Thursday, 12th March 2009
We are used to personal information being made public via social networking sites, now corporate data has become more accessible with the launch of The Official Board (http://www.theofficialboard.com), a new corporate wiki.
Launched this week by the former general manager of Apple France, Thomas Lot, The Official Board is being billed as the first online executive directory to provide organizational charts for the world’s largest corporations.
In its press release (http://digbig.com/4ykda) the company describes its site as a service to executives who want to keep abreast of changes in their clients’, suppliers’ and competitors’ management teams, information which presumably can be used for company and personal business: it is always useful to know which person to approach when looking for the next career move. Currently, there are org charts for 20,000 of the world’s largest companies on the site, listing 200,000 executives from 80 countries. The data is split into ten industry sectors (http://digbig.com/4ykdr).The company’s aim is to augment the list by a further 30,000 corporations and provide the names of their 20 top executives.
A data exchange model similar to the one operated by the online business contacts directory, Jigsaw (http://www.jigsaw.com) encourages executives to trade in data for virtual currency, which in turn is used to access data. Those who do not wish to enter data can purchase access to the database for an annual fee of $100. Contributions are made anonymously and members can be updated of corporate changes via email alerts.
As with all wikis, users have to be wary of accuracy and comprehensiveness of data, however for business researchers it is easy to see that The Official Board could be a useful tool in competitive intelligence. The hours spent sifting through annual reports to put together company organizational charts or identifying individuals to interview could become a chore of the past. Despite the patchy and at times unreliable data of the site, the charts will still be able to provide users with a visual plan of power relationships within corporate networks.
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