Bair, James H.: The Knowledge Management Dimensions of Lotus Notes 5.0, 06.10. 1998.

THEMES: Bair, James H.
YEAR: 1998
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User: Anonymous


TIME: 1998
 
              October 06, 1998
              Advanced Technologies & Applications (ATA) (Document link not converted)
              Research Note
              Research Note
              J. Bair

              The Knowledge Management Dimensions of Lotus Notes 5.0

              Lotus has announced the industry's most-complete KM functionality
              in Notes v.5. Enhanced semantic, collaborative, visualization and
              scalability features could make Notes a KM leader, if performance
              and other issues are resolved.
              ___________________________________________________________________________
              ______
              Core Topic

              Electronic Workplace: Knowledge Management Technology and Architecture


              Key Issue
              What existing and emerging technologies will enable effective knowledge
              management?


              Strategic Planning Assumptions
              By 2000, Lotus Notes will have the industry's most-complete knowledge
              management functionality and will maintain leadership by continuing to add
              semantic, visual and collaborative functionality (0.8 probability).


              By 2000, the demand for real-time, explicit knowledge transfer will result
              in a return to interrupt-driven work as a cost of knowledge sharing (0.7
              probability).


              To support the activities of the knowledge management (KM) process -
              creation, capture, organization, access and use - KM technology (KMT)
              requires new functionality. This functionality has four dimensions:
              semantics, collaboration, visualization and scale. Products that do not
              perform in all four dimensions require companion products to fulfill KM
              requirements. To correct the shortcomings of the current version of Notes,
              Lotus has announced an architecture that presages leading functionality in
              all four dimensions (see Figure 1). Here, we provide a high-level review of
              the Lotus announcement and analysis based on early beta test feedback on
              Notes Domino 5.0.


              Figure 1
              Scope of KM Technologies

              (Embedded image moved to file: pic32731.pcx)
              Source: GartnerGroup


              Semantic Functionality: Lotus Notes and Domino have had a limited search
              tool that disqualified them as KMT offerings. The new Domino Extended
              Search will meet the fundamental requirement for searching all of an
              enterprise's information resources (see Note 1) and returning an
              integrated, relevance-ranked list. Based on text indices, it should perform
              as well as the basic competitive products (see Note 2).


              Note 1
              Domino Extended Search
              KM systems must match language in specific collections, as well as across
              the enterprise and the Internet. The Extended Search add-on product
              provides distributed, heterogeneous search across: Notes and non-Notes
              information repositories; Notes domains; relational database and text
              retrieval engines; and Internet search sites. It returns relevance-ranked
              results - based on a search of internal documents, external research and
              Internet sources - and uses a distributed index and double-byte words for
              foreign languages.


              Note 2
              Semantic Retrieval Competitors
              Dataware, Excalibur, Fulcrum and Verity provide basic, enterprise-wide
              search that compares to Domino Extended Search. However, since early 1997,
              they have been adding advanced semantic features (e.g., noun-phrase
              identification) that improve relevance performance for large, heterogeneous
              enterprise resources.


              Collaboration: Despite the shortcomings of recent versions, Notes is the
              most widely used product for KM, because of its fully scalable groupware.
              However, groupware alone is insufficient for KM, even with rich replication
              services and document management (Domino.doc). Additional collaborative
              functionality will provide expert identification and real-time interaction
              (see Note 3); however, collaborative filtering is not part of the
              announcement, although many customers add it from grapeVINE, a third party
              (see Note 4). This adds "push" to the sometimes laborious information
              "pull." Instead of focusing on this expanded capture and access, Lotus has
              emphasized real-time interaction for connecting "experts." This requires
              interruptions to share knowledge. By 2000, the demand for real-time,
              explicit knowledge transfer will result in a return to interrupt-driven
              work as a cost of knowledge sharing (0.7 probability). Although Lotus
              developed this functionality based on research, it does not address the
              shortcomings of groupware and only supports the "sharing" activities in the
              KM process.


              Note 3
              Real-Time Collaboration
              In May 1998, Lotus announced that it was acquiring real-time collaboration
              vendors DataBeam Corp. and Ubique Ltd. Lotus also announced its intention
              to combine the DataBeam Conference server and Ubique's VirtualPlaces server
              with the collaboration capabilities of Notes and Domino to form the
              Sametime product family. The Notes 5.0 client will include Ubique's
              CoWorker and DataBeam's FarSite Java and ActiveX components. Sametime will
              enable Notes clients and browser users to see who is online and "chat" with
              those users.


              Note 4
              Collaborative Filtering
              The grapeVINE product, an add-on to Lotus Notes and other groupware,
              provides collaborative filtering. This advanced functionality enables
              communities to match interest profiles, evaluate information "nuggets" and
              be alerted to items of interest.


              Visualization: Customers have used Notes to provide a visual map for
              "knowledge navigation" by exploiting the "views" capability; however, KM
              needs more than hierarchical displays of categories and labels.
              Visualization interfaces that display clusters of information objects are
              currently not announced for V5. Notes views tend to be too cumbersome for
              presenting users with a likeness of Yahoo (the knowledge map), and this is
              short of the animated visualization recommend for KM.


              Scale: Notes is a leader in providing wide-area access to a single
              groupware environment. Database access, replication and hyperlinks extend
              the groupware context. The new extended search feature provides access to
              distributed indices from outside Notes applications (see Note 5). Despite
              such issues as replication scheduling and compatibility among different
              indices, Lotus now matches competitors in search scale, and exceeds them in
              collaboration scale, due to its groupware functions.


              Note 5
              KM Scalability Top Requirement
              KM requires that users access all relevant knowledge on a need-to-know
              basis, rather than as prescribed by physical-access limits. Replication
              enables all users to share a common knowledge context - the threaded
              conversation.


              When Domino 5.0 ships in late 1998, it will be the first full-scale KMT
              offering. Competitive tools are limited to KR (because of the lack of
              collaboration functionality) or require an enterprise architectural
              framework (see Note 6). Notes will continue to be a complex environment
              supporting applications development and complementary functions, such as
              E-mail. Of the two main differences - extended search and real-time
              interaction - only the former will make Notes a true KMT offering.
              Application templates and frameworks may enhance vertical applications, but
              it is the value added to enterprise intranets that leverages intellectual
              assets. Old issues (e.g., heavyweight implementation, slow performance and
              a cumbersome interface) await resolution as the new system rolls out.
              Shortcomings in the KMT dimensions are being addressed, especially by
              exploiting IBM's research and development resources (e.g., IBM Knowledge
              Utility). By 2000, Lotus Notes will have the industry's most-complete KM
              functionality and will maintain leadership by continuing to add semantic,
              visual and collaborative functionality (0.8 probability).


              Note 6
              Knowledge Retrieval (KR)
              KR requires additional, advanced functionality, compared to information
              retrieval (IR), which has become a commodity. IR depends on semantic
              functionality to augment inverted indices, whereas KR requires the addition
              of collaborative and visualization functionality, but does not include
              groupware (e.g., threaded conversations).


              Bottom Line: Lotus has announced KMT functionality that gives it the
              potential to move into a leadership position. Notes users who need KM
              should plan to upgrade to Domino v.5 within a year; non-Notes users should
              ensure that implementation and performance issues have been overcome prior
              to purchase.






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