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Server organizes data in electronic card catalog forma - Monsanto moves toward practical KM solution

This article appears in the issue May 1998 [Volume 7, Issue 6]

Is your company needlessly spending millions of dollars each year surfing the Net futilely?

Are your intranets unmanageable?

If your answers to the above questions are "Yes," you may want to consider Plumtree Software (www.plumtreesoft.com). If you do, you'll be joining the company of Monsanto (Chicago) and Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com), two early Plumtree users.

Plumtree's initial product, the Plumtree Server, is designed to automatically organize database reports, Web pages, documents, groupware data and other information in a Yahoo-like hierarchy, bringing together data in different formats from different departments and presenting it in the form of an electronic card catalog metaphor.

The Plumtree Server continuously augments the catalog, publishing highly summarized, periodic updates via E-mail and the Web to apprise different corporate communities of additions to the catalog that relate to their work. As a result, employees can leverage the work of their peers as well as the information on the Internet. The idea is to spend less time assembling information from different sources, and more time using that information effectively.

For administrators attempting to integrate different corporate repositories using text-search engines, databases and Web applications, the Plumtree Server frees them from the daily tasks of manually organizing, formatting and replicating new information.

"We have been delighted at how easy the Plumtree Server was to install and configure, and think this product helps our organization be more open and productive," said Robert G. Plank, the leader of the information technology team at Monsanto Nutrition and Consumer Sector, one of Plumtree's beta test sites. "Within weeks of buying the beta software, we completed a proof-of-concept and are moving toward a practical knowledge management solution."

Monsanto first became interested in the Plumtree Server because of its ability to scan the Web sites of key customers and competitors, integrating the information with data stored in a Lotus Notes database. Previously, Webmasters and marketing professionals at Monsanto manually copied Web pages and other data to local servers, but lacked a framework for organizing that information in a meaningful hierarchy.

Because the Plumtree Server is location-transparent, Monsanto Nutrition's Web pages and Notes data can now remain on their original platforms. The electronic card catalog includes a set of rules for organizing each new piece of information, enabling administrators to bypass the cumbersome process of copying, converting and organizing information about customers, competitors and research.

Added Plank, "Now, our users will be able to focus on key markets and products rather than wasting time gathering information from different sources."


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