Table: How the Web Helped Siemens

The Problem

With 461,000 workers building everything from power plants to X-ray machines, Siemens (SMAWY ) is a fount of technical knowledge. But much of the knowhow lies dormant because other parts of the company don't know that such expertise exists.

The Solution

ShareNet, an online database, lets employees find expert advice within Siemens instantly. An online forum allows people to post business cases that can be reused by others.

Making It Work

To prevent ShareNet from collecting virtual dust, Siemens appointed "ShareNet managers" to promote it to employees. Siemens offered incentives such as free trips to those who contributed expertise or used the knowledge of others.

The Payoff

ShareNet has helped to generate $122 million in additional sales. And it only cost $7.8 million to get the online system up and running.

What's Next

Siemens is launching a ShareNet for service reps in the telecom unit. It's also planning one for others in R&D and may create ShareNets that are open to customers.

Data: Siemens

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