A subject matter expert in business (also termed as SME) is an individual with a deep comprehension of a specific procedure, function, technology, machine, material or type of equipment. Individuals designated as subject matter experts are generally sought out by others fascinated in learning more about or leveraging their distinctive expertise to resolute specific problems or assist meet particular technical challenges. Subject matter experts in some fields often serve as expert witnesses in lawsuits and other legal actions.
Becoming a Subject Matter Expert
Generally, subject matter expert has established his expertise in the specific discipline over a long period of time and after a great deal of immersion in the topic. Several subject matter experts have pursued advanced degrees in their area of specialization.
Furthermore, the experts maintain a rigorous program of continuous study in their field. Many are active as authors, issuing books or articles on their topic. Others serve as educators in college and universities. This additional work and study help ensure the SME individual maintains a current and complete knowledge of their specific area of expertise.
Subject Matter Expert can exist in entire functions of business
While it is usual to seek SMEs in technical disciplines, experts can exist in all disciplines and functions. It is common to find SMEs in information technology, software development, marketing, and customer support and all other areas in a business.
Circumstances Where It is helpful to involve Subject Matter Experts
It is usual to draw upon a subject matter expert when attempting to navigate a specifically difficult challenge or issue. While many professionals are cross-trained in their particular functions, some situations call for highly specialized knowledge.
- Information technology experts will call upon several subject matter experts for insights into integrating new software applications or, fixing bugs or anomalies discovered during testing.
- Architects and engineers will call upon experts when considering new building technologies or design approaches.
- Project teams involve subject matter experts when their more generalized knowledge of a topic is not enough for the issue in front of them.
- In the legal industry, expert witnesses are generally highly specialized subject matter experts called upon to testify in court cases, especially liability lawsuits.
- Innovators striving to apply new technologies or advancements will frequently draw upon the originators or external specialists to help them solve specific technical or business challenges.