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Shell creates communities of practice

Working toward the goal of global cooperation, Shell International Exploration and Production has formed communities of practice through collaborative software from SiteScape.

The communities of practice are groups of people who share information, insight and advice about a common interest or practice. With the new system, Shell says it is solving problems and reaping value through people sharing and applying talents, learning and resources globally.

Says Arjan van Unnik at Shell, “We hook up people who are working in related disciplines in Shell companies around the world so they can problem solve and share learnings and ideas. The big trick is to go further than connecting people in the same disciplines. We get excellent cross-fertilization of disciplines--for example, pipeline engineers and corrosion engineers sharing information and ideas, thereby coming up with better and more complete solutions--that’s how we get great value.”

Shell has created 13 communities of practice that encompass more than 10,000 users: three major communities for the sub-surface, wells and surface disciplines, and 10 smaller ones for the supporting cross-disciplines, such as finance; procurement; human resources; and health, safety and environment.

Based on a value review completed in 2000, Shell’s Exploration and Production business realizes benefits of at least $200 million per year through its knowledge sharing initiative, according to SiteScape, whose Forum software is used in the solution.

“Shell is a model Forum customer,” says Timothy P. Butler, SiteScape CEO and president. “They started small with a seed group of members who recognized the benefits and formed a natural community of interest, kept the process simple, and tasked community managers with energizing the groups to keep up interest and build content. Within a very short item, Shell created multiple active communities that engineered their continued success.”

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies (Shell), which grew out of a 1907 alliance between the Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. in The Netherlands and The Shell Transport and Trading Co. in the United Kingdom, operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Exploration and Production is one of Shell’s five core businesses.

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