With OutStart, Cummins Powers the Exchange of Two Kinds of Knowledge

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<strong>Boston &mdash; April 3</strong><br />Cummins Power Generation, the Minneapolis maker of electrical generators, decided people need to exchange two kinds of knowledge, structured and informal, to work with its products. So the company has purchased OutStart TrainingEdge.com software to deliver on-demand training and spark collaboration, in one place. The goal is to upgrade the way the Minneapolis company, a division of Cummins Inc., teaches its global network of employees, distributors and customers about its products. <br /> <br />Initially, the software will deliver on-demand training courses, which Cummins Power Generation calls &ldquo;structured knowledge,&rdquo; to employees, dealers and customers. The online training focuses on the company&rsquo;s products and services. <br /> <br />But TrainingEdge.com also rips a page from the social networking playbook by serving up online communities, wikis and tools for finding and interacting with experts. Communities, wikis and expertise exchange spur the trading of informal knowledge. Cummins Power Generation plans to unveil TrainingEdge.com to its employees and customers this spring. <br /> <br />The company isn&rsquo;t alone in investing in software for unlocking the knowledge that&rsquo;s in people&rsquo;s minds. AMR Research expects companies in the United States and Europe to spend $73 billion through 2008 on software for capturing, archiving and sharing knowledge. <br /> <br />Cummins Power Generation&rsquo;s training manager, Geraldine John, said, &ldquo;We will use the tool to disseminate product knowledge to our sales and service channel. The content hosted on TrainingEdge.com is integral to our product qualification programs.&rdquo;<br /> <br />TrainingEdge.com will help Cummins Power Generation do this in several ways. For instance, before launching new products, dealers can tap into TrainingEdge.com to learn about service and maintenance. Employees can also use the software to view their on-the-job certification requirements. And customers can take training online, which will serve as a prerequisite for hands-on courses. <br /> <br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re very excited about online collaboration through communities and expertise exchange. We aim to put that in place after the structured knowledge piece is launched,&rdquo; added John. &ldquo;We believe it will be powerful to have an environment that connects employees and dealers with either peers or experts. We see our employees, dealers and customers using the collaborative tools in TrainingEdge.com for sharing ideas and troubleshooting. This will be the first time our dealers will have a method for connecting outside of e-mails and phone calls.&rdquo; <br /> <br />&ldquo;People don&rsquo;t consume knowledge in a document-centric way,&rdquo; said Massood Zarrabian, president and chief executive for OutStart. &ldquo;Your performance isn&rsquo;t going to improve by reading pages and pages of documents. Your performance will improve with collaboration, exploration and experimentation, which you initiate. And Cummins Power Generation is designing its knowledge exchange with this in mind.&rdquo; <br /> <br />&ldquo;Most traditional learning technologies separate structured and informal learning to the point of sometimes creating separate content silos,&rdquo; added Bryan Chapman of Chapman Alliance, a training industry consultancy. &ldquo;What makes TrainingEdge.com unique is its ability to centrally locate both types of learning, creating a single site where people can either contribute knowledge or access knowledge via their participation in an online community. Almost all employers have a vision for developing something like the solution Cummins Power Generation is planning to implement. It&rsquo;s impressive that Cummins is making that vision real.&rdquo;<br />

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