Imagine if you could harness the knowledge of all employees in one easy-to-use tool, connecting a workforce and allowing for collaboration across the globe. For the construction industry, this knowledge can provide insight to solve a critical business issue, and these days this expertise can be housed inside a technology platform.

For large construction companies, and even smaller shops, knowledge management is a way firms can gather and capture the insight and experience of employees so other members of the organization can take advantage of that expertise.

While this concept is not new to the construction industry, there is a new renewal of knowledge management, especially due to the growth of social-business technology. Take the example of Fluor Corp., www.fluor.com, Irving, Texas. This engineering, construction, and project management company attributes much of its success to the innovation and creativity of its roughly 43,000 employees around the world. The ability to share knowledge across the organization in realtime became paramount.

Turning to social business technology from IBM, www.ibm.com, Armonk, N.Y., Fluor quickly connected much of its workforce, allowing business associates to communicate, collaborate, and spur innovation in realtime.

Within weeks, more than half of the company’s workforce joined the platform, uploading photos and detailing expertise. The system contains news and information portals and more than 1,200 collaboration spaces. With the technology, employees across 60 office locations on six continents can find colleagues with unique knowledge to help implement innovative solutions for projects.

Say Lim, vice president of IT, Fluor Corp., says the social intranet is transforming how it does business, creating a more connected workforce across departments, geographies, and the world.

With the uptick of social-media technologies, it was only a matter of time before social invaded the workplace. Sharing knowledge using an intranet could be a growing trend for the construction industry, in particular, in the years to come. Alistair Rennie, general manager of social business for IBM, says social business is driving a smarter workforce, and when you have a smarter workforce you are changing the way the core processes in your business run.

This is certainly true in the construction industry. As you consider how to use technology in the year ahead, platforms to enable knowledge management could help empower your workforce to make better decisions and tap into the expertise of colleagues around the globe.