DCIturned to IBM Business Partner Carefree Technologies for a document management solution that would centralize and streamline the process of document creation, filing, management, and retrieval. Carefree, in turn, recommended IBM Lotus Domino Document Manager to alleviate Discovery’s document management headaches.
Lotus Domino Document Manager is the most flexible document management product on the market because of its open application programming interface [API], and because it was designed for the Internet. To make it more efficient to provide employees with the data and applications they needed to function in the worldwide Discovery workplace, the company’s Technology and Media Services Group began evaluating portal solutions that would aggregate and personalize information, and make it accessible from a single Web site. No stranger to IBM, DCI had implemented IBM WebSphere.
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The company evaluated IBM’s portal offering, IBM WebSphere Portal, and compared it with the portal product of another leading vendor. The winning contender was IBM WebSphere Portal Extend, primarily because of its superior architecture. WebSphere Portal was exceptionally flexible in terms of the developer’s freedom to integrate other applications into it and build upon it. In addition, IBM has demonstrated the vision and the long-term commitment to portal development using both the Lotus and WebSphere product sets.
This reassured DCI that the product would be available for the long-term and allowed DCI to take advantage of DCI’s in-house IT skill sets. The purpose of DCI’s corporate portal is to act as the central gateway to news, information, and tools. Employees right away began to notice the difference in their efficiency and productivity. The WebSphere Portal and Lotus Domino Document Manager solutions proved to be a consolidating force within DCI’s organization, helping employees to make better decisions, faster. Lotus Domino Document Manager turned out to be a perfect solution for DCI’s document storage challenges.
It was extremely flexible to configure to DCI’s existing workflow, integrated well with their other systems, and now makes critical documents available globally to each user on their desktops. This solution has made a significant contribution to increasing DCI’s productivity. Currently, the portal helps employees track and manage the television production process by providing a portfolio of customized portlets Java technology-based components that process transactions and generate dynamic content. Through integration with Lotus Domino Document Manager, the portal allows employees to easily find the documents they need.
In addition, employees can utilize a portlet containing useful links to external Web sites and a news service from LexisNexis to keep abreast of the latest trends in the television industry. The portal provides the most up to date production agreement documents that employees can rely on. This is why WebSphere Portal facilitates integration with a tremendous range of legacy applications because it is based on open standards such as XML and Web services. Critical Thinking Answers: Knowledge is power, and many businesses are realizing that leveraging internal company knowledge is one way to gain an edge over the competition.
As a result, the implementation of knowledge management (KM) systems is growing in popularity. Knowledge inherent to business processes, often called corporate knowledge, is any information essential to the daily functions of an organization. Corporate knowledge can be found in company databases, management documents, history files, and inside the minds of employees. Often, pieces of corporate knowledge are dispersed throughout an organization in unconnected databases. Bringing these disparate sources together creates the KM system, which is designed to collect, organize, and process corporate knowledge into usable forms for all employees.
The term, knowledge management system, has been used as a new IT buzz phrase, although businesses have been tracking knowledge for decades. Corporate knowledge can be tracked by records kept in company ledger books or databases in individual departments. The obvious benefit of a KM system is that everyone in an organization has access to corporate knowledge. But there are other benefits, including being able to use a KM system to turn intangible corporate knowledge into actual business assets. For example, a system can capture how a manufacturing organization solves a problem and package the solution process into a comprehensive document.
Another organization can buy or license the document to solve similar problems, creating a revenue source for the first organization. Corporate knowledge can also be turned into an asset for consultancies; a KM system can capture techniques, processes, and presentation templates, which can be reapplied to future consulting assignments. Organizations providing outsourced project management can use a KM system as part of a sales presentation to prospective clients. The system can demonstrate what employees collectively know about a project and how they completed projects in the past.
The benefits of a knowledge management system can be substantial and worthwhile when all the keys are in place, where an efficient system can provide faster, more accurate communication of corporate policies and procedures to employees, faster problem solving within an organization, and give employees the information to make better decisions. 1. The most important steps in organizing the millions of documents in DCI’s systems were formulated utilizing the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) process.
This process applies to information system development projects ensuring that all functional and user requirements and agency strategic goals and objectives are met. The SDLC provides a structured and standardized process for all phases of any system development effort. These phases track the development of a system through several development stages from feasibility analysis, system planning and concept development; to acquisition and requirements definition; design; development; integration and testing; deployment and acceptance; through deployment and production; and finally to system retirement.
In general, an SDLC methodology follows the following steps to assist DCI’s organizational efforts: 1. Systems Investigation: Establishes a high level view of the intended project and determines its goals. The existing system is evaluated and deficiencies are identified. This can be done by interviewing users of the system and consulting with support personnel. 2. Systems Analysis: Refines project goals into defined functions and operation of the intended application. Analyzes end user information needs.
The new system requirements are defined. In particular, the deficiencies in the existing system must be addressed with specific proposals for improvement. 3. Systems design: Describes desired features and operations in detail, including screen layouts, business rules, process diagrams, and other documentation. The proposed system is designed. Plans are laid out concerning the physical construction, hardware, operating systems, programming, communications, and security issues. 4.
Systems Implementation: The real code is written here. The system or system modifications are installed and made operational in a production environment. This step is initiated after the system has been tested and accepted by the user. This phase continues until the system is operating in production in accordance with the defined user requirements. 5. Systems Integration and Testing: Brings all the pieces together into a special testing environment, then checks for errors, bugs and interoperability. The new system is developed.
The new components and programs must be obtained and installed. Users of the system must be trained in its use, and all aspects of performance must be tested. If necessary, adjustments must be made at this stage. 6. Systems Acceptance, Installation, Deployment: The final stage of initial development, where the software is put into production and runs actual business. The system is put into use and this can be done in various ways. The new system can be phased in, according to application or location, and the old system gradually replaced.
In some cases, it may be more cost effective to shut down the old system and implement the new system all at once. 7. Systems Maintenance and Review: What happens during the rest of the software’s life: changes, correction, additions, and moves to a different computing platform and more. This, the least glamorous and perhaps most important step of all, goes on seemingly forever. Once the new system is up and running for a while, it should be exhaustively evaluated. Maintenance must be kept up rigorously at all times. Users of the system should be kept up to date concerning the latest modifications and procedures, while continuing to meet DCI’s changing business needs.