What is Knowledge Network and Why Should You Care?

As we developed Knowledge Network, we kept in mind how to save you time by helping you connect more quickly with the right people within and outside your organization. Our aim is to help you connect with the people who can really help you get your work done even if that means someone who can answer a question that helps avoid a long meeting. We also knew that we had to find better ways for you to search for information in a personalized way while protecting your privacy.


You may have read on our website how Knowledge Network enhances Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. We’ll talk much more about KN in upcoming blog entries. Topics will include “under the hood” information, the privacy model and how expertise search helps you get to available “connectors”.


Today we’ll discuss KN components and the initial client experience. KN consists of two components:

  1. a client component which runs on your local machine (should you choose to join your organization’s Knowledge Network as a member)
  2. a server component which runs on Office SharePoint Server 2007

(It would have been a lot easier to create just a server-side application, but we created two components to keep client information private. More about the privacy model soon.)


When you run the KN client for the first time on your local machine, you can choose which Microsoft Office Outlook folders are included in your local analysis. (The KN client supports either Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007.) After the KN client is done with its local analysis, it will recommend keywords and contacts for you to act on. The word “recommend” here is very important in that KN is only recommending keywords and contacts. It is only you who can decide what to accept, edit, or reject before your profile information is published to the server. You can also decide at this point whether or not you are willing to help your colleagues in an anonymous manner.


Once your profile information is published to the server, when your colleagues use SharePoint Server’s search facility to try to find someone with a particular area of expertise or particular contacts, the KN server responds to the query with personalized results that are displayed according to social distance and inferred relationship strengths, which were calculated by the innovative algorithms that we’ve developed.


So, KN can save you significant time when you’re trying to find the right people to connect with. It also allows you to choose the information you want to selectively share with your manager, your immediate workgroup, your colleagues, or your whole organization.


We appreciated having the opportunity to show Knowledge Network at last week’s Microsoft SharePoint Conference. This week we’re showing KN on the other coast at the Enterprise Search Summit in New York. Please keep posting your comments! We look forward to sharing more detailed information and insights with you in upcoming blog entries.