1 Making Data Pay Dividends: Real-time News meets Knowledge Management Introduction Current business strategies indicate that executives should pay more attention to information management, because the failure or success of every organization depends on how it leverages the value of its information. Organizations with dynamic vision have begun to use "real-time news delivery" as a key Knowledge Management tool. translated into the type of knowledge employees and management can use effectively. Business executives must develop and manage their information investments, and to do so they rely on technology to select and organize the data they will use to make critical decisions. Real-time news delivery gives the executive the proper context for compiling and organizing the information he or she will turn into valuable data for his or her organization - regardless of whether that information is business news, science news, technical news, or financial news. The goal of this briefing paper is to provide practical information to help executives understand the differences among several "current awareness" products designed to raw data into useful knowledge. On the surface, these awareness products often appear to have identical elements, so this paper will provide a comparative guide to news and information technology tools with a primary focus on Knowledge Management. The ranking of several information services by an independent consulting firm, Arnold Information Technology, compared technology tools that directly relate performance and functionality to success, and attaches relative values to a list of features and benefits of each tool. The resulting, in-depth study of Retrieval Technologies, Inc.'s News Machine, a document database system for storage and retrieval of real-time news, and its web interface 1st PageTM, offers insight into technologies which deliver competitive intelligence and Knowledge Management to organizations. The evaluation and analysis of Knowledge Management tools, like RTI's 1st PageTM web product, provides critical perspective for leveraging the value of information within both global business environments or specialized workgroups. Retrieval Technologies welcomes your comments on the information included in this document. For more information about Retrieval Technologies and their products, visit The Challenge to Management: Information to Knowledge Organizations want all of their personnel to benefit from the effective use of information. The following overview demonstrates how raw data becomes information before it is -1- Whether knowledge is viewed from an organizational or individual point of view, its effective use depends on filtering through masses of raw data to convert information into a tacit or focused knowledge. The challenge for management lies in deploying the systems which can execute the filtering process in such a way that the information which survives can be made immediately available throughout the organization. The filtering process applies equally to information in people's heads as it does to raw data gathered electronically or physically. As employees collaborate, they gather information which could be useful to their entire organizations. This information is also a critical part of Knowledge Management, which if done properly can prove to be the greatest single competitive advantage one organization has over another. To successfully integrate Knowledge Management into an organization, managers must consider these questions: * How does an organization implement real-time information technologies without costly infrastructure changes? * What are the support, training, and maintenance requirements for a real-time news and information service? * What are "real" Knowledge Management and collaborative features for real-time news and information? Before answering these questions, it is useful to explore the changes taking place in highly successful organizations where information is seen as a valuable asset.
2 The Fundamentals of Knowledge Management The meaning of the term "Knowledge Management" is hotly debated by business and academic leaders, from Ernst & Young to the Harvard Business School. Many businesses believe that "Knowledge Management" is achieved by accessing many sources of internal and external data. But raw data is not knowledge. And while filtered information is very valuable, what organizations really want is the added value of the knowledge and experience of employees, consultants and colleagues. This knowledge is truly valuable, and costly to recreate. Companies like 3M and Asea Brown Boveri have used information technology to unleash the expertise of their employees globally to increase revenues, develop new products, and increase market share.' In his book The Individualized Corporation, Christopher A. Bartlett records the importance of managing the knowledge implicit in an organization but embedded within the minds of its employees. Managing information is recognized as an essential and formidable business task. "Knowledge Management," when stripped of its media hyperbole, can be broken down into four main concerns: organizing, gathering, disseminating, and refining data. In other words, collecting data, making it readily available to employees, instantly sharing the insights with colleagues, and capturing qualitative data about the information. But because "knowledge" itself can be intangible -- locked up in people's heads -- specific actions must be taken to share insights, ideas, and thoughts. Example To cite one example, many professionals routinely tear or clip articles from trade publications, newspapers, or newsletters. The fact that a colleague clipped an article from the Wall Street Journal and used that bit of information to rethink a pricing issue is valuable. Consider the value of that clipping when it can be shared with other colleagues. The article then becomes a catalyst for opportunity. The sender's comment becomes the "nugget" of knowledge that moves beyond the confines of a single professional's daily routine. Consider how the use of "Knowledge Management" can erase the following Executive Myths: Executive Myth #1: Data is Information. A collection of documents in print or electronic form, or a pile of disks containing spreadsheets, is not information. At best, the raw data contains useful facts when someone or some process grinds through the collection. Low-cost or no-cost news feeds generate a large flow of data, but not always business-critical information. Search tools such as Netscape Communications and Yahoo provide little useful information unless the user is able to define his business interests in a single, generic keyword. Executive Myth #2. There is always enough time to sort through presumably all the useful data. The time required to scan, sift and make sense of raw data can be substantial, and the resulting "information" is not always that valuable. The first information routing products generated complaints that the number of documents sent to a person is too large or not relevant. Executive Myth #3. Sharing information is simple. Simple collaboration on a single document requires mechanical copying, or the use of several computer programs, and the typing of explanations. The effort required to share that information with colleagues is a formidable barrier to a person whose time is limited. Simple decisions in an office require instant action with no penalties. There is little or no penalty for deciding to have a Pepsi or a Coca-Cola. But the potential cost of making an incorrect choice in a complex, information-intensive and highrisk environment is substantially higher. The full title of this book is The Individuals Corporation: A Fundamentally New Approach to Management. Great Companies Are Defined by Purpose, Process, and People. The book is published by Harper Collins, New Tools for Knowledge Retrieval, Not Text Retrieval New software tools and services promise to solve "information overload" or to "make Knowledge Management a standard business process." But the integration of business -2- S30 -
3 information into an organization requires an assessment of how that information can be controlled. An organization should have the following concerns about information: * Relevancy. Many professionals do not have the time to search for material or to review irrelevant information. * Timeliness. Old information might have historic value, but decision-makers agree that current, accurate information is absolutely essential. The stakes are too high to base decisions on old information. * Easy delivery. Most computer users can figure out how to accomplish almost any task, but a mouse click or two should still be all it takes to forward an important news item to the right person. For organizations to keep information relevant, timely, and easy to disseminate they must embrace a new wave of technology. The Three Waves of Information Technology Handling real-time flows of electronic information has moved through three distinct waves of development. The time between wave crests is getting shorter: The next wave is about to crest. The First Wave The first wave of real-time news feeds proved effective, if somewhat unpolished. Two approaches moved content from one person to another or from a centralized system to various recipients: Early online services offered customers a menu of sources that could be screened either by keywords like IBM or a general topic area like Education. The behind-the-scenes functions were set up by experts who programmed the computers to perform these functions. Customers submitted requests to an intermediary. The intermediary, in turn, translated the request to the programmer who set up the system. First-wave services were limited to a select clientele. Costs were high because programmers had to set up each "profile" Changes were time-consuming because a chain of different specialists were required to make a change, regardless of the complexity of the change. Despite the limitations, real-time services whet customers' appetites for more intelligent information distribution. The Second Wave Second wave technologies allowed end users to set up their own profiles. Placing these controls in the hands of the customer expanded the market for real-time information products. About 300 of the Fortune virtually all investment banks and brokerage businesses, and most of the major -3- consulting firms - have tried some type of real-time information service in this category. The Second wave expansion of information delivery included: * Costly infrastructure and lengthy implementation procedures for proprietary desktop applications. * Lack of customer support, training, and management tools needed to handle the problems created by a large amount of documents being sent to desktop computers with limited capacity. * Costly per-document pricing schemes which made service to worldwide organizations impractical. * Weak or inadequate accounting and administrative services to ensure that copyright, license, and reuse stipulations were enforced. Second wave services represented a substantial jump over the first wave services. Even today second wave services suffer from accepted weaknesses, An example of this is the Pointcast "screen saver" model of putting news on a computer user's desktop. Pointcast -- or Microsoft's Active Desktop as well -- can easily swamp the bandwidth or storage capacity of desktop systems..-,^?: Second wave filtering services such as NewsEDGE (Desktop and Individual) primarily use a Windows-based client-server architecture which reduces bandwidth, but creates a deployment strategy that requires every desktop to be individually loaded with an application. These developments started the popular wave of real-time news and high-value content. The Third Wave The primary company in this new crest of information delivery is Retrieval Technologies, Inc. The acknowledged leader in the field, RTI combines advanced filtering services, collaboration tools, Knowledge Management features, and state-of-the-art interfaces to simplify even the most complex information task. Third-wave services have these characteristics: Gathering * Search: The capability to query content based on text and metadata. The search interface needs to be adaptable to different skill levels of users. Searching is as simple as point & click or as sophisticated as Boolean. * Other data: Integrating internal company information with other content. * Pull: The ability to retrieve or receive content from the Internet and World Wide Web. 303
4 Organizing * Services: Content stratification allows organizations to deliver different content packages to different groups with multiple services using one system. * Aggregating: Collecting multiple newswires and other information to be searched by a single system. * Indexing: Allowing users to add keywords to automatically tag stories of interest. Refining * Annotating: Users can annotate articles for self-reference or for sharing with others. Value-added information can be added to the content of a particular article or news item. * Editing: Providing a mechanism to edit a story and redistribute it on a system. * Voting: Creating opportunities to implicitly and explicitly vote on stories. Dissemination * Push: Giving users the choice of automatically receiving ed stories of predetermined interest. * Alert: Having audio or visual stimulus to make users aware of breaking news stories. * Collaborating: Allowing colleagues to simultaneously share and view specific documents. Other important characteristics of Third wave services include: * Easy-to-use, point-and-click "forms" using standard web browsers. This facilitates tuning, changing, controlling content flows, user features and appearance. The architecture is open, modular, scalable, and distributive. * A system that provides an Expert Locator feature which lets the user find colleagues who have valuable knowledge about topics of interest. in Third Wave systems. What does "intelligence" mean? It is not just the duplication of human reasoning. Innovations in administrative tools that require no programming are now relatively common. Security functions administered from a graphical console are integrated. Engineering architecture allows systems to be searchable and distributed. "Intelligence" also extends to a design that "remembers" what a particular individual requires and delivers it in the manner in which they want the information. Furthermore, Third Wave service allows the individual to add value to the information. The Reality of Real-Time News While dozens of real-time news sources are available, current innovations and advancements will compel corporations to identify and call for their increased implementation. The advent of the "push" model has been successful in popularizing electronic news via the Internet connection. Pointcast's idea is to send stories on a topic of interest to a user in a screen saver format. Microsoft has taken the "push" model and extended it to its Active Desktop. Users can select "channels" of content - including News - that can be accessed by Internet Explorer 4.x users. Another interesting twist to news delivery is the concept of custom pages on Internet search services. Crayon, Excite, InfoSeek, Lycos, MSNBC, and Yahoo offer this service. A visitor to the site selects a category or keyword. Each day a personal "Web page" is created for the user. The object of these services remains traffic generation to the site with advertising. The site has entertainment value, not news value per se. A selected list of"real-time" news services follow, based on four categories: * Free Internet services * Internet pages with user defined standing profiles * Internet pages offering news in pre-defined categories * Commercial enterprise services. The categories above appears in the table below: Third Wave Services are providing data capture about Today's articles The principal difference in information services between the Second Wave and the Third Wave is the built-in intelligence Category Company Product Comments ~~~~~~~~~Comet Free Internet services icrosoft Corp. Start's Channel Definition Format services -4- Public debut set for late 1998 I 301
5 I Pointcast Corp. IBusiness Network Screen-saver model with user-selectable "channels" Category Company Product Comments Internet pages with user defined standing profiles ClariNet ClariAlert Original Internet news service offered to individuals and Inter net Service Providers Individual Heads Up and News Page Now NewsEDGE. Categories are added manually each day. Netscape n box Direct Users register. News delivered by electronic mail. News Alert News Alert Advertising supported news; some for-fee services available Internet pages offering news in pre-defined categories Dow Jones & Co. Dow Jones Interactive Paid subscribers; institutional services available through selected "partners" New York Times Co. ew York Times on the Free in the U.S. Subscription model likely. Exclusive on-line Web delivery via Lexis Nexis for enterprise service. nquisit "Inquisit" previously Flat fee service. Available to individuals and small companies. called Farcast Commercial Enterprise Services -'"* NewsEDGE News EDGE First! Enterprise service with keyword matching for users' topics. Dow Jones & Co. Dow Vision Ral time updates for Dow Jones's publications and additions to the Dow Jones's collection from other publishers. Keyword searching and profiles offered. The Dialog Corp. Profound Web access to commercial databases; includes numerous news services, full text newspapers, etc. Documents can be viewed in Adobe Portable Document Format technology. Retrieval Technologies, News Machine 1st Page Intelligent real-time news service. Supports profiles, categories, and key word searches, using Knowledge Management with Collaborative features. euters usiness Briefing: Fixed price service. Text-based news available without charge via eadline, Target, Select, Yahoo and other Web partners. Financial data re quires special earch agreement and hardware. WavePhore ewscast previously called eal time news in a browser-based model. Niche-oriented. aracel Today How does one select a service? The starting point, of course, is that an organization wants to provide a source of relevant, real-time news and information to its professionals. The need for high-quality information delivered in real-time is usually an easy decision, but the real choice is, "What service? What approach?" Selecting the wrong system of real-time news delivery can result in five very difficult situations: 1. The Flood Problem. The selected service generates too much information. The data floods the network, creating local storage problems, and then is later often ignored. In this case, the idea of news delivery is very different from the reality of the service. (Pointcast) 2. The Irrelevant Problem. The selected service meters the flow of material directly or indirectly. Users get a number of news items on the established cycle. However, the articles may not be specific to the user's interests and needs. The result is that the service is described as "entertainment" and a "waste of time." (Lycos) 3. The Control Problem. Changes - no matter how trivial - defy the busy user. System administration struggles to manage profiles, copyright, and licensed usage. The organization discovers that real-time news isn't real-time. (Individual, Inc. now NewsEDGE) 4. The Missing Story Problem. The selected service is limited and cannot incorporate other sources. Stories not -5-30D
6 covered by a single source are technically missing and unavailable to that service. (DowVision) 5. The Cost Problem. The service works, but at a price. Additional hardware and software has to be added to accommodate the service. Additional network and desktop capacity is required to handle the usage of the service. Even more troublesome, accounting personnel have no good tools to manage the real-time news services to ensure that invoices are accurate and in-line with budgets. When costs soar, usage is curtailed and some users eliminated. (Lexis/Nexis) These examples seem to recognize that real-time news is desired -- it is the delivery mechanism and implementation that defines the value of the separate services. Evaluation Criteria What makes an effective news service? Criteria suggestions developed by Arnold Information Technology appear in the Appendix. Since interest in Third Wave technologies is peaking, these criteria were used to evaluate product from Retrieval Technologies, Inc. RTI has developed a suite of real-time information services branded as News Machine and 1st PageTM, and these products are distinguished from competitors based on the following facts: 1. News Machine technology was designed and engineered to be a modular, open, and distributed solution. As a result, new innovations are immediately embraced by RTI technology no matter the operating environment. In the language of computing, RTI's technology is known as scalable and flexible. 2. News Machine technology has been designed so that impact on a customer's network is minimized. A zero administration goal means no arduous tasks await the system administrator at a client site. Virtually no training, special support or ad hoc instruction is required to install, modify, deploy, or extend the service. Designed as an enterprise product, large-scale implementation is quick and easy utilizing standard web browsers. 3. News Machine has built source- and user-usage tracking, and other administrative, security, and accounting functions are also included in the architecture. License compliance is ensured from start-up s Page provides easy-to-use, point-and-click "guides" to help searching and "forms" to facilitate tuning, changing, and controlling content flows, user features and appearance. 5. 1st Page uses collaborative features allowing simultaneous sharing and viewing of documents by multiple users. 6. News Machine allows organizations to deliver different content packages to different groups using one system. 7. 1st Page can create searching 'guides' that are based either on sophisticated searches or upon the users' terms of interest. 8. Searching using the RTI model is adaptable to the different skill levels of the users. Searching ranges from a simple mouse-click to the sophisticated Boolean. 9. Comments or Notes can be attached to a particular article or news item for reference, or for sharing with others later. This adds value to information. 10. RTI can integrate information produced by an organization's staff and advisors or by an unlimited number of outside sources st Page records implicit and explicit information about articles, allowing readers to rank a document's value or to have an article determine its own ranking relative to the use of other articles. 12. Using captured data, the RTI system allows users to locate experts on topics based on viewed articles. How does a system manager determine if RTI's Third wave technology can mesh with the organization's Knowledge Management initiatives, network infrastructure, and customer content needs? The following table arrays several of the real-time news services and compares them to each other based on the following criteria: Companies are rated on a scale of 1 to 3 with one being the lowest score (acceptable) and three being the highest score (excellent).
7 Filtering functions Keyword and phrase matching eyword, text, relevance, Natural language converted to Duplicate stories sometime roximity, stock symbol, Boolean ncluded oolean, advanced guide, Duplicates are included imilarity and quorum uplicates are not shown but marked as available Criteria NewsEDGE Retrieval Technologies WavePhore Desktop Data News Machine 1 ' " Page NewsCast System infrastructure lients' network must be enhanced; requires system News Machine handles all Runs on clients' intranet; services; no appreciable network bandwidth must be managed administrator; windows based impact; intranet based product he system can be hosted at RTI or at the customer site Indexing and value- added Some tagging applied by human Use of information producers' Some automatic key wording; etadata indexers ags; additional tags (metadata) information producer supplied created for each story tags used for financial in automatically and on the fly; formation; system uses these for building special content collections ricin Enterprise pricing perceived as Per seat prices in-line with other Prices in line with other 'high" by clients premium services; special remium services enterprise site license pricing offered 1 l 2 2 Accounting & administration G ood but limited tools Comprehensive tools Minimal tools ecurity Security tools for individual Comprehensive security tools; Security tools for individual access enterprise, workgroup, and ccess individual ources Good; multiple aggregators and Quality name brands like Dow Most content comes from some primary publishers, limited Jones, Reuters, Financial Times aggregators to 32 news feeds and numerous customized ndustry content packages. Unlimited news feeds and the ability to integrate in-house data Ease of use Good ery good Very good Integration functions epends upon clients' network Extensive user and enterprise Good integration; browser environment customization of browser model odel Interface andpresentation Very good Very good Very good design Collaborative/techniques N/A.Folders, , exporting, N/A. haring searches Knowledge Management N/A. User-added notes, comments, N/A. features accounting, voting and expert locator
8 The independent consulting firm identified the News Machines as significantly ahead of its competitors when the study was conducted in 1998, as shown above. RTI showed strong performance in the following ways: Collaboration Users can create folders to store individual articles of interest. More importantly, a user - with authorization - can choose to share folders of documents. A particular document can be routed to an individual or a group of people. Users can share articles and profiles. Annotations can be added to documents. The collaboration functions of News Machine and 1st PageTM are extremely flexible yet still easily controlled so that licensing and copyright concerns are automatically enforced. 1st Page allows a wide range of integration with other collaboration and workgroup products. Filtering The News Machines and 1st PageTM retrieval technologies provide easy-to-use or sophisticated techniques to query documents. Symbol - Searches for information on a company based on its stock symbol. Type the stock symbol into the dialog box, then click on the search button. Real-time stock prices can also be generated using this search technique. Text - This full-text search queries all of the articles in the database for instances of the specified word or words. Keyword - Finds keywords that have been assigned to an article by the information provider or 1st Page. At the bottom of each article is a details icon where you can find keywords that the wire service has chosen to assign to the article. Source - Searches for news provided by a specific press outlet such as Associated Press. If you wished to see only stories released by Associated Press, you would enter AP into the source code dialog box. 1 st Page provides a reference list of sources. Boolean - Allows you to combine terms or eliminate them for more precision by using operators like AND, OR, and WITHOUT (NOT). This is a sophisticated search technique. Relevancy or Fuzzy - Searches for up to five terms or concepts that you rank in terms of relevance. The search is an OR search; it will locate all documents which contain any of the specified search terms. Power - A menu-driven Boolean search allowing you to use multiple search techniques for several terms or concepts. If you wish to perform a symbol search, or change the Boolean Operator, there is a drop-down list to the left of each Search Component. Similarity or Query By Example - Takes a current article or multiple documents and finds others similar to them by using the attached metadata. Quorum - Allows users the ability to select multiple queries and combine them into a single search. Guides - "Topics" that are saved searches created to be representative of an industry, market, region or sources broken down by sources or groups of sources. Advanced Guide - Allows users the ability to select multiple Topics across one or more Guides and combine them into a single Profile using the searches developed for each Topic. Indexing Users may add their own keywords to articles. RTI adds value-added indexing elements, including classification and category information. Any indexing terms provided by the information provider are used by the system. When these features are aggregated, not only can a user locate a story by concept, business discipline, or keyword, but when reviewing a document the user can add index terms or phraseology particular to a company or a specific technical discipline. This means that users of the service can locate documents using the vocabulary with which they are accustomed. These indexing terms are most often used to create a 'custom' guide of profiles for an organization. 3D/
9 Blending Third-Party and Client Content The News Machines provides the tools necessary to blend information from the real-time feeds offered by Retrieval Technologies and other sources of information. Documents are automatically indexed and assigned metatags in real-time before they are merged with the archive of real-time and other information. The result is that a document on 1 st PageTM can be delivered to the person or persons who need access to a particular unit of information. Special profiles can be set-up for retrieving documents, or these documents can be included with the high-value documents from an unlimited number of third-party sources. Outlook "The right information at the right time is nine-tenths of any battle."-napoleon The questions posed at the outset of this paper can now be resolved. The RTI News Machine and 1st PageTM technology will be used below as the yardstick against which to measure alternatives. How does an organization implement real-time information technologies without costly infrastructure changes? Integration is best accomplished when the provider of real-time news has a "plug and play solution." This means that the addition of a high-value service like real-time news becomes an "information appliance." The provider can choose to have the entire system hosted or part of the system hosted, or the client may choose to install the necessary server hardware/software and link the news system to the client's web browser. It works right out of the box. No additional work is placed upon the system administrator. More importantly, it works with the client's present network, so no infrastructure changes are necessary. What are the support, training, and maintenance requirements for a real-time news service? The Internet has made the browser interface the defacto standard for desktop computing regardless of infrastructure. The plug-and-play solution for administrators eliminates complex network set-up. With the built-in help and reference guides, virtually no training is required for anyone. Still, training programs are available. What are "real" Knowledge Management and collaborative features for real-time news and information? The business problem that knowledge management is designed to solve is that knowledge acquired through experience isn't formally shared and is therefore often wasted, or at least not effectively re-used. Being able to locate experts, share annotated documents, and vote on their relevance, both implicitly and explicitly, becomes critical to data sharing. Going beyond simple keyword searches -- such as needed Boolean searches or tracking original metadata tags - is critically important, and must be easy to do. In summary, it is obvious that successful organizations recognize the value of the highest quality news being delivered in a method to maximize its usefulness. Retrieval Technologies, Inc. has engineered a real-time news solution that can increase an organization's responsiveness, enhance its decision-making, and bolster the knowledge assets of an organization. About Arnold Information Technologies. Arnold Information Technologies (AIT) specializes in technology assessment and information engineering. Since 991, AIT has provided services focused on electronic publishing and database technology to a broad spectrum of organizations. AIT provides a comprehensive resource for financial, technical, and product development. The firm has completed more than 50 major projects in Japan, England, France, the Netherlands and the United States. AIT has principal offices are located in Harrod's Creek Kentucky, with offices in New York, New York, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and San Carlos, California. About Retrieval Technologies, Inc. For nearly a decade, Retrieval Technologies, Inc. has been creating information products that integrate seamlessly in to today's working environments. RTI has its real-time news products installed worldwide. For more information about Retrieval Technologies, Inc., visit our Web site at call or write: Retrieval Technologies, Inc Westpark Drive, Suite T305 McLean, Virginia C'VY