In SMEs, we have found that people play certain roles regarding their work. These can be IT administrator, product manager, developer, instructor, or managing director. In another dimension, employees are a member of a group. For example, being in the sales department or technical department or product development.
Alltogether, in small enterprises, the roles overlap and there are typically only very few groups. For example, the founder of a company is typcially in many roles at the beginning and later leaves roles. In a company with 15 employees, there may be only 1-3 distinguishable groups. When employees are on holiday, colleagues switch into a different role and group to compensate. Communication happens now inside the group, between people of the same role, and also across group boundaries.
The question is now - how can OrganiK support communication needs that take advantage of group and role structures? Our current approach is: it should not and it can't. Communication can be modeled topic-based. The important fact is that people who need information about a certain topic need to be informed about it. The topic can be their role, their group, or a certain customer or work practice. Tags (represented in the SemanticApi) are enough to model these topics. A purely tag-based modeling of information can be used to simulate groups and roles by tagging information elements with the group or role tag.
[not sure where to integrate this, TRZ 04/06/09] Communities of Practice (CoPs?) are one way of looking at the 'groups' that you mention. A Community of Practice is a (spontaneous) get-together of people with similar ideas, irrelevant of their specific role, that get together to discuss whatever is opportune for that CoP. Due to the cross-boundary nature of CoPs?, reaching outside organisational and geographical boundaries, the OrganiK system can be an ideal way of communicating and facilitating these CoPs?. A clear example is provided by Syria where, due to the outsourced nature of the work, the employees operate in an environment hosted by a different organisation, with colleagues hired in from other organisations, but with similar tasks and roles within the context of Syria. Finding a way of facilitating the formation of these CoPs? using OrganiK would be very beneficial, especially if it could recommend potential members based on shared interests etc.
LeoSauermann: this is ok to write here. I will add my 2c: CoPs? are not intended for SMEs, they are intended for large corporations that have too many people that do not talk with each other. AFAIK A CoP depends(!) on a moderator that invests a lot of time into moderating the CoP, if that is missing, it will fail and just cost money and time. So: it would be good to have the results of the CoP approach (people communicating formally and knowing where to find experts) without the cost of moderation. I hope that this can be achieved through taggging.