How Intel Taps Into Its Internal Expertise
Intel CIO Kimberley S. Stevenson discusses the chip maker's social collaboration initiatives, including an internal version of LinkedIn for employees and a new document-sharing strategy.
By Jack Rosenberger
Intel is reinventing how its employees share expertise and information inside the company, according to Intel CIO Kimberly S. Stevenson, who spoke with CIO Insight during a recent visit to QuinStreet Enterprise's New York office. The global chip maker is changing not only how employees share their collective knowledge, but it is also transforming its corporate culture and, in the process, becoming more of a socially collaborative business.
Like Intel, every company has its own body of experts and collection of work-specific information. However, finding expertise inside an organization, especially a large enterprise like Intel, can be a difficult if not impossible task for many employees. "Intel is a company of 100,000 employees," says Stevenson. "We hire thousands of people every year and we buy five to 10 companies each year. We need to make it easy for employees to know what's happening inside Intel."
To facilitate employees' ability to locate expertise inside the company, Intel is in the process of developing "expert profiles" for its employees. "More than 60 percent of Intel employees have a current resume and profile on LinkedIn," Stevenson says. "We want to do the same for Intel, so we're in the process of rolling out expert profiles to make it easier to find expertise inside the company. Otherwise, how you find information can be a matter of who your friends are and who you know."
Intel's expert profiles will feature an employee's work skills, past and current projects, and their hobbies, personal interests, and passions. "We're trying to capture an employee's life-cycle learning, the entire history of one's career in the expert profiles," says Stevenson, who points out that the knowledge, problem-solving skills, and other workplace experiences one acquired from a decades- or years-old assignment can be just as useful as what one is learning from their current work.
A New Document-Sharing Strategy
To facilitate the sharing of information, Intel has also radically changed how it manages internal documents.
"In the past, Intel thrived by competing internally," says Stevenson. "We'd pit product group A against product group B, but we're not going there much anymore. Instead, we are encouraging collaboration between engineering groups and the re-use of engineering documents with other teams. Intel used to have a tight, need-to-know culture, and the approval process for sharing engineering documents was not simple. Now, we've made our SharePoint documents searchable, we've exposed access to our engineering documents, and we've created an engineering publishing platform, so all of our engineering information is visible to every team. We are exposing our information to make it searchable."
Intel could realize significant benefits from its new collaborative business practices. A 2013 study of 629 organizations by the Aberdeen Group found that the ones with an enterprise social collaboration strategy in place experienced significant year-over-year gains, including a 131 percent increase in operational efficiency, 122 percent increase in one-time project delivery, and 55 percent increase in annual company revenue.
Intel has already gained some measureable operational efficiency, thanks to its new document-sharing strategy. "One result," says Stevenson, "is we've seen a 75 percent increase in the re-use of engineering documents."
About the Author
Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. To read his previous CIO Insight article, "What It Means to be a Digital-Ready CIO," click here.