Exploring Web 2.0 concepts for sharing hands-on service expertise
Many German mechanical engineering companies involved in machine building and plant construction today send their service technicians on complex installation and repair tasks to customers as far afield as China and India. The technicians' on-site contribution to the customer's satisfaction cannot be overestimated. They are the main face of the company, demonstrating its reliability and technical excellence - if they perform their job well. This, however, depends on the availability of ad-hoc support whenever they encounter problems. The best way to get this support today is to either call a colleague or a helpdesk support engineer for practical device. The tacit knowledge on products and processes shared in these interactions is an important yet not fully explored corporate asset, as it still essentially resides within the individuals involved. The German 'eColleagues' research project tries to make better use of the support processes by capturing and distributing the knowledge exchange for later reference. Is this a challenge Web 2.0 can master?