KM using Open Source


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Open Source provides an alternative approach to implement Knowledge Management in ways that suit organizations. However, this requires a “Platforming” approach where the best of available open source technologies and frameworks come together to deliver the best that the open source model has to offer.

We have found this approach of delivering KM solutions working effectively with large International Development Organizations, NGOs and Public Sector organizations.

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KM using Open Source

  1. 1. White paper Knowledge Management powered by Open Source Implement Knowledge Management Using Open Source “Platforming”Implement Knowledge ManagementUsing Open Source “Platforming”
  2. 2. White paperAbstractManaging enterprise knowledge drives innovation and productivity within an enterprise. Today Knowledge Management isconsidered as one of the most important initiatives that an enterprise needs to embark upon.The confusion however remains on how to start and leverage the different products and technologies available such as CMS,Document Management System, Enterprise Content Management products, Social Networks etc in a fashion where it is possible toimplement Knowledge Management effectively.Open Source provides now an alternative approach to implement Knowledge Management in ways that suit your business.However, this requires a “Platforming” approach where the best of available open source technologies and frameworks cometogether to deliver the best that the open source model has to offer.This Platforming approach using open source allows organizations to look at open source differently and understand better theflexibility and choice available in this approach. Knowledge Management initiatives face an uphill task while defining the ROI forstakeholders. The Platforming approach allows a open source led long term path that surely delivers results and helps pace the KMimplementation as per the speed of organizational learning around such initiatives.
  3. 3. White paperUnderstanding KM – Its Evolution from discipline to practices withWeb 2.0 “All knowledge is connected to all otherKnowledge Management is the name given today to a range of practices and strategies knowledge. The realdeployed in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of knowledge management isinsights and experiences. in making the connections.”Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organizational objectives and areintended to lead to the achievement of specific outcomes such as shared intelligence,improved performance, competitive advantage, or higher levels of innovation. During 1990’s Knowledge Management (KM) became an established discipline and organizations started adopting focused policiesand actions such as Communities of Practices, knowledge bases, and expert systems to further their KM agenda. Thetechnologies at the time were driven by large databases, intranet tools, and decision support systems. This approach was a top tobottom driven via a KM strategy and often driven by the management stakeholders.In early 2000 the focus on a bottom top approach to knowledge management began. The stress was more on the management ofknowledge at the individual level. This also led to personal knowledge management practices with focus on informationcategorization, collaboration, taxonomies, terms classifications, and most importantly people to people networking.Thus began the most exciting evolution phase of Knowledge Management with focus on the individual and creating an environmentwith the right technology, practices, and strategies. This phase was more aimed at an individual level and lead to a highlyparticipatory approach from individuals and organizations alike to deliver knowledge insights.Explicit & Implicit KnowledgeKnowledge Management today is understood as Explicit and Implicitknowledge. More recently with the advent ofExplicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, the Web 2.0, the concept ofcodified, and stored in certain media. The most common forms of explicit Knowledge Management hasknowledge are manuals, documents, procedures, and stories. Thus any evolved towards a vision moreexternalized knowledge can now be stored in databases, content management based on people participation andsystems, document management systems, Intranets and knowledge emergence. It is becoming clearrepositories. now that whatever the future of Knowledge Management tomorrowImplicit Knowledge is knowledge that people carry in their heads. Web 2.0 technologies and practicesCompared with explicit knowledge, implicit knowledge is more difficult toarticulate or write down and so it tends to be shared between people through will have a central role to play.discussion, stories and personal interactions. It includes skills, experiences,insight, intuition and judgment.
  4. 4. White paperWeb 2.0 and Social Web Accelerate Implicit & Explicit KnowledgeManagementIn the last few years Enterprise social network with Web 2.0 tools have greatly accelerated Knowledge Management for both thecategories (explicit or implicit). Moreover, trends such as open source have resulted in a significant increase in the number of opensource tools and technologies available today to assist in management of both explicit and implicit knowledge management. Figure 1 Understanding Knowledge Management Map with Web 2.0 Technologies Reference from : (TEN Competence- European Network Study extract)As shown in the diagram above explicit knowledge management tools already exist in the form of several Web 2.0 technologiessuch as Wikis, Blogs, Forums, Discussion Groups, Mailing Lists, Document Management and File Servers. Most of this content issearchable to quickly dig into the knowledge. Insights are possible through Semantic search into the content.Implicit information can now be managed through setup of Best practices implemented by creation of virtual online communitiesproviding community collaboration applications. On top of the communities the Social Networks capture implicit knowledge directlyfrom individuals participating within the social network.E-Learning management systems can also be integrated into the socialnetwork with information flow providing allows access to learning resources.
  5. 5. White paperUse of Knowledge MapsKnowledge Maps are visual representation of knowledge. It is similar to a virtual directory that Taxonomy is a practicepoints people participating within the community towards people, documents and repositories and science ofKnowledge maps are then super imposed on the implicit knowledge captured by the Social classification of termsNetwork and Virtual Communities created. Using a combination of Taxonomies, Ontology’s related to a particularand tagging schemes a knowledge map for the community is created. communityOntology’s are formal representation of knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and therelationships between those concepts. It is used to describe the different entities within that domain,and may be used to describe the domain.
  6. 6. White paperThe Business Need“Every organization generates vast amounts of information while conducting business; yet few organizations areable to leverage it all to generate new opportunities or capitalize on collective knowledge assets.”Millions of documents, emails, memos, charts, and Web pages, not to mention the tacit Document Management,information that employees possess, remain undiscovered and their potential untapped. Collaboration, SocialOrganizations that let such valuable information languish are in danger of missing competitive Networking and otheropportunities or even losing the information forever. disciplines all come together to form aEmployees duplicate existing work because they are not aware of prior efforts by others or comprehensive enterpriseconcurrent projects with overlapping goals. New employees often don’t know where to look knowledge managementfor information or who to turn to for answers. Customers make decisions to buy elsewhere. strategy. The base of suchPartners miss strategic opportunities. a knowledge management strategy is built on searchIn spite of this, all organizations evolve a way of managing knowledge. It is and tagging technologyhappening around us in a crude ad hoc manner. During day-to-day life activities, which offers employeesemployees interact with each other in any or some form of networking and the ability to quickly and easily find existing usefulproduce knowledge. This interaction generates knowledge in several structure content in context and beand format. notified of any new content as it is generated.Good Knowledge management practices, tools and technologies help to link people looking for In addition, search for theknowledge with those who have it. It focuses on capturing this information, whether it is knowledge assetsexplicitly held in a document or database or exists tacitly in the forms of knowledge and scattered over theexperience in the minds of employees. This tacit information is exceedingly hard to preserve. internet.Industry analysts estimate that without knowledge management practices in place more than80 percent of the information that employees, customers and partners have is lost to theorganization.
  7. 7. White paperChallenges in responding to Business NeedInformation Technology has responded to this business challenge by providing point products that solve a few needs arounddocument management, content management and search.Some of these products attempt to merge with collaborative and social technologies to create a new way of KnowledgeManagement that is based on bottom to top approach and highly granualar in nature. The trends also show thatKnowledge Management technologies and Collaboration Technologies need to come together since there is a significant increase inboth these areas.The technology landscape in use to aid knowledge management within organizations to create a knowledge sharing environmentincludes use of a whole gamut of technologies supported by proprietary and open source products.However there have been numerous challenges in deployment or use of these technologies. Implementing Knowledge Managementor sharing does not convince a budget holder clearly of Return on Investment(ROI). This is primarly also because knowledgemanagement is: A long term investment where benefits are very real and important to business but very hard to quantify. Is not available today fully in any proprietary or open source product and requires a new way of thinking that is evolutionary but in the right direction Vendor lock in of any solution adopted makes it difficult to manage the technology adoption at a pace that the organization can handle.
  8. 8. White paperThe use of these technologies above show that while collaboration technologies have started penetrating the entperise in a big waythere are several other knowledge management applications such as document management, digital asset management, recordsmanagement, knowledge repositories that are only slowly taking ground.
  9. 9. White paperMost requirements for a knowledge management environment within a business is entwined with workflow, business processcontext and require greater degree of integration with communication technologies.Open Source, Open Data, Open Interfaces – The way to goOpen source provides a wide variety of options with different enabling technologies and systems required for knowledgemanagement. Some of these technologies are mature while others are evolving within the open source communities. The listbelow provides an overview of how far open source has penetrated with a volley of options available (Note: Only the most viable ofthe open source options are mentioned here, however the total list of open source options runs into several scores in eachcategory): • Wordpress, • Alfresco, • Elgg, Social Drupal, Knowledge Engine, OpenCMS, Tree Liferay Liferay Web Based Document Content Management & Social Network Management ECMFlexibility (and Pitfalls) of ChoiceTaking an open source route is also a double edged sword. We have the benefit of tremendous flexibility of choice and yet at thesame time there are too many choices and one can easily get lost. Open source technologies with open standards and open interfaces provide an excellent set of tools in several collaboration andknowledge management categories shown in the diagram above. Ultimately these tools represent flexibility of choice. However adoption of these tools is confusing for most users because of the specific need that these tools address at any one time.This leads to key questions in the mind of anyone interested in adoption of Open Source as a strategy for knowledge management.
  10. 10. White paper • What tools to pick? Which open source tool for which KM requirement? • What can and can not be achieved through the commonly available Feasibility open source tools? • Is the open source technology really open and robust? How do we ensure this and go with a Technology • Does it support open data and open interfaces? • Are there legal implications of using too much of open source? • How will the licensing impact our business if we make modification to Legal the source code or write more applications?Reality is that putting knowledge management in place is a combination of multiple technologies such as ECM, DocumentManagement, Web Based Content Management, Search and now Social Networks.Most of the open source options today have evolved around a set of use cases of Knowledge management such as Search, Webcontent publishing, Ability to search and manage documents. Most organizations do not have resources to implement acomprehensive Knowledge Management initiatives using just one of the open source software.
  11. 11. White paperOpen Source “Platforming”Open Source Platforming is an innovative business approach to implementing open source and can be applied effectively toKnowledge Management.Using best of breed open source options that solve one problem well, multiple challenges around Knowledge Management can besolved. Organizations such as InfoAxon use this approach to develop integrated platforms that bring together a potent mix ofDynamic Knowledge Repositories, Enterprise Search, Web Content Management and Enterprise Portals laced with Social NetworkContexts. Social Open Source Platforming Network Contexts approach focuses on creating white label well architected Open source technology platforms. Knowledge Enteprise Using the best that open Federated Search Management Content Management source has to offer these platforms bring together Environment different knowledge sharing disciplines delivered with a social networking context that is Dynamic business friendly. Knowledge RepositoriesPlatform not a ProductIt is important to note that the focus of Open Source Platforming approach is to have a White Label business integration readysolution that can take upon several forms as required by the particular flavor of knowledge management required. The platformtherefore helps organizations interested in adopting open source in the right manner.
  12. 12. White paperThe Platforming Roadmap Dynamic Knowledge Repositories store content agnostic to the content type and are breathing, evolving changing repository of content. At the time of setup the content models for the business are created. Knowledge is created through social and collaborative spaces entwined with business process workflowsMost organizations today have either gone or will go through the above stages ofknowledge management roadmap or more likely moving through the following stages: Deeper insights into knowledge are Setting up of Dynamic delivered through semantic search Knowledge Repositories and context based tagging with an Collaborative Knowledge ever evolving set of Sharing Environment semantic applications Knowledge Management around Business Processes Knowledge Management with deep meaningful insights
  13. 13. White paperPut Knowledge Management at Your own pace through “Platforming” Build Insights Get Social around Business Processes Usher Collaboration Activate Content RepositoriesLevel 1 – Implement Dynamic Knowledge Repositories, Expose Contentas a ServiceDynamic knowledge repositories help set up an open standard content repository within an organization.Using open source technologies such as Alfresco and Apache Jackrabbit it is possible to create interoperable and platformindependent knowledge repositories that expose content to any external application. Using this approach it is possible to exposecontent as a service.
  14. 14. White paperLevel 2 – Collaborative Enterprise Social Network backed byKnowledge RepositoriesAt this stage, social networking experience is implemented on top of an existing or newly established dynamic knowledgerepository. This approach helps developed Project and Service “Knowledge Spaces” and weave these spaces within the socialnetwork experience. The result is a well connected collaborative social environment within the enterprise.The dynamic knowledge repository is tuned at the stage further to integrate with the overall social network experience of the users.This leads to instant connections that are identified by the individuals and employees automatically thus creating an enterprisesocial network backed by knowledge repositories.Level 3 – Process based Knowledge SharingProcess based Knowledge Management and sharing combines contents with automatic business contexts using the tasks performedby the Users.Open source technologies such as jBPM, JBOSS and Alfresco provide a configurable workflow engine well integrated and usedwithin the platform approach. User works in a normal project process within the knowledge spaces and creates content duringvarious tasks.Information is automatically associated with several contextual information to whatever contents produced by the user, andpresents these perspective information along with the content as required.
  15. 15. White paperLevel 4 – Enhancing Knowledge Management using Semantic WebSemantic Web (also called Web 3.0) helps us understand the “meaning” behind the information stored in knowledge repositories.Semantic Web uses open data integration formats such as RDF (Resource Description Framework), XML, and Web Ontology to describe the concepts, terms and definitions of a particular business domain. Content stored in knowledge repositories is published along with Semantic HTML data as it is extracted from the knowledge repository.Semantic Web technologies provide several tools for knowledge capture, processing and sharing of content related to a domain.Fine Grained Intelligent Semantic SearchThe content can be searching using Semantic technologies and reduce the ambiguity against full text based searches commonlyprovided by the search engines. The search results can also be contextualized to a higher degree using the semantic metadata andprovide content much more sharply and based on interests of the user.Visualization of Social Network and Knowledge RepositoryOpen source Semantic technologies also help provide a better visualization of the knowledge repository and also of the underlyingrelationships behind the search results. For e.g. if a Knowledge worker searches through a listing then using cross references andannotations it should be possible to provide representative views of the search results.
  16. 16. White paper Open Source Platform for Knowledge ManagementfusionKM is a Knowledge Management platform – using the platform organizations can quickly establish internal KM solutionand develop their internal business process and taxonomy. It allows organizations to create departments, networks, projects,groups and enables users to work in a collaborative environment.The platform is offered as an in-premise SaaS model. The whole stack is maintained and managed by InfoAxon.Social Network Solutions in today’s days create Networks, enables users to collaborate in a highly interactive fashion; but rarelythey are useful in terms of Knowledge Management aspects. In other words, today’s social network platforms do not cater to amajor business problem – Knowledge Management. fusionKM enables organizations to establish a number of networks and groupswithin and thus enabling all the knowledge sharing and management aspects.fusionKM allows users to conduct single point and comprehensive search not only from the in-premise knowledge bank but alsofrom the wide spread internet sources. Automatic and intelligent search engine enables users to find the desired information quicklyand efficiently. The rich knowledge repository of fusionKM constitutes of Wikis, Blogs, Documents, Discussion Forums, EMails,Media files etc.The Knowledge NetworkLike a social networking platform, in fusionKM, people can make friends, join any groups or communities – thus creating theirindividual network. fusionKM introduces Knowledge Network which is, for a person, the whole knowledge base of his/her socialnetwork. Now a person’s knowledge is not limited to him profile only; but his whole social networks constitute his knowledge base.fusionKM enables organizations to create groups, departments, locations, projects – and users contribute in these thus creatingknowledge contents. Users can be friends to each other thus expanding their knowledge network.Organization’s knowledge thus keeps on building in a single repository on a highly collaborative and web 2.0 enterprise portalframework.Solution HighlightsService Oriented Architecture (SOA)The solution is designed and architected in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA),making it fully extensible and integrated with organizations internal and legacysystems.Repository as ServiceThe full knowledge repository can be exposed as REST based HTTP services,making the solution ready to serve as knowledge provider to other systems.
  17. 17. White paper The Technology 1. Liferay® Portal 2. Alfresco® ECMS Business Process 3. Open Office The integrated business process engine can be configured to implement any workflow 4. JBPM processes of any industry or organization. It has integrated modules for Reporting, Timesheet, 5. JQuery, YUI Project Management, Task Management, Escalation etc. 6. Lucene 7. MySQL Portal 8. Apache Tomcat Full featured JSR complaint portal framework with lots of built in applications such as Wiki, Blog, Discussion Forum, Calendar, Theme, Web CMS, Document Management, Private Features Messaging etc. 1. Friends 2. Communities/Groups CMIS 3. Sub- Organizations/Locatio CMIS complaint platform enabling interoperability between other Enterprise Content ns Management Systems. 4. Integrated Search engine Protocols 5. Graphical A number of industry standard protocols such as WebDAV, IMAP, CIFS, FTP etc are supported Representation of in fusionKM making the platform pluggable to other complaint systems. Knowledge/Network 6. Contextualized Intranet ready Search fusionKM is a fitting solution for organization wide Intranet setups with multiple branches, 7. Tagging/Tag Cloud departments and geographically distributed. 8. Public, Private contents Mesh Ups 9. Portal Framework fusionKM has built in applications to integrate with several other popular information and 10. Wikis, Blogs knowledge sources; such as Bing, Youtube, Flickr, Delicious, Wikipedia etc. 11. Discussion Threads 12. Dynamic Document Open Platform Metadata 13. Document Check- No limit in number of users and knowledge content size and space. In/Check-Out, versioning 14. Document Transformation, PDF generation 15. Image Processing, Transformation 16. Automatic/Custom Workflows 17. Private Messagingffff
  18. 18. White paper 18. Bookmarking 19. Image GalleryBenefits 20. Related Documents 21. Tree-style Folder For Users structure for Reduces time required to complete knowledge intensive work documents Increases “trust level” in information accuracy and timeliness 22. Granular and Eases burden on subject “experts” since users can get answers and guidance to their Customizable questions on a self-serve basis Permissioning model 23. Notifications For Administrators 24. Calendars, Events Minimal resources required for ongoing maintenance as many tasks can be scheduled for 25. Search by Synonyms automatic rule based execution 26. Dynamic Portal Security inherited from content source, so administrators do not have to worry about Themes unauthorized users gaining access to sensitive information 27. Separate Themes and Comprehensive toolkit for building, supervising and managing the Enterprise Portal Navigations for groups, locations, For Organizations communities 28. Powerful Web CMS Improves ROI of knowledge asset management by reusing information instead of for Portal pages reinventing and searching for it 29. Public, Private, Reduces cost of retaining intellectual capital and transmitting it to new employees or Restricted groups successors 30. Saved Searches Quick and Easy installation and use across the enterprise 31. Custom Taxonomies All resources and knowledge under a single umbrella 32. User Folksonomy Flexible licensing and pricing model 33. JSR Portal Based on full Open Source – Full ownership, no vendor lock-in framework, Portlets Full featured Corporate Intranet platform 34. Full Text Search 35. CIFS document access for Intranet setups 36. Templates 37. Dedicated, private space for users
  19. 19. About InfoAxon Technologies InfoAxon is a leading provider of enterprise services and business solutions powered by open source. We design, architect and support complete “Enterprise Solution Platforms” using Open Standards, Web 2.0 next generation technologies and Open Source Frameworks providing end-to-end solutions to business problems. India’s First Global Open Source Integration Company We are Indias First Global Open Source Integration Company providing business solutions in areas of Content & Knowledge Management, Web2.0 Collaboration and Business Intelligence powered by our unique open source ‘Platforming’ expertise.INDIA OFFICE: UK OFFICE:InfoAxon Technologies Ltd. InfoAxon Technologies UK Ltd.H-189, Sector-63, Building A, Trinity Court,Electronic City, Wokingham Road,NODIA-201307, U.P Bracknell, Berkshire RG42 1PL,India United KingdomPhone:+91 120 4350040, Phone: +44 1344 668048,Fax:+ 91 120 4350065 Fax: +44 1344 668148Website: | Blog: | E-mail: