KM tools put users in control

Two upstart software vendors are aiming to break ground in knowledge management (KM) by giving workgroups and end users more control of how information is gathered and shared.

Near-Time Inc. this week launched Flow, its peer-to-peer content management (CM) and KM software that allows users to access, manage, and repurpose content using a range of standards. Support for XML, HTML, RSS, Atom FTP, WebDAV, and SMTP allows Flow to target the full information lifecycle, said Reid Conrad, president and CEO of Near-Time.

This life cycle includes gathering, authoring, organizing and publishing content. “Through the (Flow) authoring environment, users can access the Internet, bring in RSS feeds, use contextual capabilities, and publish content as e-mail,” Conrad said. “Flow provides collaborative content and knowledge management at the client level.”

For example, Flow allows workgroups or individual users to repurpose a Weblog posting or a news feed for an internal project, or allows groups to collaborate on content to be published to the Internet. Flow’s peer-to-peer collaboration engine supports shared spaces so multiple users can edit, organize, and use the same content.

Also approaching KM from the user’s perspective, Learning Management Solutions this week introduced its company and its KnowledgeWorkshop software. The software allows users to create personally relevant associations and connections between information drawn from a variety of sources, including Web pages, e-mail, documents, PowerPoint slides, databases, and spreadsheets. These connections form an information map, called a knowledge base, that is packed down into a single XML file that can be e-mailed or exchange online, said Graham Glynn, CEO of Learning Management Solutions.

“A lot of enterprise KM systems are not working because the individual person is not invested in the effort. They need to have a personal payback to managing their own information,” Glynn said.

Giving end users ownership to content and knowledge is key, according to Glynn. To that end, KnowledgeWorkshop allows users to create their knowledge bases, organize them to their liking, and decide which parts are shared with others, he said.

KnowledgeWorkshop features integration with Microsoft Internet Explorer, multicolor highlighting capabilities for organizing Web pages, offline access, keyword indexing, search capabilities, and authentication management.

Giving end-users the ability to create personalized views into KM is a good idea, but only if it doesn’t create walls around an individual user’s expertise, said Carl Frappaolo, executive vice-president at Delphi Group.

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