TECH TALK: Rethinking Enterprise Software: Trend 3: The Real-Time, Extended Enterprise (Part 2)

Knowledge Management: As we live life in the knowledge society, enterprises are working hard to extract that knowledge which lies within the employees and institutionalise it. Knowledge Management has been around from the time enterprises existed! One of the interesting trends recently is the use of story-telling and narration via weblogs to capture the expertise that lies hidden. Writes Frances Cairncross in The Company of the Future:

Internet technologies offer new opportunities for knowledge management: ways to retain and build on the learning within companies. The development of sophisticated databases and intranets enables companies to build a core of knowledge on which they can draw upon globally in unprecedented ways. Managers will require better tools for making decisions because the process of decision making will grow faster and more complexOne of the basic keys to effective knowledge management is converting personal knowledge into organizational knowledge. That conversion is a life-or-death matter for companies. Corporate memory is increasingly scattered in many different places: databases, filing cabinets, and peoples heads.

Analytics and Visualisation: There is a huge amount of information being generated by people, machines, sensors, webcams and other devices. Extracting intelligence from information and being able to visualize information appropriately is becoming increasingly important. Writes Dan Sullivan in Intelligent Enterprise (May 28, 2002):

Analytics is the art of making sense of masses of data. CRM systems, data warehouses, and corporate portals and intranets provide plenty of raw materials to work with, but the analytic artisan needs a variety of tools and techniques to shape and mold this data into actionable knowledge.

Basic bar graphs and charts have been available almost as long as spreadsheets, but newer visualization models are gaining a foothold in traditional numeric applications as well as in hypertext, relational data, and unstructured data applications. The benefits of visualization vary by application and data type. In some cases, these techniques allow you to quickly compare the relative scale of data and detect patterns. In others, they provide a richer context for understanding data. And in still other cases, visualization techniques let you navigate related but distributed and unstructured data. Regardless of the particular technique, these visualization methods can reduce the time it takes to turn data into information, which in turn reduces decision-making time.

Corporate Portal: My Yahoo pioneered the notion of a personalized portal for consumers. A similar movement is underway in enterprises. Corporate portals (or enterprise information portals) provide a unified view of the content and services necessary for the employees in an organisation. Writes Colin White in Intelligent Enterprise (February 21, 2002):

Portals have evolved from simply providing access to Web pages and corporate databases to supporting business intelligence, application integration, and collaborative processing. Many [portal] products now offer sophisticated searching, categorization, personalization and content management capabilities.Thus, a portal provides internal and external users with an integrated, personalized and secure interface to business content (such as information and applications) and business services (such as collaboration services and Web services).

Companies big and small are realising that business is not just about the flow of products and services, and money. The flow of information is equally important, and in some cases even more so. For example, customers expect Fedex and UPS to both be able to deliver packages to the destinations what is important is how quickly they can get the information of delivery back to their customers. Information is the foundation for the Real-Time, Extended Enterprise.

Monday: Technology Infrastructure

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.