New England Area Chapter Newsletter

Vol. 1 No. 1

 

 

 

 

May 2003

 

Table of Contents:

Ø      Chapter Startup

Ø      Chapter Leaders Needed

Ø      Events Summaries

Ø      About (People)

Ø      Certification Programs

Chapter Startup

Like many professional associations, KMPro roots are based on the desire for workers in a particular discipline to come together for educational and collegial gatherings that further their common professional interests. KMPro and KIMPS were two such organizations, the first addressed an educational need through a certification program offering initially to government agencies in the greater Washington, D.C. area, and the second was a more formal international association of knowledge management professionals, also in DC KIMPS had established the Knowledge Management Certification Board (KMCB), an independent nonprofit organization, whose mission is to set professional standards for the certification of KM professionals worldwide. In August, 2002, the two groups merged to form The Knowledge and Innovation Management Professional Society, KMPro. The KMCB standards organization continues as an independent entity. KMPro is based in Washington, DC; more information is available on www.kmpro.org.

 

In late 2002, while searching for professionals associations in the KM field, Lynda Moulton discovered KMPro and inquired about a New England Chapter. The inquiry resulted in the invitation by Eric Weidner, KMPro Director of Marketing, to help launch a Chapter in this area. Lynda agreed to sign on as Regional Director, a volunteer position, to explore interest in an association focused on Knowledge Management in NE. With the names of about 100 interested people from headquarters, Lynda contacted the list via e-mail, and set an organizing meeting for February. The meeting enabled a group of about 20 to express their ideas about programs and eight attendees came forward to form a Program Committee.

 

A special thank you to those who have made an early contribution to getting this Chapter underway. See the About section following for a list of active participants in the New England Chapter.

 

Meanwhile, Lynda identified another group in the greater-Boston area, Boston KM Forum, a three-year old group that meets monthly in Needham, MA. KM Forum Founder Seth Earley and President Larry Chait were receptive to working collaboratively on programs. We adopted a model for joint programming and exchanging meeting announcements, and since our February launch, we have held three meetings. If you haven’t been able to join us yet, see Chapter Events for meeting summaries.

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Chapter Leaders Needed

We now have a Chapter list of about 120, and growing. A Charter is being developed and we are ready for officers and a formal program committee to find topics and speakers. A program structure is in place and logistical procedures are documented to facilitate planning and execution of program. We are also exploring one or more academic institutional relationships that will include course opportunities in knowledge management as well as meeting venues.

 

If you have an interest in contributing on a regular basis on the Chapter Leadership Team for at least a year’s commitment, please call Lynda Moulton at 978-456-6945. From the Team the following positions will be assigned.

 

President

VP, Finance

VP, Events & Programming

Director, Membership

Director, Chapter Learning

Director of Communications & Promotion

Director, Program Logistics

Web Site Architect

We are also seeking leaders for different areas in and around New England for informal early morning or late afternoon Knowledge Topic discussions.

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Chapter Events

Knowledge Management Reaps Benefits from IT Innovations in Big Pharma, April 24, 2003, Joint Meeting of Boston KM Forum and KMPro, New England Chapter Held at Bentley College, Waltham, MA, Summary Report

 

This was the first program meeting resulting from the collaboration of Boston KM Forum, and the emerging New England Chapter of KMPro. With 39 attendees and contributors, this program provided all attendees with two substantive case studies of knowledge-based solutions used in international pharmaceutical companies. Evaluation forms gave high marks for all aspects of the program, good suggestions for future programs, and a couple of helpful comments on logistical improvements. With comments like this, I have been to multi-day conferences that didn’t offer as much value for 20X the price, from one attendee, we declare the meeting a success and a good starting point for the growth of the knowledge management collegial community in New England.

Meeting Synopsis

After introductory remarks from Larry Chait President of Boston KM Forum and Lynda Moulton, Director of KMPro, New England who then introduced Dr. Harvey Wiener of Bristol-Myers Squibb, the meeting was underway. Dr. Wiener, Assoc. Dir. of Knowledge Integration Resources (KIR), leads the Knowledge Desktop Program that established a strong presence in BMS since its origins in 1998. BMS background information reflects the challenges of the pharmaceutical industry in general, planning for drug expirations and maintaining a pipeline of R & D to develop replacements, plus managing the process of developing and screening thousands of compounds to produce one approved drug at a cost of more than $800M over 12-15 years. The Desktop Team evolved to support groups that “franchise” them to launch a Knowledge Desktop anywhere in the 44,000+-employee organization.

 

From its beginnings when Dr. Wiener (a biochemist) and Dr. Sterzycki (an organic chemist) found synergy while working on common problems in infectious disease drug discovery, a brand, Knowledge Desktop (KD), was established. It was built from a collaborative model for sharing data and data resources. They worked to improve communication, break down silos of data, and streamline data management with a goal of advancing novel compounds into clinical development.

 

These two collaborators tackled problems such as diverse information storage methods and hardware, which complicated retrieval, caused awkward data transformation and transfer, poor security, and placed too much burden on individual users. After starting in exploratory Drug Discovery the “franchise” expanded into all disease and functional areas where over 275 KDs were launched with the support of KIR. These KDs are in all major Pharmaceutical Research Institute locations of BMS in the USA and global interest is increasing, as well.

 

Moving from largely Macintosh to UNIX to Documentum platforms for managing content, the interface is now supported by Plumtree Portal editions of the Knowledge Desktop. A KD supports collaborative authoring of documents, version control, simplified content management, Metadata standardization, and retrieval with levels of security. A view of one desktop includes areas on the interface for Program lists, Universal Links, Common Quick Links, a Customizable Banner Region, Dynamic What’s New area, and a Search Feature that supports navigating and opening documents in the Documentum repository.

 

KIR has expanded its service of building and launching into a full-blown consulting service offering: community leader coaching, development of an online environment for groups that “hire” them, content manager and community member training, and enterprise profiling for the community. They work on providing each team or community with a desktop that reflects the “team’s business practice.” They also support the growth and development of a “Content Managers’ Community of Practice from the various KD teams, which numbers over 200 content managers who meet semiannually. During the talk and later during the Q&A session, Wiener also stressed that by beginning with a project limited in scope to one disease area, they were able to refine the model and have been able to adapt it more successfully with a succession of groups, than if it had been launched enterprise-wide.

 

By leveraging critical resources, using existing BMS technologies, and promoting BMS goals and priorities, KIR was able to demonstrate that they can achieve user acceptance, save critical time in locating information, promote continuous feedback and earn the respect of the online communities in BMS. These communities continue to be built around the KDs and have elicited such commendations as: “I rely on it each and every day … I cannot imagine running this program without it” and “… major advance in our ability to capture and share knowledge.” PDF of Dr. Wiener's PowerPoint Presenation.

 

 

Two vendors who have been active in the KMPro Chapter supported the program, SemanTX a Jarg corporation of Waltham, Mass. and Invention Machine of Boston, Mass. SemanTX was a sponsor of the meeting and gave a brief introduction to its Semantic Knowledge Indexing Platform (SKIP) immediately before the break. Moulton also acknowledged the support of Invention Machine, which provided the projection equipment for the meeting. We also benefited from the support of Bentley College’s Graduate Business program, which helped host our use of the facilities. Without support from organizations like these, the chapter would be pressed to hold such content-rich programs at a reasonable cost to attendees.

 

Seth Earley, founder of Boston KM Forum, introduced the next speaker, Mark Gordon, Managing Partner of Knowledge Resource Group in Indianapolis. Mr. Gordon has an ongoing engagement with a multinational pharmaceutical company and has completed engagements with other pharmaceuticals in recent years. The thrust of his morning talk was to define the evolution of a solution to the problem of finding good candidate compounds in pipeline databases that a drug firm might in-license or acquire for further development. These compounds might fill a niche in the company’s offerings or aid development of a drug in a disease area where the company is expanding.

 

Identifying, evaluating, and managing the financial and business aspects of adopting a new compound requires the management of thousands of information resources through the collaboration of large licensing groups of members with extremely diverse functional responsibilities. Identifying compounds and evaluating them is largely a job for scientists who are guided by business managers setting strategic goals. Among the members of the group, thousands of documents and communications must be sifted and exchanged with commentary and recommendations.

 

The resulting repository of content to be evaluated requires technology with design usability that will support scientists, as well as financial analysts, lawyers, and business executives.

 

Mr. Gordon shared with us how knowledge management practices are applied to licensing groups, the challenges of sharing knowledge, and how mapping knowledge helps the process. Beginning with a list of information gathering tasks, he gave us a sense of the quantities of types of documents that must be evaluated and the potential chaos of communicating evaluations among group members with dissimilar expertise and roles.

 

Illustrating the growing importance of in-licensing (buying or forming alliances to use others compounds), Mr. Gordon cited that in 2000 35% of all drugs were externally derived, and by the end of 2003, 50% of all pharmaceutical revenues will come from licensed products. Consider as well that an investment of $n in Research will typically result in $n X 2 in Revenue, while an investment of $n in Licensing will result in $n X 20 in Revenue.

 

However, the value of licensing can be improved dramatically by making the process of knowledge sharing more efficient, faster, less prone to loss or inaccessible expert input, and by having security. This can be achieved through current technologies applied to produce the design of an appropriate interface for all members of the team; the application guides and enhances the process of knowledge sharing. Among the key objectives of this Opportunity Management System are: to be the central source for information gathered, supporting iterative requirements gathering, being easily deployed and supported, integrating easily with e-mail, enhancing collaborative opportunities among a members with different roles, supporting easy retrieval of documents, providing multiple data visualization formats, providing excellent distribution of new information and recall of past decision documents.

 

In summary, Gordon emphasized that the process addressed by an opportunity management system of this type was about doing the right business deals by making the right decisions. To do that a system must manage all phases of the process: finding opportunities, analyzing them, negotiating the deals, and managing any resulting alliances.

 

In addition to the two presentations, we continued for another 45 minutes with questions for the speakers and had to leave many questions unanswered due to time constraints. However, the Q & A was almost as content rich as the talks themselves and we easily could have spent a day on the topics.

 

Following lunch, which gave attendees an opportunity to network, Seth Earley of Earley & Associates led us through a tutorial on the process of creating a knowledge map for an organization. Mr. Earley has been an expert consultant and graduate instructor for over twenty years in various aspects of KM. His overview of mapping strategies was designed to focus on what needs to happen before launching any KM oriented project such as the Knowledge Desktop at BMS or the Opportunity Management System.

 

To clarify the business problem to be solved, Mr. Earley stressed the need to set collaboration as a goal and couch knowledge mapping in the appropriate context. He stressed that without context mapping flows, selecting infrastructure technologies and managing content is meaningless. An outline of the mapping process related to the specific case of opportunity management in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

This contextual outline was followed by examples of information gathering through questions that might be asked of users and about the information resources needed in the contextual knowledge universe of the organization. Typical of user questions might be: What are the questions that you ask or answer over and over? or Where do you go for the answers to these questions? Questions about resources could include: What knowledge is needed to perform a target function? Where are the sources that individuals use?

 

Once the content audit is fleshed out, the flow of information must be analyzed and mapped in a way that reflects how communities of knowledge workers interact with each other around the content. Finally, the tools and technologies to improve and manage these flows can be designed and built, or selected and adapted.

 

Mr. Earley’s presentation segued to Mark Gordon’s detailed demonstration of a generic Opportunity Management System, one that was derived from mapping numerous such activities in the pharmaceutical industry. This deep-dive into the workings of a specific application was for the benefit of attendees from the pharma industry. However, the concept is applicable to any business process that needs to capture and evaluate large volumes of documents for any business activity.

 

Don’t let this meeting synopsis lull you into thinking that you can learn in a few paragraphs what you need to know about how companies actually implement KM. You would have to have been there to get the full story because there was much more of value to learn from these three experts. I believe I speak for all meeting participants in commending the speakers for superb content of high value. They have set the bar high for future programs and we will aim to meet the challenge at the next meetings of Boston KM Forum and KMPro, New England. Look for an announcement soon about an early summer program.

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KM Breakfast Topics

On March 14 KMPro launched the first of its Breakfast Topics meetings at Rebecca’s Café in New England Business Park, Burlington. The meeting Leader was Allan Lewis of Sungard Insurance Services in Natick who introduced the group to an inexpensive tool, TextPipe Pro, that he has been using to manipulate text for a variety of data conversion and normalization operations. Allan has been actively working within Sungard to foster good KM practices including data, program code, and knowledge sharing. Because they have a large quantity of various types of code to manage in the organization, they are frequently faced with the need to mine the files for types of hard coded values in thousands of programs, in which there is substantial inconsistency. They also need to make multiple changes to multiple files in one pass. TextPipe Pro has been invaluable in supporting these efforts. Allan also volunteered information on ECCO PRO, personal information manager that he uses at Sungard to bring together contacts, calendar, appointments, tasks, and projects in one integrated, customizable application. After answering several questions about TextPipe, Allan opened the topical session to the group. Larry Chait asked the group, not rhetorically, “how to do you get people to use collaborative technologies? Has anyone done it successfully?” That opened the floodgates and the group explored some projects they have worked on or new initiatives. This resulted in the recommendation that ‘collaboration’ be the topic for opening the next meeting. Lynda Moulton shared with the group a description of a new database that is an aggregate of prestigious technical, engineering, and scientific reference books (from CRC, John Wiley, McGraw-Hill, etc.), called kNovel. She also volunteered to prepare bibliographies on KM topics of current articles and handed out a form for those interested to fill out their areas of interest. (Status: the first electronic citations will be sent by the end of May.)

 

April 18 was the second KMPro breakfast at which the topic was “How do you Collaborate in Your Organization? What tools do you use? What drives people to adopt collaborative practices and tools?” We heard a great description of a project from Dale Hoopingarner of EMC who described a CRM Knowledgebase they have developed through the use of discussion forms to keep track of call center information transmitted during technical customer support sessions. Dale described the use of Primus to manage the Call Center activity and shared with the group the points of pain and volume of incoming calls that pushed them to begin implementing this collaborative approach.

 

Larry Chait of Chait & Associates, formerly CKO at Arthur D. Little, told us the key points of a summary he had prepared on Collaboration; Requirements for Success. Larry shared the need to implement tools that people will use and find useful as a top priority when seeking to facilitate Team Collaboration. What people most wanted was tools for storage, management, ongoing team operation and communication. Describing e-Team from Binary Tree as a practical selection because of its compatibility with their Notes environment, at that time, Larry shared key factors for success and lessons learned informally with the group. Finally, Don Marshall gave attendees a look at Goldfire Intelligence, Invention Machine’s offering for patent and intellectual property data mining. Used as a tool to unearth obscure but critical knowledge resources by natural language searching content rich corpuses of documents and files, it is designed to consolidate searches of proprietary and published resources.

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We are seeking Leaders for Knowledge Topics “after work” or “breakfast” sessions for new locations and times that will give our members more opportunities for knowledge networking. The following locales would be great supplements to our Burlington group: Route 495 somewhere south of Boxborough, Rt. 128 south of Route 2, Boston/Cambridge, Southern Maine and Southern Connecticut. If you would like to launch a group, contact Lynda Moulton for support on planning and mailing assistance, at 978-456-4956.

About (People)

Since February a number of KMPro participants have been active in planning meetings, making suggestions for programming, and facilitating events. As a volunteer organization, we depend on goodwill and helping each other on our own time to make each activity happen. The following members have been generous in helping this grassroots effort to become a Chapter. We would like to acknowledge each for special assistance as we complete our fourth month as a group: Michael Belanger has long experience as a promoter of professional groups. In addition to attending all of our meetings, his company SemanTX helped sponsor our first major event at Bentley College with a contribution that covered speaker expenses. Larry Chait (Chait & Associates) came to KMPro as the President of Boston KM Forum, the local KM society with whom we collaborate. In addition to promoting our programs to Boston KM Forum, Larry set up the meeting payment mechanism with PayPal and handled the financial aspects of the meeting, a big help since we lacked the infrastructure to do so ourselves.

 

Seth Earley (Earley & Associates) worked closely with Lynda Moulton on the program content for the first major program, and brought us Mark Gordon as one of the featured speakers. Seth also used his company resources to do promotional mailings and telephoning for the program. Dan Herman (Mass. Department of Environmental Protection) was an early volunteer in the original planning of the Chapter, giving us ideas on the emphasis our meeting content should maintain. Allan Lewis (Sungard Insurance Systems) has been involved since the first planning meeting and kicked off our first KM Breakfast Topics in March (see Events). Allan is contributing ideas and knowledge tips at every meeting and typifies the type of knowledge champion in his company that the Chapter hopes to attract as members.

 

Don Marshall (Invention Machine) has also been involved with each meeting, as a planning contributor and by sharing content ideas. He also provided important support to the program at Bentley by contributing projection equipment. Vic Sakalys (JES Associates) has participated in Chapter and meeting promotion by bringing awareness to other groups about KMPro. Al Savadian (AAS Strategic Services, Inc.) used his relationship as an alumnus of Bentley College’s MBA program, to foster a relationship with the Dean of the program, which gave us access to excellent meeting space for our April 24 meeting. Finally, we have to acknowledge the contribution that Bonnie Ware of Staples made by arranging for meeting space in Marlborough at the Staples Corporate Data Center for our very first meeting in February.

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The New England Chapter began with a list of names of people who had contacted KMPro in Washington saying they were interested. In four short months we have put on programs and are ready to establish a charter for the chapter. Each person named here and others who have attended meeting have made a contribution to our beginnings. This group is acknowledged for the record so that we can reflect, in the future, on the origin of the chapter and officially give thanks to the contributors who helped launch, KMPro, New England Chapter in 2003.

Certification Program Availability in New England

KMPro offers everything from five-day training programs and to half-day workshops leading to certification in Knowledge Management for professionals in need of formal training in this discipline. Lynda Moulton will facilitate bringing the full program anywhere that there is interest in New England. Programs are available to be offered within an organization for a large group of employees, or as standalone units that are offered periodically in short increments to professionals from a number of organizations. If there is interest in attending a full program by a sufficient number of people, we will arrange to bring it to New England. To signify your potential interest in formal KM training by an instructor recognized by the KCMB to be held before the end of 2003, please contact Lynda Moulton at 978-456-6945.

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