These days, service managers have instant access to a multitude of industry experts. The volume of service-sector chatter online is immeasurable — yet service organizations struggle to find a way to harness all that fragmented knowledge. Why? The signal-to-noise ratio can be woefully low. Self-anointed industry know-it-alls are omnipresent — on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online forums — and their purported expertise can be overwhelming. That’s the takeaway of service technology veteran John Ragsdale’s latest post for the Technology Services Industry Association.

Finding credible advice and information, however, remains an important opportunity for all service organizations. Ragsdale writes: “With all the tracking done on social media activity, it shouldn’t be a big deal to mine online conversations, tag clouds, subject matter expert ratings, etc., to identify experts on any topic.”

As a baseline, service managers can make use of search across their social networks to plug into ongoing conversations in their field and to help sift through distractions. But more sophisticated products exist that can help connect service managers with a knowledge base on any topic. PeerPong, for instance, allows visitors to pose questions, which are then routed to vetted experts wherever they may be on the Web. Coveo’s Expertise Finding takes a slightly different approach. Service organizations can use the service to find experts on any given topic by identifying their imprint on the Web — papers they’ve written, discussions they’ve joined, etc. The service also includes a social search function, allowing managers to tap into their social networks and those of their colleagues.