Open Source Powered Knowledge Management Platform


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InfoAxon implemented Knowledge Management Platform powered by Open Source for one of the largest Insurance Company.The KM Platform facilitated collaboration and knowledge creation, retrieval and sharing of organizational knowledge within the company among the different departments and functions.

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Open Source Powered Knowledge Management Platform

  1. 1. Case Study Open Source Powered Knowledge Management PlatformCase Study: KM Platformfor Insurance Company Marketing Contacts: Vineet DahiyaCase Study: KM Platform for InfoAxon Technologies Ltd. Mob - +91-9810425760 Email - vineet.dahiya@infoaxon.comInsurance Company
  2. 2. Case StudyOverviewOur customer (the Insurance Company) is country‟s top 10 largest insurers (with more than US$2 billion assets undermanagement), has more than 10,000+ strong workforce and presence in 400+ cities in the country. It is a joint venture between aFortune 100 US insurer and a leading business house in India. In line with its vision to be the most admired life insurancecompany in India, it has developed a strong corporate governance model based on the core values of excellence, honesty,knowledge, caring, integrity and teamwork.It has multi-channel distribution spread across the country. Agency distribution is the primary channel complemented bypartnership distribution, bancassurance and dedicated distribution for emerging markets.It also emerged as one of the best employer in the recently announced Business Today-Mercer-TNS Survey of „The Best Companiesto Work For in India‟.Business Needs / ChallengesAs this Insurance company‟s business grew rapidly spreading across various geographic locations, its stakeholders realized thatthey need to help their workforce become more productive and efficient in order to improve organizational performance andachieve organizational growth plans.Additionally, Insurance is an extremely competitive, people-intensive business and it constantly adapts its processes to cater tochanging consumer demands. It is therefore imperative that workforce be enabled with right platform and tools to store, manageand search information quickly and efficiently.This Insurance Company was also getting affected by:The high employee turnover (a standard in Insurance industry). It continued to lose tacit knowledge due to attrition.This led to re-inventing of information and documented knowledge several times thus wasting precious resourcesand affecting the morale of employees.In turn, customer experience also suffered as result of non-availability of right information and knowledge.
  3. 3. Case StudyGaps in present KM toolsThe Insurance Company was using various software productivity tools such as e-mails, shared drives, group collaboration, intranetsetc. to communicate information regarding processes, best practices, new product launches, product etc. to employees withinBranches. This was far from being efficient and was becoming a „bottleneck‟ for faster and efficient working.The present set of tools resulted in many inefficiencies: Content was created through a series of disparate, inefficient, and unorganized processes which made collaboration and knowledge capture difficult. Flow of information between Head Office (HO) and Branches was mostly top-down and one-way. HO accounts for around 15% of its workforce while it has 80% of organizational knowledge in terms of processes, best practices, product information etc. This information was not getting shared efficiently and lost in emails and shared drives Teams often struggle to retrieve/search relevant information quickly Information existed in silos and not available easily to assist decision making Information created did not have a particular organizational taxonomy to categorize the content and therefore it was not possible to search or index the information stored in IT systems Cross functional collaboration was very difficult to achieve with the current set of toolsIn summary, the Insurance Company was unable to tap the tacit knowledge of its workers and turn it into competitive advantage.This was impacting their ability in an industry where speed is of critical importance. Their stakeholders realized that they need tohelp workforce:  Reduce wasting precious time and cost in searching for content and information  Easily search for competent resources to deal with specific issues  Reduce time in re-doing / duplicating the activities or works already done  Collaborate with team-members in almost real time  Capture the tacit knowledge and improve sharing of knowledge  Adhere to business processes and audit compliances
  4. 4. Case StudyHelp through Open Source KM PlatformChoosing the right technology platform and the right partner to integrate, customize, deploy and support the Knowledge Platformwas the major decision for the Insurance Company. The other criterion were Platform‟s scalability potential to handle ever growinguser base and volume of content, its flexibility to make further enhancements, future readiness, use of open standards and last butnot the least cost effectiveness as the company wanted to give access of its Knowledge Platform to all its employees and alsoextend it to its advisors and partners.The Insurance Company needed a right partner that can help them make right choices keeping in mind their long term vision andhave enough technology expertise, experience and business consulting depth in open source model to guide them and see themthrough their KM journey. Most importantly the vendor should be willing to collaborate with their IT and business teams to see thisinitiative through as this was their first initiative on open source business solution. After many deliberations and meeting withvarious vendors they partnered with InfoAxon – India‟s first Open Source Integration Company and an expert in delivering OpenSource powered Knowledge Management & Business Intelligence Solution Platforms, to deliver the Knowledge Platform.InfoAxon helped the Insurance Company‟s technical team choose open source powered alternative such as Alfresco Share thatprovided a right- fit for their current KM needs.Also due to its open architecture, reliance on open standards, capability and agility, the open source Knowledge ManagementPlatform powered by Alfresco Share provided enough flexibility and room for innovation to handle changing requirements andfuture needs of the Insurance Company.The entire solution was conceived using the Open Source Platforming approach advocated and well practiced by InfoAxon. Thus asa Platform it was easier to think, conceptualize and build new features or experiences using the underlying „content as a service‟capabilities of the platform.The Open Source Model also ensured much lower cost base due to „support subscription‟ based costing as opposed to per userlicense based model. The open source infrastructure stack consisting of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, MySQL, Apache Tomcat andnumber of other open source components further reduced the TCO.Alfresco Share‟s technology and InfoAxon‟s Open Source „Platforming‟ expertise proved an ideal fit for the Insurance Company asthey not only met the above criteria, but also allowed the Insurance Company to take advantage of the rapid innovation fromInfoAxon‟s R&D and the open source community and avoid proprietary lock-in.Solution SummaryDynamic KM RepositoryInfoAxon established a centralized knowledge repository within the Insurance Company‟s environment where all the employeescould participate actively, contribute and locate wide range of information about company‟s best practices, SOPs, projects relatedinformation, reports, performance appraisal, DR etc. and that is as simple to use as shared drive but with benefits of sharing,workflow, auditing and enhanced document security.
  5. 5. Case StudySmart Knowledge SpacesFor KM to be effective, department and function specific „knowledge spaces‟ (or „sites‟) were conceived and launched such asAgency, Operations, Actuarial, IT, Legal, Marketing, Human Resources, Bancassurance knowledge spaces. Further, knowledge spaces for top business leaders such as CEO, COO, and CTO etc. were created to help them connect andcommunicate directly with the organization workforce. A content folder structure as per the type of knowledge space (i.e. businessTaxonomy) to categorize different type of content was also implemented which goes a long way in quickly provisioning a newknowledge space using the pre-defined knowledge space „Template‟.These knowledge spaces provided a shared and secure area where employees belonging to a particular department or functioncould become members and get connected to the knowledge of entire team. Once member of a particular knowledge space theycould access the team content and collaborate with other team members and share knowledge. In order to promote cross-learning,a user could become member to multiple „workspaces‟ based on his profile. These knowledge spaces are owned by functionalexperts.Helping in KM AdoptionInfoAxon from its experience as a KM solutions company knew that most of the KM programs fail due to non-adoption by end-usersas they do not find the solution intuitive or helping them contributing in their daily work. Once the technology platform wasfinalized, InfoAxon team worked with the Insurance Company stakeholders to create the right „user experience‟.The entry point to the Knowledge Platform is through user personalized Dashboard which provides a snapshot view of users‟interaction with the platform in concise and intuitive way and also acts as a gateway to other corporate applications.The Dashboard could be customized by the users as per personal preferences and business role. The contextual information relatedto users‟ interactions is provided in form of various „dashlets‟ which provides a quick view of the consolidated information. Some ofthe key „dashlets‟ configured in the platform are: My Activity My Knowledge My Tasks My Profile My Documents Feeds Spaces •Tasks assigned to •Rich user profile •Documents user •Provide real time •knowledge users either by with information has added, aggregate feeds of spaces user has other members pulled from LDAP modified or all activities joined or through and updated by editing performed in the automated user knowledge spaces workflows to which the user is member of. Such as new document /wiki post/calendar event added.
  6. 6. Case StudyWhen the user clicks on any of the knowledge space, the space specific dashboard gets opened. All the above dashlets getscontextualized as per the knowledge space. For example „My Activity Feeds‟ dashlet in personal dashboard becomes contextualizedto „Knowledge Space Activity Feeds‟ and so on. Apart from dashlets, the knowledge space provides collaborative tools such asshared calendars, blogs, wikis, discussions forums, user profiles and activity feeds and also social contentmanagement capabilities providing a single content repository to store, manage and collaborate on content withcapabilities such as „library services‟ which provides content storage, check-in, check-out, and versioning, workflows etc.In order to accommodate customer‟s unique requirements, Alfresco Share was further customized and enhanced to manage: Different content types such as SOP, best practices, training manuals, performance reviews, DR, New Ideas etc. to help categorize the content. Admin provided with capability to associate relevant content type with knowledge spaces. Upload of content with mandatory rich metadata such as content types, functions, sub-functions, impact, KPIs, cross referenced content, tags, approval date etc. Identify and alert the user about „duplicate documents‟ at the time of document upload User and Knowledge Space (Site) Dashboard customization to manage the corporate layout and dashlets. New dashlet development to accommodate the requirements. Automated Workflows (specific to Insurance Vertical) leveraging the combination of information pulled from LDAP to decide the next recipient of workflow tasks and the metadata-type entered during content upload. Integration with third party enterprise applications such as IBM Lotus Notes, MS Office, HRMS etc. Rich Drill Down Reports both system-wide as well as knowledge space-wide to provide visibility on the health of the Knowledge Community, Workflow Status, User dependencies etc.Being a process driven organization, the customer wanted to automate its content creation and publishing processes and alsomaintain the quality of the documents and data. Review, classification, and certification of documents were a part of documentmanagement processes handled through Workflows. InfoAxon customized the Platform‟s workflow engine to pull user hierarchyinformation from LDAP server and use this information to automatically assign the workflow task to next person in the customer‟scorporate hierarchy.Setting a Metadata Driven Information ArchitectureThough this helped bringing standardization, it helped little to capture the value-creating staff contribution so essential inbringing out the context and knowledge. To handle this, InfoAxon worked with the Insurance Company‟s team to create RichMetadata sets which helped manage, execute and integrate the asset with the business process. These rich metadata (such asuser generated Tags, KPI Impacted, Functions, Cross-referenced document etc.) enhanced the content‟s context turningit into Smart Content which in turn automatically initiates the right workflows and tasks. Some metadata is created automaticallyby the software such as author, mime-type, added by, time stamp, version etc., and some is created by the people working withthe asset. The metadata of smart digital assets enable the Insurance Company to manage its processes efficiently,facilitating staff contribution to create knowledge and add value.
  7. 7. Case StudyCapturing Tacit KnowledgeOne of the ways to capture people‟s knowledge (tacit knowledge) is to capture discussions around content, documents etc. Thiswas made possible through the „Comments‟ feature which allowed members of the Knowledge Spaces to put their comments orthoughts on a particular content or document. These „comments‟ then get attached with the document and are available for theentire team to view. The same applied to the workflows where different users put their comments when it passes through multiplestages and from one user to the other. These helped in bringing context to the document and retain precious knowledge whenpeople leave.To drive „innovation‟ and user participation, it was important to capture employee „ideas‟ and allow these to be shared with otherusers. An „Idea Sharing‟ dashlet was developed which allows employees to post their ideas around solving the problems in thecompany or improve upon existing processes. Other employees could see these ideas, rate the ideas and even search for ideas thatthey could use.Integration with Corporate IT SystemsWith more than 10000+ employees, locating the required talent and expertise proved problematic within the Insurance Company‟senvironment.To address this issue, „Profile‟ feature of the Knowledge Platform was enhanced further to provide rich and wide range ofinformation on members and using the links available, the members could then be contacted.IA integrated the Insurance Company‟s LDAP server (Sun Directory Server) with the Knowledge Platform to fetch corporateinformation on employees such as employee name, employment no., department, designation, phone number, email id and alsothe business reporting hierarchies such as „reports to‟, „employees reporting to him/her‟. This information was mashed with useredited information such as job profile, work expertise, experience, qualifications and areas of interest. Additionally, the contextualinformation related to the member such as „employee is member of‟, „content contributed by the employee‟ etc. further added tothe richness of information. Further the entire information could be searched based on various parameters detailed above.Google like Search makes Finding Information EasierA Google like search (both Basic & Advanced) is now available and provides searching of all type of content within specificknowledge spaces as well as entire Platform. Employees could search for relevant information using keywords, categories,enhanced metadata, user generated Tags etc. The search results provides rich information display such as content type (document,wiki, blog post, calendar event, discussion forum), knowledge space associated with, Tags etc.
  8. 8. Case Study Key Differentiators As partner to the customer’s Knowledge initiative, InfoAxon created several differentiators for the customer. Some Key differentiators are: • Smart Digital AssetsContent enhanced through ‘user contribution’ in form of rich metadata supplied either at the time of addingthe content or through ‘state change’ during workflow process to bring out context and knowledge. Creationof ‘cross referenced’ rich metadata allowing content to be associated with multiple reference documents. • Rich Drill Down ReportsInfoAxon enhanced ‘Alfresco Share’ by adding an open source Business Intelligence Framework to churn outrich reports such as:1. User Participation & Contribution metrics2. Knowledge Products submission3. Workflow Status and User dependencies4. Administrator level Reports • Smart WorkflowsInfoAxon created Smart Workflows which gets executed based on the corporate hierarchy and the richmetadata contributed by staff. • Integration with 3rd party corporate applicationsprovided a single gateway to end-users to Enterprise Applications such as:1. IBM Lotus Notes2. LDAP (Sun Directory) to authenticate and Pull employee information to create user Profiles3. MS Exchange Server for email notifications, alerts and documents upload through email4. MS Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) through SharePoint Protocol5. Other corporate productivity applications such as Time Sheet, HRMS, Corporate Intranet • Collborative Open Source RoadmapInfoAxon works in close collaboration with the customer’s stakeholders to jointly manage the KM Platform’s ITand business roadmap. This involves setting up of development and support environment to allow quickprototyping and delivery of functionalities in production environment. Frequent workshops are held to analyzeend user feedback and building on KM agenda.
  9. 9. Case StudySolution Architecture & Technology
  10. 10. Case StudyKnowledge Management Platform stack comprises of: Open Source Stack Components Details Collaboration & Knowledge Repository Alfresco Share Enterprise 3.4 Database MySQL 5.1 LDAP Sun Directory Server Backups Hot Backups on Veritas SAN Storage Web / Application Server Apache Tomcat Operating System Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6Value Delivered –After initial phase of development & implementation, end users are using the KM platform extensively. With increase in its usage,end users are now participating actively in its promotion and are now raising new and exciting expectations indicating a faster takeup of the service.Users now demand for enhanced functionalities in the existing KM platform. The KM Platform there is catching on fast as it issimple to use, quickly locates information and provides a better platform to collaborate with teams and quickly get the work done.The KM platform is gradually replacing the usage of shared drive and emails for knowledge sharing and collaboration. The customerhas moved from a situation of theoretical KM practices towards a stage of building a KM practice aided by a Knowledge Platform.Like any other Insurance company, availability and accuracy of content is vital for the customer. Today, a complete workflowenables review, classification, and certification of documents keeping team members in loop about the status at each step.Furthermore documents are not just getting approved but also getting rated against a pre defined scale using the inbuilt ratingfunctionality, which further motivates an employee to participate and collaborate in knowledge creation and sharing.Our customer was early to recognize the significance of KM for the success of the company. The company leadership is promotingKM aggressively within the company and even working out a „KM Reward Points‟ system to encourage knowledge submission and itre-use.
  11. 11. Case StudyThe benefits arising out of the Knowledge Platform implementation and the resulting KM culture could be summed up as follows:  Freed up employee time from locating the right content and verifying its accuracy leading to increase in employee productivity. Reduction in to-and-fro emails to collaborate is further expected to enhance productivity and reduce costs further.  „Re-inventing the wheel‟ to solve business issues has come down drastically. Instead the Knowledge Platform promoted Re-use of knowledge assets resulting into improved efficiency. Opportunity cost of lost employee productivity has been cut-down significantly.  Broken Information Silos. Facilitated cross-learning opportunities among multiple teams leading to new knowledge creation.  Improved team collaboration, employee connectedness and general staff motivation leading to less attrition.  Prevented loss of organizational knowledge when people leave and encouraged transfer of knowledge to improve the skills of employees  Initiated an environment of transparency and information sharing leading to capture of „tacit knowledge‟.  Collaborative Working with InfoAxon to leverage open source development model has resulted in: Faster Innovation Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Faster TurnaroundKnowledge Platform leveraging Open Source Platforming provides our customer with many innovative features and strategicadvantages that otherwise would not have been possible through purchase of any single proprietary software and within theirbudgets and timeframes.
  12. 12. Case StudyOur Customer Showcase
  13. 13. 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: contactus@infoaxon.comSlideshare: | Facebook: