How to Capture the Tribal Knowledge of a Building

What is Tribal Knowledge and Why is it Important?

In a business context, tribal knowledge can be defined as any knowledge or expertise within a company that is not widely known or distributed. In operations and maintenance, individuals will develop their own knowledge and skills from accomplishing tasks that are based on their own experiences and insights. Oftentimes, this high level information contributes to the quality of the final service or product and helps to maximize the efficiency of the total workforce. In commercial real estate especially, businesses start to have issues when they have an over-reliance on specific engineers. Extracting this information is imperative for training new members of the workforce and reinforcing best practices in current employees. 

Why is Tribal Knowledge so Difficult to Attain?

Commercial real estate owners and operators understand how difficult it is to find, much less hire, qualified engineers to operate their buildings. Has your chief engineer been thinking about retirement or fielding other opportunities? Would their absence have a negative impact on your company? Most often, tribal knowledge is contained in the mind of the most tenured staff members, such as chief engineers, and could affect the entire organization. For example: 

  • When employees leave, they take tribal knowledge with them  

    Every single year, millions of Americans retire or move on from their current role. The longest tenured employees are the ones who carry the most tribal knowledge, and as they depart they take that knowledge with them. When they leave, the quality of the final product or service suffers until another employee figures out the special process, or at least one that works. 

  • Relying too heavily on senior leadership

    In some instances, employees may find themselves in the situation where they are the only ones who know how to solve a certain problem or perform a process correctly. Companies find themselves in this situation when they rely too heavily on certain employees, leaving those employees with a massive amount of burden and responsibility while others fall back due to the “knowledge gap”.

    Knowledge gaps are caused by a number of factors, namely generational inadequacy. Both the tenured employees and new hires can continuously learn. The experienced employees might be comfortable in their ways, however they need to keep up with the times. Newer employees can learn some tips and tricks from those knowledgeable employees.  

How Can Owners and Operators Solve This Problem Using Technology?

Imagine if 3D digital twin technology could help solve some of these issues and effectively capture this critical information? Since tribal knowledge is only known by a select few people, it stands to reason that the knowledge of operating spaces to their fullest potential is restricted to those individuals. These operating spaces are arguably the most important aspect of any building. From an owner/operator’s perspective, you can start to see how turnover without the passing off of this important knowledge starts to become a problem. Aetos is pioneering the use of 3D digital twin technology to create highly immersive environments where this information can be captured and leveraged across entire teams. What is a digital twin? Check this out! By combining an immersive and highly-accessible platform with our robust tagging and itemized database system, annotations also become available. You now have the flexibility to upload any media or file type and attach that helpful data directly to your assets in a highly accurate and navigable 3D environment. Inside of these data tags, Aetos has designed a subfolder structure to house multimedia, workflow management and any other information necessary. Aetos Operate gives buildings the ability to house critical information such as inspection history, user manuals, MEP drawings and so much more. Losing or not capturing these files may negatively impact your building's efficiency. However, the Aetos Operate platform allows you to expose this data to an organization page which allows you to filter, sort, and organize your viewing. You can use real reporting, real data, and gain useful utility out of this bespoke and customizable platform. Without this in depth filing structure within tags, tribal knowledge can become scattered or lost, causing organizations to inadvertently create indispensable employees with hyper-specific knowledge. The Aetos Operate system makes it easy to access your information once it is imported. We save you time searching for annotations, notes, videos, MEP drawings and so much more. Because of this, we can help retain the knowledge that keeps buildings running as efficiently as possible. 

Tribal Knowledge is Like Water: It Has The Potential to Destroy, or Create a Fruitful Future

Tribal knowledge is invaluable to any business but has some serious flaws if not shared across the breadth of the teams that need to understand best practices. Capturing the tribal knowledge of a building leads to the most efficient use of resources and ultimately saves time and money. Aetos Imaging provides a solution to this problem through the Operate platform utilizing 3D digital twin scans. Companies can tag spaces in their dashboard and upload whatever possible file they need right into the tag including notes and pictures. Let tribal knowledge be a tool for your business today, starting with Aetos Operate - Schedule a demo here

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