"Knowledge management" (KM) still inspires many definitions, but most focus ultimately on how organizations can enable people to collaborate more effectively. After a generation of technology innovation devoted first to functional efficiency (such as accounts payable) and then to personal productivity, many organizations now realize that the next great leap in competitive advantage will be about using technology to facilitate collaboration. With progress in collaboration, organizations can move forward with all the "intangible" goals of KM, most notably retaining and enhancing intellectual property, and more effectively directing such assets toward achieving business objectives.
Which brings us to portals, and this Web Community: We are changing the content direction to focus primarily on portals, with KM becoming a key topic within that focus. This means that our goal will be to gather articles and links that address important issues in developing, managing, and delivering portals for use by employees, business partners, and customers.
To many observers, the portal has simply become a subset of a larger topic: integration. BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and other larger vendors active in the middleware integration area have naturally embraced portals and offer them as part of their solutions. Without question, portals will succeed or fail based on the quality of the underlying data, application, and process integration $#151; topics that dominate another of our Web Communities, IntelligentIntegration.
Human factors, however, mean that portals will always stand apart from the broader integration thrust. With portals, integration that makes sense for data, applications, or processes must ultimately deliver benefits to the individual and his or her collaboration with other individuals. The right information, in the right hands, at the right time will be determined by each user's role, workflow requirements, and other idiosyncrasies. We will focus on pulling together useful information to help you turn your infrastructure integration investment into a portal that produces a highly productive user environment.
Portals are going to play a huge role in enabling organizations to achieve "real-time" (or put perhaps more realistically, "right-time") enterprise goals. Data warehousing and business intelligence (BI), as they expand to serve tactical, event-driven decision-making by a wider range of users, will depend on the portal. Performance management objectives will also guide portal development to incorporate dashboards, scorecards, and other metrics and measurement devices. The quality of such information is often in the eye of the beholder: and therefore, we will gather content to help you employ advances in visualization and create excellent portals for BI and performance management.
KM remains the intellectual center, helping portal developers and managers understand the essential purposes of what they are trying to achieve for their fellow employees, partners, and customers. We look forward to bringing you thoughtful and timely articles from KM experts as they relate to portals, collaboration, and information visualization and presentation.
We will be publishing fresh content at IntelligentPortals, along with relevant material we've found at IntelligentEnterprise.com, CMP Media LLC's TechWeb.com, and other important sources. Please let us know if there's a topic you'd like us to research and cover and if you've come across sites that you believe would help your peers become more successful with portal implementations.
Best of luck in your bold endeavors,