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WikiOrgCharts crowdsources company relationships

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Screen shot of WikiOrgChart for LinkedInOpen innovation and partnership organizational strategies have blurred work boundaries and sharpened our need to understand who does what in a given company. WikiOrgCharts helps bring that information into focus. The cloud-based tool uses the power of crowdsourcing to populate org charts. More than fodder for headhunters, public org charts have become increasingly useful as more of our work is done in tight connection with associates outside of our organizations. And it can’t hurt to know who’s in charge of what while working on a personal job search.

WikiOrgCharts CEO Farhan Memon got the idea for the collaborative org chart while he was working at AOL [s AOL]. During his time there, his team had monthly meetings with external partners. Because they lacked insight into the partners’ knowledge and reporting structure, the AOL group struggled to figure out how best to work with the outside team. A colleague drafted an org chart of the other company, and Memon thought, “this org chart is good, but what I’d really like to do is work with colleagues to fill in the blanks and append information to the org chart.” Having a clearer picture of the roles and relationships makes it easier to know where the bottlenecks are, how decisions are made, and how to manage the underlying connections throughout the project, explained Memon.

WikiOrgCharts Screenshot Profile View

Building a wikiorgchart is similar to creating an online family tree. (Memon says that they looked at genealogy websites for user interface inspiration.) You drag a person into position and then use linking lines to show the relationship between people. The privacy settings let you shift from the default of identified contributor to anonymous contributor. When members contribute people and relationships to the org charts, they gain the points they need to do their own searches. (The premium membership does not rely on points.) You can start your own profile by linking to your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This quickly provides information about where you sit in your organization(s), and earns you more points for adding to your profile.

WikiOrgCharts ScreenshotWhen it comes to getting your resume into the right hands, WikiOrgcharts has some advantages over LinkedIn [s LNKD]. Search results on LinkedIn can be limited by a person’s position relative to your existing LinkedIn network and the type of account you have (free versus a variety of paid levels). WikiOrgCharts provides unlimited access to the available information — as long as you have accumulated enough points through participation, or, similar to LinkedIn, have a paid account.

Like Wikipedia, WikiOrgCharts is always growing, but the company has given the site a head start. Said Memon:

We built out the site using a number of different data sources, including social graph information, SEC data, and data from federal government employees. We’ve accumulated 9 million profiles. Our system automates some processes such as bucketing people from different companies, but we’re improving other processes such as sematic matching of companies.

Sensemaking, social intelligence, and the ability to connect are critical skills for modern work. WikiOrgCharts provides a tool to gather the data you need to begin those activities.

Images courtesy of WikiOrgCharts.