SharePoint has some out-of-the-box features that make it a powerful tool for knowledge management, what with its ability to create profiles, to search for people with particular skills, and to collaborate on documents.

A company called Avacorp, which was formed two years ago by a team of product managers from Citibank, last month rolled out a SharePoint application called Collab to augment SharePoint’s capabilities. Collab delivers a dashboard page that can be customized to include such things as an individual’s task list and profile, the “K-Base” knowledge base with content, and other members of your work group or department.

Avacorp’s CEO, Vivek Dhamodharan, said the company’s engineers wrote a proprietary algorithm called “Whuffie” that tracks a person’s usage to make the search more relevant. “It helps determine who’s the right person for a task or skill set based on their activity,” he said. Dynamic filters augment the search experience, while social tools such as blogs, wikis and discussion forums can be set up and accessed within the Collab application, he added.

Dhamodharan said tools such as Collab help organizations manage the external social tools workers know and love, such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Facebook, by creating similar experiences behind the firewall. “We’re trying to leverage crowdsourcing within the organization,” he said.

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Building a community for collaboration takes good software, and more. Noted community-builder Mark Miller (editor of will be presenting a session on that very topic at SPTechCon in San Francisco next month (Feb. 7–9). If you want to get the most out of SharePoint for collaboration, sessions by Dux Raymond Sy and Tim Smith will also dive into that topic. Hope to see you there!

— David