Magazine article Information Today

Making Your Way through the KM Maze

Magazine article Information Today

Making Your Way through the KM Maze

Article excerpt

If you're a corporate information worker, you've surely struggled with knowledge management and have tried to figure out the best ways to interface with customers. Can you really create an effective knowledge management program in your organization? What do you do with the information once you've collected it? The huge variety of products and packaged "solutions" can be baffling. How will you make your way through this maze of choices? How can you apply the latest developments to your business situation? The enterprise knowledge portal is a recent innovation designed to help out in many areas. In Enterprise Knowledge Portals, author Heidi Collins explains EKPs and talks about how you can incorporate them into your business.

As a portal technology expert, Collins is a great person to talk about EKPs. She has held executive positions in programming and systems engineering at several companies and is currently a knowledge officer at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Collins tells what an EKP is, what it can do, how to create it, and how to keep it going.

EKPs first emerged in 2000 from the convergence of the many technologies employed by the corporate world. The EKP is generally a Web-based resource that allows access to a wide variety of information (hence the "portal" designation). Collins sees EKPs as the convergence of internal knowledge management and external customer service and sales. She stresses that the information available through the portal must be dynamically updated.

Collins recognizes that while it's a popular trend in the corporate world, knowledge management has not always succeeded nor has it been effectively used to share information beyond company personnel. She says that the EKP process is a way to systematically gather and disseminate this knowledge: "The enterprise portal concept is to create a 'window' that presents information to users and a 'door' that allows users to pass through to reach selected destinations and data sources." This portal is a new way to internally and externally share what we gather in our knowledge management process.

Enterprise Knowledge Portals begins with a brief introduction to knowledge management. Collins uses helpful graphics to give an overview, emphasizing the most important points to developing an EKP strategy. She then starts right in on why and how you should create an EKP. You may face the following challenges: "Employees are asked to complete more activities online and store more information electronically; information is difficult to find, navigate, understand, and use; content, applications, and complexity of information continues to grow. …

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