WEBSTER UNIVERSITY KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS? TIMOTHY W. HYDE COMP 5910 31 Mar 98 TABLE OF CONTENT TABLE OF CONTENT ii INTRODUCTION 1 WHAT IS A KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM 1 Technologies 2 WHY USE IT 2 Advantages 2 GOAL 3 SAMPLE PRODUCT 3 WINCITE 5. 0 3 INTRASPECT 1. 5 4 CHANNELMANAGER 2. 0 4 Premise #1 4 Premise #2 4 BACKWEB 4.
0 5 CONCLUSION 5 WORK CITED 6 INTRODUCTION In today’s information based society, knowledge is power. By knowing theircustomers a business will have the ability to build products coveted by their customers. If a company is to get ahead in business today, they need to have a firm grasp on how toget the best production out of their employees. One way to help employees be all theycan be is to provide them with the tools necessary to do their job. With the explosion ofthe service industry, today more than ever what employees need to do their job isinformation. Information about warehouse and store inventories, hot and cold sellingmerchandise and most importantly information about the customers they service.
Software developers have heeded the call of the corporate leaders and are creatingtechnology to help managers collect the data they need and put it in a useful form. Thispaper will discuss the emerging knowledge management systems being used today, in anattempt to take advantage of the enormous databases which have been created. WHAT IS A KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Knowledge management is at various stages of development in Americanbusinesses. Some companies are just taking their first steps toward identifying andorganizing the components of their information systems.
Others have already recruitedknowledge managers and are looking to revamp and improve established system. Thetools a majority of these companies are using in the renovation efforts are knowledgemanagement systems. A knowledge management system is a software tool that is intended to assist,through knowledge processing functions, users who desire to retrieve and manipulateinformation for different applications. The various tools of such a framework should helpusers to originate and organize ideas or understand and communicate ideas more easilyand accurately than can be done with most current tools.
A knowledge managementsystems is an integrated multifunctional system that can support all main knowledgemanagement and knowledge processing activities. Knowledge management systems are difficult to understand because the businessprocesses it strives to computerize doesn’t exist in the real world for most organizations. Unlike replacing a machine such as a typewriter or an office procedure such as documentcontrol, businesses have been trying unsuccessfully throughout the 20th century to makeknowledge management a reality. Excluding those companies whose entire business isknowledge management, there’s no obvious, proven model to follow. However,knowledge management can be described by stepping back from technologies andproducts and taking a high-level view of the business issues before jumping intotechnology-based solutions. A Knowledge management system is a program that provides companies the abilityto gather its collective expertise.
Valued at $1. 5 billion in 1996 and slated to increase to$5 billion annually by 2000, the development of knowledge management systems is bigbusiness. The appeal of knowledge management reaches all types of firms, includingautomakers and consulting firms. With the decentralization of many businesses the focuson knowledge management has increased. Many of today’s managers fear that corporateknowledge is being wasted because no one knows what vast knowledge exists. Technologies Involved Knowledge Management software helps support its users in their efforts to collectinformation, to organize it, to collaborate around it, thus allowing a means to search anddiscover knowledge contained in the group memory, so that it can be reapplied orextended, and reused.
It does this by using a server to capture information from variouselectronic information sources This allows individuals and groups to capture information,together with its context, into the group memory from which it can be accessed from theuser’s desktop and across the enterprise. A knowledge management systems are composed of a variety of technologiesincluding; intranets, data warehousing, decision-support tools, and groupware to name afew. About half of the companies recently surveyed by Delphi Consulting are creatingsystems which intranet technology to improve their knowledge management, whileanother 25 percent plan to do so in the near future. Similarly, one-third of developerssurveyed by Delphi are creating data warehouses, while nearly 25 percent plan inprogress to incorporate data warehouses.
Also, one-third are implementingdecision-support tools, while 20 percent plan to. Why Use It The issue of handling the difficulties of managing information is one which anycompany trying to advance in this age of information will have to deal with. Collectingand organizing information just to do your own job can be monumental burden. While theprocess of gathering information can be a great challenge for some organizations. Theenormous growth of information sources makes it even more difficult now for companiesto find the information they need, and once found there’s no easy way to capture andorganize it into a business solution and share it among workers.
The types of problems knowledge management systems are designed to solveinvolve issues of knowledge acquired through experience which doesn’t get reusedbecause it isn’t shared in a formal way. Whether it’s how to avoid duplicating errors, toimprove the distribution of proven best practices, or simply to harness what employeeshave learned about suppliers, customers, or competitors, knowledge managementsystems employ a concept under which information is turned into actionable knowledgeand made available effortlessly in a usable form to the people who can apply it. Knowledge management is a way of doing business. The software is used to facilitate thepractice of knowledge management or at least specific facets of it, with the appropriateuse of technology. Advantages Knowledge management systems offer a flexible, user-driven approach toorganizing data in a way that makes it more useful to the company using it. Newmethods for organizing cabinets, folders, discussions, can be easily created and placed inthe information hierarchy, along with the other documents, Web pages, e-mail messages,comments or resources to which the folder is linked.
Automatic full-text indexing createsinformation linkages and tracks the who, what, when, where and why, preservinginformation for its users. Knowledge management systems allow users to easily collaborate with each otheracross time and distance, discussing common tasks or interests contained in the groupmemory. Easily created, threaded discussions and comments, together with sharedaccess, allows for users to focus on the tasks at hand. The collaborative interactions andthe information sources of interest are automatically captured and preserved within thecontext of the task.
Notifications from subscription agents update users of relevantchanges to information important to themselves and/or the organization. Goal Even though some organizations have successfully developed software that workfor their single vertical market, no one has successfully created a reproducible systemthat others can follow with a reasonable chance of success. The knowledge managementpackages they use have been limited to use in departmental areas such as the help desk. But the ultimate goal management system developers isn’t to creating a departmentalisland of success recycling.
It’s giving the companies the capacity to be more effectivewith the gathering of institutional information and memory the way human beings have thecapacity to become more effective and mature every day with the accumulation ofthoughts and memories. The goal of knowledge management systems is center on gaining the ability to tapinto employee knowledge and to gather data located in numerous databases locatedthroughout the world. The main objective is develop a system that will allow a companyto utilize the vast amounts of data collected in order the company stay ahead ofcompetitors. Knowledge management systems are composed of numeroustechnologies, including decision support tools, data warehousing tools and intranets. SAMPLE PRODUCT WINCITE 5. 0 Of the knowledge management systems software in use, Wincite Systems’ Wincite5.
0 is one of the most mature product. Developed over 10 years ago Wincite’s productis designed to manage a shared repository of structured data and deliver it in forms thatsimplify data analysis. The package uses a group model allowing users to add notes withnew updates or other information. Wincite is designed to manage a shared large collection of structured data anddeliver it in forms that easy to analysis and work. Wincite accomplishes this by using agroup model, where putting content into the knowledge base is the work of one or ahandful of managers, but users can suggest additions.
Wincite users can add notes withproposed updates or new information. The manager responsible for maintaining theknowledge can easily see these notes and incorporate all or part of them. While thismodel will be sensible for many organizations, the system’s two-tier architecture makes itdifficult to break out of the model and create a universal full-client deployment approach. INTRASPECT 1.
5 Intraspect Software Inc. ‘s offers one of the best designs forknowledge-management applications. Intraspect Software’s Intraspect 1. 5 is designedfor knowledge-management applications. This package develops a group memory bygathering data in maps customized to each end users and communicated throughnetworked files, an intranet or e-mail.
The program’s design presumes the majority of the people employing the systemare those who will both contribute to the group memory and consume information. It alsoassumes that knowledge is based on the information made actionable by having anappropriate context. The system’s peer-to-peer model grants wide authority tocontribute and inform. The benefit of this approach are in it’s ability to increase thelikelihood that an organization will collect more useful information and the decrease incosts spent on collecting information that doesn’t meet the needs of its users.
CHANNELMANAGER 2. 0 DataChannel’s ChannelManager 2. 0, currently in beta, is a utility suite designed togather content and data from internal and external sources. The product utilizes pushtechnology to get the data to the users. Created with the assumption that the traditionalexecutive information system provided too little, too late for too much money, and thatoverloaded Webmasters couldn’t compete with their existing schedule constrains,DataChannel Inc. designed this tool set around two major ideas.
Premise #1 DataChannel’s product presumes that users should not have to be responsible forconverting documents to HTML in order to be shared, thus saving lag time. Premise #2 Secondly it presumes that all files to be shared, internal to the intranet or file system,or external over the Internet, should share a common location description. In this case,each has a URL, even if they’re on the file system. The goal of the ChannelManager 2.
0 is not to store information in a centralrepository for record-keeping or historical use, but to turn available sources into uniquechannels and distribute information in a timely and efficient manner to users who need it. BackWeb 4. 0 BackWeb Technologies’ BackWeb 4. 0 main area of strength is its to pushchannels of information to a wide range of desktop users. In its simplest form BackWebis a set of tools designed to gather information from any source, Internet news feeds,internal users, the network file system, or customer surveys and broadcast it to the userswho need it.
BackWeb uses push channel technology as the mechanism to deliveremergent information in any file format. The goal of the product is to turn availablesources into channels and disseminate information on a timely basis to users who need it,as opposed to storing information in a central repository for record keeping. BackWeb incorporates a hierarchical delivery system. User access is controlled bya group of managers and administrators.
An administrator gathers channels for specificusers or workgroups and creates a prepackaged profile of channels for their use. Afterthis has been accomplished the administrator publishes these to the target users, creatinga program users execute on their local machines, although once installed, changes madeto the workgroup by the administrator are automatically reflected in each user’s clientsoftware. BackWeb comes with over 500 preconfigured channels including Interneton-line journals and news feeds. CONCLUSION In this age of service driven industries, a companies most vital resource, in additionto their employees, is the information they gather in an effort to do their job and in aneffort to make their companies successful. Once a company has located the requiredinformation, they need a way to pull it out of various information repositories.
Once theyhave all the information in place, they need to have the ability to figure out how to retrieveall the knowledge and discover relationships among various information they havecollected. To get knowledge and not just data, managers need to employ some sort ofknowledge management systems technology. This makes a knowledge managementsystem in invaluable tool for companies wishing to be competitive in this information age. WORK CITED ____, Knowledge Equals Power, InfoWorld, Vol 19, Issue 46, 17 Nov 97: 116-9 Jeff Angus, Knowledge Management: Great Concept…But What is it, Issue 673, 16Mar 98: 58 Justin Hibbard, Knowing What We Know, Information Week, Issue 653, 20 Oct 97:46-9 Computers and Internet Essays