, usage data analysis reveals many objective facts but does not allow insights into potential user-benefits. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to link both perspectives to advance CSS success measuring. Design/methodology/approach – The research case is References+, a Corporate Social Software developed at Siemens to facilitate worldwide sharing of knowledge, experiences, and best practices since 2005. References+ currently has around 15,000 registered members located in more than 80 countries. This paper evaluates results from a user survey with nearly 1,500 responding employees and links all survey results to the corresponding participant’s data on platform use to generate additional insights. Findings – The paper generates findings on how CSS is used in practice and how it is perceived by employees of a large-scale enterprise. Furthermore, it explores how a combination of subjective and objective evaluation methods can be applied to advance the state-of-the-art in measuring use and benefits. By linking CSS usage data to corresponding survey data, the paper provides results on what type of use of CSS may create what type of benefit. Practical implications – This study encourages practitioners to take advantage of a variety of instruments for measuring the benefits of CSS. It generates numerous arguments for practitioners on how to make the benefit of CSS more transparent to financial-oriented decision-makers to successfully defend knowledge management projects against shrinking IT budgets. Originality/value – This paper is one of the first attempts to explore the relationship between "perceived use" and "perceived benefits" measured by surveys and “factual use” measured by CSS usage statistics for knowledge management research. The findings of this paper may empower the role of user surveys in generating additional insights on use and benefits.
... References+ (previously named References@BT until February 2012) is a well-known case of a Web 2.0-based knowledge management application in the scientific community [19] [20] [21]. ...
Conference Paper
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References+ is a business-related Web 2.0-based application de-signed to facilitate the worldwide sharing of knowledge, experi-ences, and best practices on the Siemens intranet. The underlying knowledge management approach has a strong focus on the user community, which currently comprises approximately 10,000 registered members located in more than 75 countries. To measure the individually perceived benefits generated by References+, a user survey was performed in 2011. This paper not only evaluates the survey results received from nearly 1,500 respondents, but also detects and discusses any correlations to factual use and con-tribution behavior measured by an evaluation of the respondents’ system usage statistics. This allows a first attempt to explore the potential of a combination of perceived use and benefits (as meas-ured by the user survey) with factual use (as measured by the cor-responding usage statistics). As an important finding of this re-search, it was observed that higher perceived benefits correlate with usage frequency and the number of viewed contributions. The correlation is less strong regarding average contribution ac-tivity and for some cases ambiguous regarding the number of followers. Furthermore, it can be reported that in general a higher perceived use is also reflected in a higher factual use and in a higher number of followers.
... Vielmehr möchte References@BT – ganz im Sinne von Social Networking – Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter über organisatorische, hierarchische und geograsche Grenzen hinweg vernetzen und sie zur direkten Kommunikation Abb. 1: Startseite von References@BT mit dem Aufruf des Divisions-CEO, die Plattform aktiv zu nutzen und Beiträge einzustellen untereinander animieren (Müller 2007 ...
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Seit 2005 steht den Mitarbeitenden der Building Technologies Division mit References@BT eine umfassende Wissensmanagement-Plattform im Intranet zur Verfügung. Die Web-Applikation hierzu ist eine Eigenentwicklung, welche in VBScript codiert wurde und in einer ASP-Umgebung läuft. Die eigentlichen Inhalte und Daten sind in einer MS-SQL-Datenbank gespeichert, auf welche der Web-Server dynamisch zugreift. Hinter References@BT verbirgt sich nicht nur ein modernes IT-Werkzeug, sondern auch eine Community aus gegenwärtig über 8.000 aktiven Mitgliedern, die in 72 Ländern beheimatet sind.
Chapter
In the last years, Knowledge Management (KM) studies have focused on the foundations of this “new managerial discipline”. Today, there is an increasing need to transform the theoretical speculations into managerial tools, and to find solutions to practical questions concerning daily KM activity. A key issue that still requires investigation regards the management of human resources devoted to KM. The paper analyzes this topic by means of an in-depth investigation of the relevant experience of some leading companies. In particular it examines the problem of managing new roles and tasks for KM, the issue of developing structured KM units, and the question of evaluating KM activities. A discussion of the possible implications for research and management is carried out in the conclusion.
Chapter
In the last years, Knowledge Management (KM) studies have focused on the foundations of this “new managerial discipline”. Today, there is an increasing need to transform the theoretical speculations into managerial tools, and to find solutions to practical questions concerning daily KM activity. A key issue that still requires investigation regards the management of human resources devoted to KM. The paper analyzes this topic by means of an in-depth investigation of the relevant experience of some leading companies. In particular it examines the problem of managing new roles and tasks for KM, the issue of developing structured KM units, and the question of evaluating KM activities. A discussion of the possible implications for research and management is carried out in the conclusion.
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In this digital era, where many product-oriented business-to-business companies are shifting to a product-service systems approach, frontline employees (FLEs) are urged to complement customer-directed behaviors with coworker-directed prosocial behaviors to achieve optimal performance. Surprisingly, little is known about the relationship between FLEs’ coworker-directed and customer-directed behaviors in product-service systems settings. This research addresses this void and serves two purposes. First, drawing on role balance theory, the authors develop and test a model of an FLE’s relative emphasis on serving coworkers (i.e., helping) relative to the emphasis on serving business customers (i.e., proactive selling) as well as the antecedents and consequences of customer-coworker (im)balance. Second, the authors propose that managers can influence antecedents and consequences through an incentive system and access to information sources, respectively. Multivariate time-lagged analyses using survey and secondary performance data reveal that customer-coworker balance is beneficial for an FLE’s performance, especially when leveraging their coworkers as a prime information source. Interestingly, the increasingly damaging impact of an imbalance toward customer-directed behaviors can be countered by using the information technology (IT) system. Also of interest is that managers can correct imbalance—caused by either work group identification or expected customer demand—via individual-based incentives.
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As a worldwide phenomenon, Microblogging has gained increasing popularity. Twitter has not only attracted more than 100 Million active users in its six year history but is also said to have a considerable impact on public communication as as is signified by its use during the Arab spring movement. In the corporate arena, the Enterprise Microblogging platform Yammer claims to have grown to more than 100.000 corporate users. Since Microblogging is claimed to have benefits in fostering communication and knowledge sharing within enterprises, it seems timely to take a closer look at the phenomenon. Our paper summarizes the state of the art on Enterprise Microblogging. It reviews three Enterprise Microblogging case studies and compares their key findings regarding implementation, use and created benefits.
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References+ ist eine Web-Anwendung zum weltweiten Austausch von Wissen, Erfahrungen und Best-Practices innerhalb des Siemens-Intranets. Nicht die IT-Anwendung als solche, sondern die derzeit ca. 8.100 Mitglieder umfassende Nut-zer-Community bildet den Hauptfokus zum effizienten Wissensaustausch. Im Sinne von „Social Networking“ möchte References+ Siemens-Mitarbeitende über organisatorische, hierarchische und geographische Grenzen hinweg vernetzen und diese zur direkten Kommunikation untereinander animieren. Es kann beobachtet werden, dass der dadurch initiierte Wissenstransfer nicht nur über die Anwendung, sondern auch parallel dazu über rein bilaterale Kommunikation stattfindet. Sowohl die IT-Anwendung als auch die damit ermöglichten Praktiken zum Wissenstransfer werden in diesem Beitrag ausführlich beschrieben. Die in diesem Beitrag beschriebene Community-Plattform trug bis Februar 2012 den Namen „References@BT“. Aus Gründen der einfacheren Lesbarkeit wird im Folgenden stets der aktuelle Name „References+“ verwendet.
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Com ShareNet' is the global knowledge sharing network for Sales, Marketing, Service, Research, and Development of Siemens Communications. The basic idea is that knowledge created somewhere in the world should be made available for global reuse. Com ShareNet intends to network all local solution efforts to facilitate cooperative global learning, local reuse of global best practices, and the creation of global solution competences. Com ShareNet realizes considerable and measurable business impact through time and cost savings and through the creation of new business opportunities.
Anreizsysteme für eine Wissensmanagement-Applikation bei der Siemens Building Technologies
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