Customer Engineering Meets Wikipedia

One of the major problems I need to tackle in our field organization is to foster communites of experts, and create some open space in which new expertise can blossom and be discovered. In a sidebar with our Chief Learning Officer, Karie Willyerd, it hit me that we really need are vanity wikipedia pages for engineers in systems engineering, our product-focused practices, and our customer support functions.

About three weeks ago, we did a stealth launch of our CEpedia (if you're inside of Sun's network firewall, try it as a universal URL from any SWAN domain). CEpedia is the Customer Engineering Wikipedia. It's based on the WikiMedia software distribution; it was built in all of about 3 days with some hard work from Liz Wilson, Mike Briggs and Scott Radeztsky (thanks, folks). Simple efforts with massive leverage -- one of the ways I think most grassroots efforts start.

It grew to about 50 users through the usual "don't tell anyone" electronic word of mouth that initiates a tipping point. I pushed it along a bit further this morning by talking about it in front of our Americas sales organization. That's all of the advertising I'll give it; the rest should be floated by the community of engineers. My first evidence of traction came tonight when I found a blog referrer pointing back to cepedia. That was my intent -- to create a map of the myriad respositories, resources, and content within and outside of Sun, and to make it easy to find experts.

Now it's up to the experts to populate the wiki. I'm confident that our customer-facing engineers will do just that, with the right blend of fun, facts and fresh ideas to make cepedia the internal, entertaining authority on who knows what.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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