Knowledge management tool comes socially enabled

Toronto-based Panorama Software Ltd. is taking a social approach to knowledge management with a new technology that it’s calling “socially enabled business intelligence” that uses popular social networking paradigms.

The software, Panorama Necto, manages knowledge scattered across the enterprise by identifying relationships between workers based on projects and skills. The “intelligence engine” then suggests other enterprise users of relevance to a task at hand and, over time, will record and organize work linked to that relationship for easier future retrieval.

The system “understands all those connections,” explained Eynav Azarya, Panorama’s CEO. “The value for business is huge.”

When a report is to be created about a customer, for instance, different users across the enterprise with a connection to that customer will find out about each other through this socially enabled approach to knowledge management. They’ll then be able to share information they each house.

Warren Shiau, director of research with Toronto-based research firm Leger Marketing Inc., said the premise behind Panorama Necto is that it elevates the value of business intelligence by exposing it to a broader audience of users, while increasing the sharing, interaction and collaboration capabilities of the users it’s exposed to.
Shiau thinks Panorama Necto is definitely worth watching to see how much of this approach takes off in the business. “This whole idea of who you’re connected to and who your followers are, why can’t you apply that to business information?” said Shiau.

The integration of social media with business intelligence takes things to a different level, said Shiau, “especially when we’re talking about things like tracking individual user’s activities or interests with the objective of connecting people with similar business goals and BI requirements.”

Azarya noted that, currently, the process through which everyday transactions are fed through a business is quite similar considering enterprise resource systems are commonplace. But, he added, quickly amassing the required information for a report and assembling a meeting of the appropriate decision-makers is where the competitive differentiation lies.

Moreover, Panorama Necto, according to Azarya, moves away from the traditional form of high-level collaboration where enterprise users toil at the level of the portal or dashboard and attempt to derive some business intelligence from too broad a set of data.

“Think of how much data is being aggregated on one KPI? How can I collaborate on a dashboard?” said Azarya.

Rather, Panorama’s technology lets users collaborate on a specific data point, he said.

While Shiau recognizes the ability to drill down and collaborate closer to the individual data sets, it’s not what really stands out for him. “There is that granular aspect to it,” said Shiau. “I don’t know if that stuck out to me as much as the application of this whole model. I think it’s interesting.”

And, while the ultimate goal of most business intelligence initiatives is to be all-encompassing and enterprise-wide, Azarya doesn’t believe in a perfect world. Even a software like Panorama Necto should be first introduced at the department or project level, otherwise the pre-work to prepare all users and data can often be too a great a hurdle for most enterprises, he said.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau


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