Understanding Corporate Portals Key Knowledge Management Enabling Applications
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Understanding Corporate Portals Key Knowledge Management Enabling Applications

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Discute como Portais Corporativos e suas funcionalidades podem ser utilizadas para desenvolver e implementar Gestão do Conhecimento, através da mudança de como a informação e as responsabilidades ...

Discute como Portais Corporativos e suas funcionalidades podem ser utilizadas para desenvolver e implementar Gestão do Conhecimento, através da mudança de como a informação e as responsabilidades de colaboração são divididas na organização.
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Understanding Corporate Portals Key Knowledge Management Enabling Applications Document Transcript

  • 1. Discusses Corporate Portal’s in relation to specific KM processes: personalization and search; access to information sources in a web-friendly environment (from highly unstructured to highly structured digital data; internal and external information); communications and collaboration; and ease of publishing and access to a vast amount of data, information and knowledge. !" # $ % % & % & Corporate Portals, Collaboration are a number of key software Capabilities and Knowledge capabilities that are integrated into a Management CP architecture. These are grouped according to the following: There are no standard definitions about which collaboration capabilities The Presentation and a CP platform should include (Collins, Personalization Layer defines how 2001; DavyDov, 2001; and the users see and customize PriceWaterhouseCoopers & SAP, information delivered or accessed 2001). At the end of 2001, there are via the portal. The intuitive solutions numerous software vendors providing offered allow users to access portal solutions (from very large information in more relevant, software companies to start-ups). context-centric environments. This Indeed, because of the modular nature is key for KM efforts; of standard Internet development, The Search Solution determines many companies are relying on a how easy it will be for users to find number of software vendors to relevant information based on a set integrate into a portal solution. of search criteria. This is a core Consequently, the description of a CP functionality that has improved platform for this research paper is not significantly over the last few years. based on any standard vendor At the same time that it has evolved solution. Rather, it is based on our to integrate various different understanding of the overall software information sources, it has also market and our selection of become much more sophisticated, collaboration capabilities that are intuitive and adaptable to different relevant for deploying Knowledge organizational needs; Management initiatives. We are also aware that technology is changing Web Applications for the enterprise rapidly and that many new CP have evolved from “green fields” solutions wilese are l emerge. There and also from existing legacy ©TerraForum Consultores 1
  • 2. systems. While many applications external knowledge sources relevant were developed to leverage the for specific audiences. CPs are the web (often based on B-to-C latest access solution for an ongoing examples), most legacy systems trend in business towards making have developed an Internet front- information more easily accessible to end (while maintaining a legacy management. Prior to the Internet, architecture). Sophisticated portal much of the focus was on the platform solutions provide a number deployment of “Enterprise Information of resources that make it very easy Systems” (EIS) and “Decision Support to seamlessly integrate both sorts Systems” (DSS). These efforts were of applications. In the case of more very expensive and aimed at helping traditional systems, the integration, employees find answers and at the presentation layer, is being information about the performance of facilitated by the use of standard firms. However, due to the high cost Application Program Interfaces and complex and specific nature of (API)s developed by the portal most of these systems, very few vendors and/or the users’ employees were allowed to use them, community. These APIs allow and typically only senior management access to structured (data had access, reducing their warehouses, ERP, CRM, etc) and collaboration value. Few employees unstructured information (Web, with access had the time or necessary Desktop Applications, Content training to properly learn how to use Management Systems, etc) called these systems. Importantly, usage “Connectors”, “Web Parts”, was further impeded by the fact that “Gadgets”, etc. the interface and navigation tools of these early systems were not as Indeed, CPs can integrate an almost intuitive as the web-based tools unlimited number of applications. currently available. The technical and Therefore, in this research paper, we economic barriers remained an will focus on applications closely important obstacle. Finally, the related to KM, and collaboration hierarchical, and bureaucratic reality in capabilities. We will, particularly, many organizations decision-making highlight the recent developments that did not help increasing accessibility to help employees collaborate: organization information and knowledge. Finding explicit knowledge; Codifying and Publishing their Unlike EIS and DSS, CPs allow a Knowledge; diverse spectrum of employees to access pre-defined and pre-scheduled Collaborating Online. reports, as well as customize and develop ad hoc reports, without the Finding Explicit Knowledge help of the Information Technology department. The most advanced A well-implemented CP simplifies CKPs make it easy to leverage access to information, knowledge, and “Business Intelligence” (BI) and data- highlights important internal and warehousing solutions to allow ©TerraForum Consultores 2
  • 3. employees to customize their reports. drivers of intellectual value and the These customized reports can be inter-connection of results from based on pre-parameterized value different areas of the organization ranges and formats or be completely reinforcing the strategic importance of new reports based on employees’ collaboration linked to corporate personalized formats/views and growth sophisticated queries and data mining. The recent and rapid migration of In most cases, CP platforms provide traditional BI/ERP software to the web integration of the systems discussed environment demonstrates the above only at the interface or importance being placed on helping a publishing level through Application large number of employees use and Programs Interfaces (APIs). Different interpret the results from these vendors use different names for these applications. In addition to allowing APIs: adapters, connectors, gadgets, access to web-based reports from BI modules, portlets, web parts, etc. or ERP software packages, CPs Often, when applications are provide employees, partners and integrated at the portal, only small clients, a web-based interface to pieces are integrated (e.g. reports access all types of information. from the ERP system). This trend is in line with one of the Most of the relevant and strategic core management practices supported information in organizations, however, by the KM literature: multi-dimensional includes unstructured information that analysis and ease of access to before the web-based applications information. The BI and ERP systems was hard to publish widely and even no longer require end-users to know much harder to find. This is changing any query language to define how they now in a CP environment. In order to want to analyze the data. These types understand how employees can more of systems allow for web-based easily and efficiently find this kind of analysis and facilitate employees’ information, it is necessary to examine understanding of the correlation collaboration technology between the variables that affect their developments in: (i) Categorization business. This is particularly important and Taxonomy; (ii) Search Engines; as KM is also related to efforts to and (iii) Personalization Engines. measure business results from various perspectives and to disseminate those Categorization and Taxonomy results throughout the organization. The current findings and insights of In order to simplify searches and many authors and companies navigation, organizations need to engaged in assessing various develop information structures and dimensions of intellectual capital and categories that make sense to their company performance is reinforced in own businesses and specific the literature (Kaplan & Norton, 1992 communities that will be using the & Edvinsson & Malone, 1997). One of system. Regardless of the power of the key research findings is to help the search engine deployed and the employees quickly understand the number of functionalities implemented, ©TerraForum Consultores 3
  • 4. any organization will need to deal with but not anticipated topics or the issue of categorizing and categories. Employees should find organizing information. Categorization common names, categorizations and adds fundamental indexing information signals that are familiar to them. In this to documents, in order to make it respect, the online experience should easier to find them later on. not be much different from the offline Taxonomies are high-level rules for experience. Good taxonomies also organizing and classifying information. make it much easier to search for Although very relevant for the web documents by allowing searches to be environment, the discipline of conducted based on various different taxonomy is not new. It has always criteria (e.g. author, date, file format, been at the core of library sciences. knowledge domain, etc). There is, However, it has become even more however, no scientific way to find out important as new software tools for whether the chosen taxonomy really automatic categorization have works. There are a few rules of thumb emerged and improved. (such as categories with too many or too few documents will probably not Taxonomies are also necessary to tag work), but, ultimately, it will be the (information about the information) the users that need to tell whether it documents created. The tagging is an makes sense or not (Can they find the important step to ensure that search required information with only a few engines will find required documents clicks?). and also for the distribution of documents based on personalization Automated categorizations based on rules. Metadata, which is defined as frequency of words may not provide information about information and a good results. Some new software core feature of HTML and XML files, is solutions allow automatic re- at the center of the Internet revolution. categorization of schemas based on It provides the necessary context for user feedback. Preferably, building a information making documents easily taxonomy should start with some located by search engines regardless inputs developed jointly by content of any previous information to their “owners” or domain experts and physical location. Metadata also plays information architects. In many cases, an important role by allowing different this is an important collaboration documents to be grouped together because many experts are not too easily. The capture of metadata concerned about how their knowledge should ideally occur right after content is organized, classified and linked in creation. Increasingly, this occurs meaningful ways to other codified through a combination of automatic knowledge, experts and communities. (typically author, name, date, etc) and manual processes (keywords, Taxonomies and categorizations are category, etc). usually hierarchical. However, new forms that are more visual, for The taxonomy should make it intuitive instance, spatial or hyperbolic trees, for employees to browse for specific are becoming more common. Some information and “bump” into related, CPs also import the category ©TerraForum Consultores 4
  • 5. hierarchies from existing applications, the occurrence of chosen words or such as ERP or CRM. This can make phrases. These types of search the transition to a web environment engines have been used easier for users already familiar with extensively in libraries and allow the existing applications. Ultimately, for users to target their search to the true test of any taxonomy is the specific areas of documents, such efficiency that it provides to the group as the title, keywords and author. of users it was designed for: Are the Such search engines now often users able to find meaningful and include URL and existing links as relevant information in a time-efficient well; manner? Boolean Searches return results based on the use of logical Search Engines operators such as AND, OR and NOT; If one of the objectives of KM and CPs is to make it easier for employees to Bayesian Inferencing Searches find relevant information and present results based on the knowledge sources, then search frequency with which the chosen engines are an important enabling words appear in each document; tool. The goal of a search engine is to Concept Searches return results in provide relevant results (not the which the most relevant highest number of results) for a query, documents shown may not in the least amount of time. However, necessarily contain the chosen in many cases, users may need keywords. This is because the assistance defining exactly what they search mechanism looks for want. Documents also frequently refer additional words that are related to to similar subjects using different the chosen keywords based on a terms in varied levels of depth. This thesaurus or statistical approach; may generate results that are not very precise (too many, very few results or Context Searches: certain engines irrelevant ranking). To respond to can be calibrated to understand these various individual circumstances the researchers’ context and show and the exponential growth in the search results accordingly. This is amount of information and types of useful when words can have very data and knowledge sources, there different meanings, depending on have been advances in search context (e.g. the word “SAP” can mechanisms.. Many search options, mean “the fluid of a plant” or refer features and levels of sophistication to the ERP software company are now available. They include the SAP); following (from the most common to Natural Language Searches. This the more sophisticated or specific): type of search engine is exemplified by AskJeeves in the Keyword and Exact Phrase consumer market. This natural Searches are very common search language based software engine features available in most search allows users to post queries using engines that list results based on plain English (or any other ©TerraForum Consultores 5
  • 6. language). More sophisticated Affinity Searches are similar to solutions, however, are being collaborative filtering searches. developed that include agents that However, they take the idea of mimic real, intelligent human linking people and documents conversations (as provided, for even further. It discovers many instance, by MangoMoon); levels of commonalities amongst different kinds of documents, Knowledgebase Searches: these based on the people who author, kinds of search engines are closely read or update them. They can be related to the “natural language particularly useful for very large search engines”. They are able to organizations that want to link automatically build structured people with similar interests and cases that let users tap into competencies; previous responses to similar questions. These engines learn Visual Mapping Searches allow every time a new interactive “Q & users to see the results of their A” session occurs. If the searcher searches in a more graphical does not find the appropriate manner. Documents are answer they can be programmed aggregated and linked according to direct the user to talk to a to categorization algorithms that person who will try to answer the allow users to easily navigate question (this is being deployed through clusters of related particularly in call centers); information; Popularity-Based Searches Peer-to-Peer Searches allow automatically change the ranking searches within a self-selected of links that are displayed, based community without the need of any on various types of algorithms that centralized document index. The aim to evaluate users’ own emerging enterprise solutions are perspective of the document or based on the consumer models site. It may, for instance, consider originally developed by companies the number of times that previous such as Napster and Gnutella; users have checked the link or Personalized Agents have strong information source or how many dynamic learning capabilities other users link to that specific site based on each user’s pattern of (the popular site google.com uses searches and choices of this technology). It may also documents. Advanced agents display documents based on combine concept and context users’ direct and pro-active search concepts (discussed evaluation of the document or site; above) to build relevant users’ Collaborative Filtering Searches profiles. are based on the idea that individuals that share similar Personalization Engines interests will also find similar documents relevant. Amazon’s The CP in its various facets and suggestions of books exemplify applications has to make sense for this type of search mechanism; each individual and be clearly linked to ©TerraForum Consultores 6
  • 7. specific business processes and approach is to have the site goals. It must not be only about personalized by web administrators, information sharing, since information according to employees’ profile (role, overload can have a very negative location or access rights). The more impact on employees’ creativity and sophisticated push approach includes productivity. Most people, especially dynamic personalization or those working in fast-paced wired personalization “on the fly”. This refers environments, are increasingly to personalization that is based on a swamped with irrelevant information, number of sources of accumulated or reinforcing the time-starved reality of real-time information, including the most organizations today. If CPs are navigation path, device used for to be successful and become a access, current location of user and fundamental tool for employees’ work, available bandwidth, etc. The '$ ( ) * ) ) ) + they need to allow employees, personalization engines use such regardless of location and means of information to make intelligent access to personalize their access to predictions about users’ preferences vast volumes of information/assets and display content based on stored in the companies disparate individuals’ stated preferences, databases and digital formats. Ideally, employees’ roles and location, and CPs should allow employees to behavior during visits to the portal. seamlessly explore, in the same browser window, information Codifying and Publishing Knowledge – generated internally and externally. Value of Content Management Systems Personalization, or tailoring content, One important goal of any CP solution specific applications (or chunks of it) and/or KM initiative should be to and/or individual experiences based empower employees to easily input on implicit and explicit data and information and knowledge and have information should appear transparent access in a timely and effective to users by incorporating them into manner for the targeted group or even regular browsing paths that minimize the whole enterprise and its effort. The most advanced sites customers. Hence, Content combine a “pull” and “push” approach Management System’s (CMS) to personalization. The “pull” approach (associated with a CP implementation) means that the content and display of represent a significant opportunity and the site is dependent on choices made challenge for organizations and by the user. The “push” approach can consultants in the KM field. The be quite simple or quite sophisticated. processes related to CMSs are closely The simple and most common “push” associated to those of KM. These ©TerraForum Consultores 7
  • 8. processes include the creation, publishing, reuse and storage of Design and Authoring Features content (or information). In that respect, good CMSs can play a very There are very few layout and important role by making it much design limitations; easier for knowledge holders to codify Content is separated from format; and distribute part of their knowledge They include graphical and and information sources. This is, of intuitive tools to build a workflow; course, very relevant for experts that They allow users not only to post tend to be bombarded with the same information/content, but also to questions repeatedly. customize the interface of their postings; CMSs, although initially developed for They make it easy for non- large online publishing operations, are, technical people to continue to clearly, knowledge-sharing tools and work with their desktop should be treated as such. The most applications; advanced CMSs allow for the They include sophisticated tools seamless and dynamic integration of for template development; very structured data (from back-office They allow the creation of XML- systems) and unstructured data (input based documents by users with no by individuals within and beyond the knowledge of XML; enterprise). They can also be deeply They make it easy for users to integrated with electronic workflow organize, classify and cross- applications and other collaboration reference content that is being and project-management tools. A publishing; standard CMS process generally They allow users to easily involves the following steps: 1) associate search terms (keywords) Document Creation; 2) Document to their created content; Review; 3) Quality Assurance; 4) They support the publishing of Publishing; and 5) Document many content file types (e.g. audio, Archiving or Document Deletion. video, image, presentations, HTML code, Java components, ZIP files CMS deployments can play a critical for download, etc); role in the implementation of CPs. They allow content creators to They provide the technical include priority levels on the infrastructure and core processes that document that are going to be ensure that the correct, updated and published or distributed to selected timely content is available for those groups. who need it. Although straightforward, at a conceptual level, the CMS Rules-Setting Features platforms can be quite different in terms of their many technical features. They allow easy changes of rules Some of the features found in the for authoring, editing, approval, most advanced CMS solutions publishing and removal of content; include, but are not limited to, the following list: ©TerraForum Consultores 8
  • 9. Ordinary users can also easily (electronic meeting systems, define or change business electronic whiteboards, conferencing, processes and workflows; and chat tools) which allow two or They allow documents to be more people to work together checked in and out by users; simultaneously, whether they are Individual employees and/or together in the same place or in webmasters can easily manage different places. These tools enhance roles and access rights; collaboration and make meetings They allow both public and more effective. Asynchronous tools privately-controlled publishing (i.e., permit people to work together at the users control who has access different times (e-mail, knowledge to their published pages); repositories, document and content management systems and workflow Version & System Administration tools). Asynchronous tools are Control Guidelines particularly helpful for people who have busy schedules and participate They provide many options for in multiple projects. With version control; asynchronous tools, it does not matter They allow the addition of when or where a person is working; comments to revised documents; the tools replace meetings and may Pre-built interfaces are easily make them unnecessary for certain modified; types of collaboration. Each type of They allow roll-back published tool has its place. items if necessary; They allow the view of the “change Some of the most sophisticated digital history” of any given item that has workplace tools provide a seamless been published; integration of structured and They automatically generate unstructured data and information, attributes associated with each voice and synchronous and published document (creation asynchronous groupware tools. It is date, creator, document size, new clear that many of the tools that are item indicator, updated item now being implemented at the indicator, etc); and enterprise level have their roots traced They offer many pre-built choices back to the consumer sites, in in terms of deletion/purging particular large-scale portals that policies. provided web-based discussion, communications and community tools. Collaborating Online In fact, some of the software vendors now tapping into the enterprise market The Internet provides both still have those mass-market portals synchronous and asynchronous as their flagship clients. Other opportunities for individuals to meet, software solutions were developed share information/knowledge, make specifically for the corporate market: presentations, and collaborative on from low-end ASP solutions for small real-time decisions such as voting on companies to robust enterprise-level line or utilizing synchronous tools such solutions. Some of the most recent ©TerraForum Consultores 9
  • 10. solutions are leveraging P2P platforms people that share interests and also include wireless applications to meet; to keep members constantly - Ability for users to digitally connected to the community. In express their moods and essence, many of these collaboration feelings through icons; tools are integrated and customized to - Ability to easily assign and specific organizational environments; modify different roles for there is a set of functionalities related individuals of the to five core areas: community (e.g., administrator, moderator, 1. Synchronous and Asynchronous core member, affiliate On-line Discussions Capabilities member, etc.) - Threaded and streaming - Tools for recognizing (based on chronology) different levels of discussion databases; participation and for users - Discussion threads shown to develop their individual according to user profile or digital reputation; choices; - Ability to create members’ - Chats and instant directories and sub- messaging; directories; and - Ability to work offline; - Ability for both - Ability to target questions to administrators and groups or sub-groups; individual users to define - Ability to easily set-up access rights to other group, sub-group or private members of the community; interaction environments; and - Electronic meeting places - Ability to personalize some with advanced presentation elements of each group or features: web tours, community (e.g., color). whiteboards, conferences, 3. Knowledge-base Repositories etc; - Ability to upload, distribute - Audio and video streaming; and archive all kinds of - Instant polling and rating document formats. In a features; way, including many of the - Anonymous postings; advanced features of - Ability to mobile and remote CMSs. These features users to participate; and were discussed in detail in - Guided brainstorm the CMS section above; applications. - Ability to check same 2. Rich User Identification applications simultaneously Capabilities (apps sharing). For - Manual and/or automatic instance, project plans, profiling of individuals (by business intelligence, ERP, moderators and/or users); etc; - Knowledge-mapping and affinity-building tools to help ©TerraForum Consultores 10
  • 11. - Searchable databases of systems, categorization and taxonomy discussions and previous tools, search engine tools, “Q & A” sessions; and collaboration online applications etc. - Integrated search with the Very importantly, these new ability to search based on a applications strive to integrate and number of criteria: author, balance the structured flow of date, subject, sub-groups, information with the unstructured and etc. organic flow of knowledge. 4. Events Management The authors believe that many of - Invitation according to role these solutions will have an important and or choices; impact on how organizations create, - Notification according to organize, provide access and reutilize role or choices; knowledge. Many were transplanted - Calendar; from the publishing/media and other - Schedule; business-to-consumer (e.g. auctions) - Inclusion of new members industries while others were created and groups; from the start to foster higher levels of - Site statistics (stats by collaboration across multiple users, location, topic, constituencies within and outside the contributions, etc), etc; organization. Finally, it is important to 5. Administration Tools highlight that contrary to previous IT - Online surveys; waves, it is evident that this new breed - Ability to establish groups of technologies are being developed and communities that with a strong social-technical extend beyond the firewall; perspective and taking into - Ability to operate without consideration many of the client software; underpinnings of the Community of - Ability to set up different Practice theory (Wenger, 2000). levels and areas of site management; References - Ability to set up different access levels, etc. Collins, H. (2001), Corporate Portals, AMACOM Looking Ahead Davydov, D.M. (2001), Corporate Portals and e-Business Integration, This papers has highlighted the McGraw-Hill current state of the most sophisticated Edvinsson, L. & Malone, M. (1997), tools that have been only recently Intellectual capital: realizing your been integrated into portals in a company’s true value by finding its corporate environment. Corporate hidden roots. Harper Collins Portals are, indeed, becoming more Publishers, New York, NY. sophisticated in their capabilities, in Kaplan, R.S. & Norton, J.(1992), The terms of integrating a broad range of Balanced Scorecard – Measures that integrated applications and tools, Drive Performance, Harvard Business ranging from content management Review, Jan-Feb, 1992, p 71-79 ©TerraForum Consultores 11
  • 12. PriceWaterhouseCoopers & SAP ,- (2001), The E-Business Workplace, Wiley Wenger, E.C. & Snyder, W. M. (2000), A TerraForum Consultores é uma empresa de Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier, Harvard consultoria e treinamento em Gestão do Business Review, Jan-Feb, pages. Conhecimento (GC) e Tecnologia da 139-145 Informação. Os clientes da empresa são, em *** sua maioria, grandes e médias organizações José Cláudio C. Terra é presidente da TerraForum Consultores. Atua como consultor dos setores público, privado e terceiro setor. A e palestrante no Canadá, nos Estados Unidos, empresa atua em todo o Brasil e também no em Portugal, na França e no Brasil. Também é professor de vários programas de exterior, tendo escritórios em São Paulo, pósgraduação e MBA e autor de vários livros Brasília e Ottawa no Canadá. É dirigida pelo sobre o tema. Seu email é jcterra@terraforum.com.br Dr. José Cláudio Terra, pioneiro e maior referência em Gestão do Conhecimento no Cindy Gordon é consultora internacional da TerraForum Consultores. Participa do país. Além disso, conta com uma equipe conselho de diretores de várias empresas de especializada e internacional de consultores. alta tecnologia nos Estados Unidos e Canadá. Foi, recentemente, destacada pela University of Western em sua publicação, e é também autora de diversos artigos e livros. .0 1 - , 3, / 2 $ , 4 Gestão do Conhecimento e E-learning na Prática Portais Corporativos, a Revolução na Gestão do Conhecimento Gestão do Conhecimento - O Grande Desafio Empresarial , Gestão do Conhecimento em pequenas e médias empresas Governança para Gestão do Conhecimento Realizing the Promise of Corporate Portals: Implantando a Gestão do Conhecimento Leveraging Knowledge for Business Success Integrando a Gestão do Conhecimento no negócio Gestão de Empresas na Era do Conhecimento ©TerraForum Consultores 12