Thursday, April 26, 2012

SharePoint - Blog Sites

A blog is a Web site that enables you or your organization to quickly share ideas and information. Blogs contain posts that are dated and listed in reverse chronological order. People can comment on your posts, as well as provide links to interesting sites, photos, and related blogs.

Blogs posts can be created quickly, and they often have an informal tone or provide a unique perspective. Although blogs are frequently used for commentary on the Internet, they can be used in several ways in a corporate environment. For example, in one of companies I worked, maintenance employees were using a SharePoint blog to document their findings during the site visit and their supervisor to respond by posting comments to their posts.

A SharePoint blog is a site that contains lists and libraries, such as a list of blog posts, a list of other blogs, and a library for photos. Once you create a blog, you can set up categories, and then customize the blog settings.

To create or customize a blog, you must have permission to create a site. When you create a blog, you need to decide whether you want the blog to inherit permissions from the parent site or set up unique permissions manually. In most cases, you should set up unique permissions for the blog to ensure that you can manage its site settings, lists, and libraries independently of its parent site. For example, you might want to grant less restrictive permissions on your blog than on the parent site, such as enabling all authenticated users on your intranet to read and comment on the blog.

You can also create and customize a blog by using Microsoft SharePoint Designer.

Before you start adding content to your blog, you will want to make sure that your site, lists, and libraries are set up the way that you want. For example, you may want to edit the description of a list to help your readers understand its purpose, change permissions for the blog or the Posts list, or track versions of your blog posts so that you can restore a previous version of a post if necessary.

Once created, you may want to customize settings for your blog, or for its lists and libraries. Once you have customized the settings for your blog, you can set up categories to help you organize your posts. Categories are especially helpful if you create blog posts about different subjects or for different purposes, such as current events, brainstorming for a special project, or a technology or hobby. When posts are organized by categories, people can more easily find the posts that fit their interests by clicking the appropriate category in the Categories list. If you don't want to use categories, you can choose None for the category when you create a post.

You can change the image and description that appear under "About this blog" by modifying the web part that contains this information.

To create a blog, follow these steps:

1.Click Site Actions, and then click New Site.
2.In the Create dialog box, click the Blog site template.
3.In the Title box, type a name for your blog site. The title appears in the navigation for every page in the site, such as the top link bar.
4.In the URL name box, type the last part of the Web address that you want to use for your blog site.

To create a blog according to the default settings, including the same permissions as the parent site, click Create.

To customize some of the site settings, such as set unique permissions or change whether the site appears in the Quick Launch or the top link bar, select More Options.

To create, edit or delete categories, follow these steps:

1.Click All Site Content.
2.Under Lists, click Categories.

The Categories list appears. If you haven't set up categories on the blog before, the list contains category placeholders, such as Category 1 and Category 2. Here you can create new categories, edit current categories, i.e. give them meaningful names or delete categories.

Have fun with your blog!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Enterprise Search vs Centralized Systems

It is the known fact that data is doubling every 18 months, and that unstructured information volumes grow six times faster than structured. Employees spend too much time, about 20% of their time, on average, looking for, not finding and recreating information. Once they find the information, 42% of employees report having used the wrong information, according to a recent survey.

To combat this reality, for years, companies have spent hundreds of thousands, even millions, to move data to centralized systems, in an effort to better manage and access its growing volumes, only to be disappointed as data continues to proliferate outside of that system. In fact, in a recent survey by the Technology Services Industry Association, more than 90% of its members have a single support  knowledgebase in place, yet the report decreases in critical customer service metrics, due to the inability to quickly locate the right knowledge and information to serve customers.

Despite best efforts to move data to centralized platforms, companies are finding that their knowledgebase runs throughout enterprise systems, departments, divisions and newly acquired subsidiaries. Knowledge is stored offline in laptops, in emails and archives, intranets, file shares, CMS, CRM systems, ERPs, home-grown systems and many others across departments and across the countries of the world.

Add to this the proliferation of enterprise application use (including social networks, wikis, blogs and more) throughout organizations and it is no wonder that efforts to consolidate data into a single knowledgebase, a single "version of the truth" have failed... and at a very high price.

The bottom line is, moving data into a single knowledgebase is a losing battle. There remains a much more successful way to effectively manage your knowledge ecosystem, all without moving data. The key to it is to stop moving data by combining structured and unstructured information from virtually any enterprise system, including social networks, into a central, unified index. Think of it as an indexing layer that sits above all enterprise systems, from which services can be provided to multiple departments, each configured to that department’s specific needs.

This approach enables dashboards, focused on various business departments and processes, which contain just-in-time analytics and 360-degree information about, for example, a customer or a prospective customer. Such composite views of information provide new, actionable perspectives on many business processes, including overall corporate governance. The resulting position of key metrics and information improve decision making and operational efficiency.

This approach allows IT departments to leverage their existing technologies, and avoid significant costs associated with system integrations and data migration projects. It also helps companies avoid pushing their processes into a one-size-fits-all, framework. With configurable dashboards, companies decide how,what, and where information and knowledge are presented, workflows are enabled, and for what groups of employees.

Information monitoring and alerts facilitate compliance. There is virtually no limit to the type of information and where it is pulled from, into the central, unified and, highly secure—index: structured, unstructured, from all corporate email, .PST files, archives, on desktops and in many CRMs, CMS, knowledgebases, etc.

Enterprise applications have proliferated throughout organizations, becoming rich with content. And yet all of that knowledge and all of that content remain locked within the community, often not even easily available to the members themselves. It is possible to leverage the knowledge of communities in enterprise search efforts. User rankings, best bets and the ability to find people through the content they create are all social search elements that provide the context that employees and customers have come to expect from their interactions with online networks.

Once you have stopped moving data and created the central index, you would be able to provide your employees with the access to pertinent information and knowledge. For many organizations, employees spend most of their time in Outlook. Other organizations with large sales teams need easy access to information on the road.

Also valuable is the ability to conduct secure searches within enterprise content directly from a BlackBerry, including guided navigation. Even when systems are disconnected, including laptops, users can easily find information from these systems, directly from their mobile devices. Again, without moving data, organizations can enjoy immediate, instant access to pertinent knowledge and information, anywhere, anytime.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS)

The proliferation of information has made enterprise content management a necessity for most organizations. Managing the growing amounts of content generated throughout the normal course of daily operations requires flexible, rapidly deployed solutions that transform traditional content repositories and static intranets into dynamic, user friendly work environments. However, content management solutions from proprietary vendors could be expensive for some organizations. Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) could be a solution when budget is an obstacle in implementing enterprise content management initiative.

Open source ECM solutions have matured over the past several years, equaling the capabilities of proprietary software, and have been successfully deployed in major enterprises worldwide. They can support web content management, document management, records and email management, and collaboration. Today’s leading commercial open source ECM solutions feature all of the capabilities that proprietary applications offer - from rules-based content repositories to collaboration features combined with enterprise-grade scalability, reliability, and security.

With an open source ECM implementation, companies can benefit from the stability and reliability of an enterprise-class system, while being able to redirect IT dollars to revenue-generating business functions. Given the limitations of email, shared network drives and proprietary software, enterprises can turn to a new wave of established alternatives - commercially supported, open source ECM applications that solve real business challenges. The advantages of a commercial open source approach are numerous, with flexibility, ease of integration and lower cost leading the list.

Open source CMS are Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla, Apache Jackrabbit, Liferay, and JBoss/eXo portal platforms, and many others.

In my future posts, I will describe these open source CMS.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Content Management Systems Reviews - Open Text - ECM Suite - Document Management

Open Text ECM Suite - Document Management (formerly Livelink ECM - Document Management) is a document management solution that provides full lifecycle management for any type of electronic document. Document Management provides a single, authoritative repository for storing and organizing electronic documents. Web based interface and open architecture make it easy to deploy.

It is the powerful, fully integrated content management system that delivers the essential capabilities for managing documents. You can store, organize, access, and manage documents in an organized, hierarchical structure. Version control and audit trail functions ensure accuracy and currency. Powerful search functionality allows users to easily find what they need when they need it. Classification and metadata identify content authors and stakeholders so users can quickly find subject matter experts.

Documents from across entire organization can be consolidated within a centralized web-based interface. Each user has access to a personal workspace which can be customized to suit individual preferences and enhance the overall user experience. By allowing users to organize information intuitively, they can quickly access what they need.

The core library services are integrated with process automation tools. All important activities can be routed into work stream, allowing critical data to be included with key tasks and assignments.

Compliance measures for documents retention are included in the system.


Repository: the system manages any type of electronic document in any file format. You can organize electronic documents into hierarchies of folders and compound documents within three types of workspaces that reflect the different ways in which people work: the Enterprise Workspaces; Project Workspaces; and Personal Workspaces. Dynamic shortcuts point to any document, folder or object within the repository.

Classifications - apply custom metadata to documents: you can associate metadata with documents. Metadata is indexed and can be used to easily retrieve and generate reports on documents based on your custom criteria. Each piece of metadata is an attribute, and sets of attributes can be grouped into categories that can be associated with any document. You can also add to your attributes, which improves the accuracy of attributes and enhances query precision. You can classify documents by applying pre-existing taxonomic classifications, categories or attribute values.

Classify documents according to alternate taxonomic hierarchies: Multiple taxonomic classifications can be associated with documents in their original locations. This lets you browse and search documents in the repository according to taxonomies that differ from the one implied by the folder structure, without having to create multiple copies of documents.

Information Retrieval:the web interface includes a simple search bar on every page that supports full-text or natural language querying within the folder or across the entire repository. The solution also includes an advanced search form for building search queries using system and custom metadata, taxonomic classifications, Boolean operators, and modifiers such as Soundex and a thesaurus. Search result pages provide result rankings, automatic summaries, clustered result themes, hit-highlighting and Find Similar. Users can save queries, result snapshots, and multiple search form templates.

Support for Any File Format: the system handles numerous file types including engineering drawings, system reports, email messages, periodicals, rich media, etc.

Rate and critique documents: Document Management allows you to rate the value of a document and write a critique that is saved with the document and viewed by other users. In addition to providing users with lists of the most highly rated documents, the solution tracks document usage to show the most recent and frequently accessed documents.

Workflows - automate change request, review and approval processes: graphical workflow designer tool enables you to automate document management processes, such as document change requests and document review and approval processes, to ensure that they are carried out accurately and consistently. You can design processes according to your own requirements or according to those imposed by regulatory agencies. Web forms streamline the data entry process.

Work directly from popular document authoring tools: the system allows users of popular desktop authoring tools, including Lotus Mail and Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, to open and save documents directly from the repository. Using Windows Explorer, users can drag and drop documents and folders between their desktop and the repository. Document Management also supports the WebDAV protocol, allowing users of WebDAV-compliant desktop applications to connect directly to the repository.

Email documents to and from the repository: You can assign a unique email address to folders in the OpenText Document Management repository, thereby allowing users to email document attachments directly to a particular folder. Each document in the repository has an email function, enabling the document's link or the document itself to be emailed to any recipient.

Use permissions to fine-tune access to documents: You can set up to nine levels of permissions on a document or folder in the repository. This helps you fine-tune the type of access that you want to grant to individuals and groups based on corporate policies. For example, some users may not have the permission to even see a document, others may have the permission to only view a document, and others may be able to modify or delete a document. You can assign roles and groups, control whether users can see documents, view their content, modify or delete them.

Version Control: Control document versions and prevent multiple authors from overwriting each other's work using Document Management's check-out and check-in functions. When a user checks out a document, it can be viewed, but not modified, by other users. Users can access the complete version history of a document and view the content of previous versions. Manage the history of documents. Create static pointers to specific versions to create a generation or to specify published versions.

Audit Trail: comprehensive audit trail functionality to automatically record the date, time and performer of every type of action, description of it, and related document activities such as who worked on it, reserved it, etc. Activities that can be recorded include document creation, renaming, reserving or unreserving, adding or deleting versions, viewing and so on. Integrated notification capabilities inform users whenever relevant content within the repository is updated.

Generate document usage reports: the system includes predefined reports, such as a list of the largest documents or all the documents owned by a given user. In addition, Document Management includes a report building tool for creating custom reports.

Manage compound documents: Use compound document containers to manage documents that comprise multiple document files. Within a compound document, sub-documents can be ordered and nested compound documents can be created. You can create major releases and minor revisions of compound documents as well as links that point directly to a particular release or revision.

Next post on Open Text ECM Suite - content lifecycle management.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Content Management Systems Reviews - Open Text - ECM Suite

In my first post about Open Text, I mentioned that Open Text Corporation is the software company which provides enterprise content management (ECM) software solutions. I described Open Text Solutions in general. In my today's post, I am going to start describing Open Text ECM Suite.

The Open Text ECM Suite integrates multiple technologies for document management, records management, web content management, portal, digital asset management, email management, and content lifecycle management. Other components include electronic discovery, auto-classification, document capture, document imaging and digital faxing solutions. The suite provides functions for team collaboration, forums, blogs, wikis, and real-time instant messaging and collaboration. These functions are connected through business process management tools to each other and to other business applications and processes.

Open Text ECM Suite includes the following products:
  • Document Management 
  • Content Lifecycle Management
  • Records Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Web Content Management
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Portal
  • Auto-Classification
  • Enterprise Search
  • Rights Management
  • Email Management
  • eDiscovery
  • Archiving
  • Transactional Content Management
  • Capture and Imaging
  • OCR/ICR and Classification
  • Collaboration
  • Social Media
  • Semantic Navigation
  • Content Analytics
  • Content Reporting
  • Library and Collection Management
  • Managed File Transfer
  • Widget Services
Next post: ECM Suite - Document Management

Cloud Content Management

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network, typically the internet. With the power of cloud computing, small businesses can enjoy the same level of IT infrastructure as Fortune 500 companies with vastly limited overhead.

End users access cloud based applications through a web browser or a light weight desktop or mobile application while the business software and data are stored on servers at a remote location. Cloud application providers strive to give the same or better service and performance than if the software programs were installed locally on end-user computers.

In the past, all of a business computing would have to be done by its own servers. Now that we can compute over the web, servers do not have to be located within business offices, and with cloud computing, they do not even have to be owned by the business!

In addition to hosted servers, small businesses can now purchase software as a service (SaaS) that is hosted online and completely scalable. With software purchased as a service, a small business no longer needs IT personnel on site to install and maintain software and hardware. SaaS allows businesses to purchase software without multi-year contracts and without painful software installation.

An added benefit of cloud computing is its document storage capabilities. The cloud revolutionizes the way you store and access data. A great way for businesses to harness the power of the cloud is by utilizing cloud content management systems that store and organize documents online. By doing this, a business can securely leverage all the benefits of cloud computing for its content. Accessibility, scalability, sharing and collaboration are only a few of the benefits cloud content management can offer.

Because on-premise enterprise content management (ECM) software requires significant commitment of time and money, only big organizations have been able to take advantage of the efficiency, productivity, and cost savings of automated document management and workflow. These organizations can afford highly-customized on-premise systems that help them gain competitive advantage over smaller rivals.

Cloud enterprise content management solutions level the playing field for organizations of any size. Now, the smallest company or any budget-pinched department within a larger organization can have all the computing power, and the efficiency and productivity gains of the biggest companies.

The cloud enterprise content management (ECM) offers tremendous advantages over traditional on-premise content management software implementations. Solving a typical content management business problem requires the integration of multiple technologies like document management, workflow, scanning, capture, email management, etc.

For many organizations this involves a lengthy implementation process from initial business specifications to hardware and technology planning to cross-departmental functional groups to actual software installation and customization. It may be many months from the initial business need for a content management solution to the actual workable solution.

A cloud ECM solution, however, comes as a pre-loaded and immediately usable business solution. A cloud enterprise content management platform is accessible via an internet connection. There is no need to add additional modules or pay for expensive and time consuming integration services. A business unit can be up and running in days with an enterprise content management and workflow solution, while the on-premise ECM software implementation project remains stuck in its planning phase.

In content management, these advantages play an even larger role in project success. This is why analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester predict cloud providers to grow much faster than on-premise ECM software vendors in the coming years.

Benefits of Cloud Content Management

Rapid Deployment

With no hardware or software to install and no servers to buy, cloud content management virtually has no setup time. So, it can be deployed very quickly.

Access Anywhere

For a typical enterprise content management (ECM) solution to work, it requires that all of its components be available when they are needed. An implementation that includes multiple technologies like document management software, automated workflow, scanning equipment, document capture, email management, etc.. means that each will have a service lifecycle, and a service level, that will need to be monitored and tracked to keep the entire solution in working order.

A cloud content management solution, however, offers an application available anytime and from any internet browser. With cloud content management, you have all of your data right at your fingertips. By managing your documents online, information is always accessible and data can be shared instantly.

Easy Collaboration

Since it can be accessed anywhere, cloud content management systems allow any authorized personnel to access and collaborate on content. Sharing lets you get information to those who need it instantly, and from anywhere in the world. With cloud content management, you can bring important documents to everyone in your business.


Solving a typical enterprise content management (ECM) business problem requires the integration of multiple technologies like document management, workflow, scanning, document capture, email management, etc. In the installed content management software world, this often means a great deal of time and dollars dedicated to making multiple technologies work together.

By contrast, content management technologies can be integrated in a cloud, including capture, document management, workflow, e-signature, eForms and much more.

Low Cost

When it comes to enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, on-premise software carries a large price tag. Add up the software license, implementation services, additional hardware and networking costs, and annual maintenance fees and on-premise content management software can be out of reach of many organizations. Cloud ECM solutions, however, offer a highly-affordable alternative to automate document-intensive processes.

Not only are initial costs much lower, but the cloud content management model also brings you reduced costs over the long-term. There are no servers or software to administer and no annual maintenance fees. This is one of the major reasons why organizations that start with one cloud application, such as content management and workflow, tend to seek cloud solutions for subsequent applications.

Secure Content

ECM Cloud platform offers the highest level of security. There are additional security controls within the cloud solution where typical on-premise content management products do not have them.

Enhanced Business Agility

In a cloud, content management solutions can be quickly and easily tailored to meet your changing document management and workflow needs. In addition, there is an ability to take advantage of new features and enhancements as they become available.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Document Management in SharePoint

Document management in SharePoint includes documents life cycle from their creation to archiving. The system allows to store and organize documents so that they can be easily found and shared by users thus enabling collaboration.

When organizations do not have any kind of formal document management system in place, content is often created and saved in an unmanaged and decentralized way on scattered file shares and individual hard disk drives. This makes it hard for employees to find, share, and collaborate effectively on documents. This also makes it difficult for organizations to use the valuable business information and data.

SharePoint supports your organization's document management needs by providing a broad set of document management capabilities that enable you to do the following:
  • store, organize, and find documents;
  • ensure the consistency of documents;
  • manage metadata for documents;
  • help protect documents from unauthorized access or use;
  • ensure consistent business processes (workflows) for how documents are handled.
SharePoint sites are optimized for creating, using, and storing large numbers of documents. Documents are located in libraries which are part of SharePoint sites. Libraries include folders which contain documents. The structure of libraries and folders need to be carefully constructed to ensure that it is easy to navigate to documents.

You can sort and filter items in libraries and create customized views.

Version Control

A library usually has versioning turned on. Versioning lets you track changes to documents, and it helps you manage content as you revise it. Versioning is especially helpful when several people work together on projects, or when information goes through several stages of development and review. With versioning turned on, you can restore an earlier version as your current document, or view an earlier version.

Versioning requires users to check out and check in documents. Requiring check-out helps prevent conflicts and confusion over changes, because only one user can change a file at a time. When you require check-out, a file is checked out when someone opens it for editing, unless another user already has it checked out.

While you have a file checked out, your changes are not visible to others until you check the file back in. When you check in a file, you are prompted to enter comments about your changes, and the comments become part of the version history. And because the documents library tracks major and minor versions of a file, you are prompted to choose which type of version you are checking in.

Minor revision is designated as a number with a decimal - 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. It is a draft document. Use minor revision when you continue to work on the document. If you finished working on the document, choose major revision which is designated as a whole number - 1, 2, 3, etc. In other words, drafts are the minor versions of files or list items that have not yet become major.

By performing check out and check in functions the system keeps track of the document versions and assigns the next consecutive version with the check in function. This makes it possible to view previous version of the document or restore the document to the previous version.

If you set up a library to require content approval, then documents are not published until someone with the appropriate permissions approves the document for publication.

Content Types

A content type is a reusable group of settings for a category of content that describe the shared behaviors for a specific type of content. You can use content types to manage the metadata, templates, and behaviors of items and documents consistently. Content types enable organizations to organize, manage, and handle content in a consistent way across a site collection. You can define a content type for each type of document that your organization creates to ensure that these different types of documents are handled in a consistent way.

For example, two content types called User Manual and Product Specification. When team members go to the Document Center to create a new document, each of these content types appears as an option on the New button in the document library. Each content type specifies its own template, so that all user manuals and product specifications share a common format.

Each content type also specifies its own custom columns, so that, for example, all user manuals contain metadata about which product models the manuals apply to. Each content type even contains its own workflows, so that the team can be confident that every user manual follows the same feedback and approval processes. And because product specifications are contained in a different content type, those documents can follow different processes and have columns that require different metadata.

Document Metadata

Each document has metadata associated with it. This metadata in SharePoint is called columns. One of the primary ways that users find documents that are uploaded in a SharePoint library is by browsing or searching using metadata.

When you open or edit a document, you can edit the document metadata. If custom columns are added to the content type for that document or to the library where that document is saved, these column values are displayed as metadata fields.


To support common document-related business processes, SharePoint offers built-in workflows that organizations can use to manage tasks such as document review, approval, and signature collection. Workflow is defined as the automated movement of documents or items through a sequence of actions or tasks that are related to a business process. Workflows help organizations manage document-related business processes more efficiently, because they automatically track and manage the human tasks involved in these processes.

For example, instead of sending e-mail to reviewers, a writer can start a workflow on the current document right from Microsoft Word document. The workflow takes care of managing the process, including sending notification messages to reviewers, creating tasks for them, and tracking the status of those tasks. Reviewers can complete their tasks in Word 2007 or in SharePoint.

Additionally, by using SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Visual Studio organizations can develop custom workflows that manage business processes that are unique to their organizations.

Documents Protection

SharePoint offers several ways for organizations to help protect documents that are saved to a SharePoint site from unauthorized access or use. Organizations can apply Information Rights Management (IRM) to an entire document library to protect an entire set of documents. IRM enables you to limit the actions that users can take on files that are downloaded from SharePoint lists or libraries.

IRM encrypts the downloaded files and limits the set of users and programs that are allowed to decrypt these files. IRM can also limit the rights of the users who are allowed to read files, so that they cannot take actions such as printing copies of the files or copying text from them. IRM can thus help your organization to enforce corporate policies that govern the control and dissemination of confidential or proprietary information.

Another way to protect documents is by configuring permissions for individual sites, libraries, or folders. If there is a document library to which you want to restrict access, you can edit the permissions for this library to define who has the permission to view or edit documents in this library.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Content Management Systems Reviews - Documentum - Federated Search

Documentum Federated Search is a suite of products designed to solve the problem of finding information quickly. Federated Search Services is comprised of two server-based components, the Federated Search Server and Federated Search Adapter Packs, and two client-level options – Webtop Federated Search and Discovery Manager. These options enable organizations to quickly search for information stored in a myriad of sources and data formats.

Federated Search Server

Federated Search Server manages federated searches through a query broker and source adapters to provide relevant results in real time while leveraging the local index and security permissions of each source being queried. The result: the most relevant and secure real-time search results which are organized in an intuitive manner.

Key Features:

  • Quickly access relevant information across countless sources with a single query executed from an easy-to-use, web-based interface.
  • Search multiple internal and external information sources right out of the box, including Documentum repositories, network file shares, Documentum e-Room and other Documentum products, Google, Yahoo, etc.
  • Ensure secure access to content by respecting security permissions set at the information source being searched. This ensures that queries only return only those search results that the user is authorized to see.
  • Retrieve information from sources whether or not they support the Documentum query language. The Federated Search Server adapts the query automatically and performs post-filtering to compensate for sources that do not support specific operator or metadata.

Federated Search Adapter Packs and Federated Search SDK

Federated Search Adapter Packs are sets of out-of-the box adapters that provide access from the Federated Search Server to information sources by leveraging native data structure, metadata or index of the information sources being searched. Each adapter gathers relevant search results which are then filtered and presented to the end user in the real time in an intuitive manner. Adapter packs are available as a three-pack, ten-pack or unlimited pack.

Federated Search SDK provides a powerful developer toolkit to customize or create adapters based on industry standards as well as source code and a library of common APIs, including Java API to customize the Discovery Manager client for bespoke applications.

Key Features:

  • Adapter Library: out-of-the box source adapters, including adapters for government and industry databases, local content archives, enterprise applications, web services, or bundles of adapters for Pharma and Science.
  • Enterprise repositories include: Documentum products, FileNet Panagon Content Services, IBM Lotus Domino/Notes, Open Text LiveLink, Oracle database, Symantec Enterprise Vault, and others.
  • Search engines include Autonomy, Google Search Appliance,, Yahoo, Microsoft Index Server, Open Directory, and others.
  • Technology standards include HTTP, JDBC/ODBC, SOAP, Web Services, Z39.50
  • Content providers include Factiva (news), IDRAC, Lexis Nexis (news and legal).
  • Intelligence Services
  • With Documentum Intelligence Services added to the Documentum Content Server, content metadata can be improved helping to produce even more precise search results.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Knowledge Types and Knowledge Management

Understanding the different forms that knowledge can exist in, and thereby being able to distinguish between various types of knowledge, is an essential step for knowledge management (KM). For example, the knowledge captured in a document would need to be managed (i.e. stored, retrieved, shared, changed, etc.) in a totally different way than that gathered over the years by an expert craftsman.

Within business and KM, two types of knowledge are usually defined, namely explicit and tacit knowledge. The former refers to codified knowledge, such as that found in documents, while the latter refers to non codified and often personal/experience-based knowledge. In practice, all knowledge is a mixture of tacit and explicit elements rather than being one or the other.

There is also distinction and talk of embedded knowledge. This way, one differentiates between knowledge embodied in people and that embedded in processes, organizational culture, routines, etc.

Explicit Knowledge

This type of knowledge is formalized and codified, and is sometimes referred to as know-what. It is therefore fairly easy to identify, store, and retrieve. This is the type of knowledge most easily handled by knowledge management systems (KMS), which are very effective at facilitating the storage, retrieval, and modification of documents and texts.

From a managerial perspective, the greatest challenge with explicit knowledge is similar to information. It involves ensuring that people have access to what they need; that important knowledge is stored; and that the knowledge is reviewed, updated, or discarded.

Tacit Knowledge (Embodied Knowledge)

It is sometimes referred to as know-how and refers to intuitive, hard to define knowledge that is largely experience based. Because of this, tacit knowledge is often context dependent and personal in nature. It is hard to communicate and deeply rooted in action, commitment, and involvement. Tacit knowledge is also regarded as being the most valuable source of knowledge, and the most likely to lead to breakthroughs in the organization. One can link the lack of focus on tacit knowledge directly to the reduced capability for innovation and sustained competitiveness.

This type of knowledge cannot be handled by knowledge management systems (KMS). Imagine trying to write an article that would accurately convey how one reads facial expressions. It should be quite apparent that it would be near impossible to convey our intuitive understanding gathered from years of experience and practice. Virtually all practitioners rely on this type of knowledge. An IT specialist for example will troubleshoot a problem based on his experience and intuition. It would be very difficult for him to codify his knowledge into a document that could convey his know-how to a beginner. This is one reason why experience in a particular field is so highly regarded in the job market.

Embedded Knowledge

Embedded knowledge is found in rules, processes, products, manuals, codes of conduct, ethics, culture, routines, artifacts, or structures. Knowledge is embedded either formally, such as through a management initiative to formalize a certain beneficial routine, or informally as the organization uses and applies the other two knowledge types. It is important to note, that while embedded knowledge can exist in explicit sources (i.e. a rule can be written in a manual), the knowledge itself is not explicit, i.e. it is not immediately apparent why doing something this way is beneficial to the organization.

The challenges in managing embedded knowledge vary considerably and will often differ from embodied tacit knowledge. Culture and routines can be both difficult to understand and hard to change. Formalized routines on the other hand may be easier to implement and management can actively try to embed the fruits of lessons learned directly into procedures, routines, and products.

IT can be used to help map organizational knowledge areas as a tool in reverse engineering of products (thus trying to uncover hidden embedded knowledge); or as a supporting mechanism for processes and cultures.

Due to the difficulty in effectively managing embedded knowledge, firms that succeed may enjoy a significant competitive advantage.

Successful knowledge management initiatives place a very strong emphasis on converting tacit and embedded knowledge into explicit knowledge. Documenting the knowledge that resides in employees' know-how and storing it in the central location where everybody can find it would greatly increase efficiency and productivity. It also would eliminate dependency on selected individuals who may not be available when needed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Using Enterprise Search

Enterprise search is used in a wide variety of applications and solutions. this means it has to be highly flexible, allwing you to tune it in multiple directions because what is important to one application may not be important to another.

Embedded Search

Search is becoming a common requirement for many applications. In some applications search is a critical aspect of the solution. For example, legal discovery applications (e-discovery) use embedded search technologies to search through a massive volume of
e-mails and documents to obtain critical evidence in a legal investigation. Other examples are in compliance monitoring, enterprise content management (ECM), e-mail archiving, supply chain systems, customer management, etc.

The unique requirement for embedded search are high flexibility, a small footprint, the ability to scale incrementally, and the ease of integration and use.

Intranet Search

Intranet search refers to searching sources of content internal to the enterprise such as shared file directories, e-mail systems, and internal web sites and wikis, and the case of newer search solutions, databases. Search technology is used for improving productivity or helping employees locate specific information they need as part of their daily jobs.

There is an infinite array of intranet implementations that are highly specialized, solving one problem or another in the enterprise, for example e-mail surveillance, privacy auditing, content management, etc.

The key requirements for intranet search are breadth and depth on handling various document formats, ease of integration with enterprise systems and information repositories, enhanced user interface (such as navigated search or facets), and a security model for handling user authorization based on enterprise credentials. Some of the more specialized intranet applications also require enhanced features such as entity extraction, document clustering, text mining, and high performance with horizontal scalability.

Web Portals

Search is an essential element of every consumer facing portal where fast and accurate access to information is the sole purpose of the application. Online catalogs for retailers, job searching sites, government portals, and commercial information portals for researchers, marketers, and business managers all use search technology to increase revenue and self service. The new revenue can come from either new customers paying subscriptions or keeping browsers around longer at a site that monetizes through online advertising.

The key requirement for web portals are an enhanced user interface (such as navigated search), the ability to easily manage and control search results with relevance tuning, high performance (sometimes with thousands of concurrent users), and incremental scalability with 24/7 availability.

Search in Analytics

Data mining applications are becoming a must have component in the corporate business intelligence (BI) stack. But not all business content is nicely organized in relational databases or even resides in enterprise systems. E-mails, free text fields in customer surveys, voice recordings from customer service centers, online news, and competitors' web sites all contain important information about the business. In these applications, enterprise search can be sued to bring together the content, extract concepts, perform sentiment analysis, or find new relationships in the data to improve data analysis.