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In this post, I’d like to tell you about a very simple, yet highly effective knowledge embedding solution, which can be implemented in any organization that runs Microsoft Exchange. The problem we faced was the following: SAP employees work in a very global environment, in which different people from many different countries need to collaborate daily. A necessary condition for this collaboration is that employees be aware of each other’s availability.  At this point, the reader might think, “Right, Outlook provides me with information about other employees’ availability.” That’s true, but in SAP we found that a major pitfall is missing data about *other locations’ holidays*.   At this point you might think, “But Outlook provides international calendars, in which one can see national and religious holidays related to most countries and religions.” This is also true, but we found out the holiday calendars provided by Microsoft are not sufficient, as they do not distinguish between mandatory, “real” days off (on which offices are closed, e.g., Christmas) and other “special” days (on which offices are open, e.g., Administrative Professionals’ Day in the USA). This results in confusion – “Is this a working day or not?” an information worker might wonder when she wants to set a meeting with a colleague abroad. In addition, in some cases we found outdated/inaccurate data in the Outlook holiday calendar. This can happen, for example, in those countries (like China and Israel) where governments decide (just before the new year) when to celebrate/commemorate certain holidays.  To overcome these problems and put everyone on the same page, many organizations publish their own calendars – in PDF format, as an iView/Portlet/WebPart in the corporate portal, or even in hard copy. These solutions have the following problem (as anyone who knows about knowledge embedding would immediately recognize): The holiday data might be accurate and complete, *but it’s not available in the context we need it*, namely: MS Outlook.     Let’s look at the solution we found – accurate, complete holiday information, *embedded where employees need it*:
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