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Delphi presents KM Best Practice awards

In addition to educating business executives about knowledge management, last week's International Knowledge Management Summit sponsored by the Delphi Group and KMWorld ­ handed out awards to three companies who have successfully applied KM in their organizations. Buckman Laboratories, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Platinum Technology were named the 1998 Delphi Award winners for best practices in knowledge management.

The winners were chosen based on "contributions made toward advancing the state of the art in knowledge management on a number of levels," according to Delphi president and KM guru Tom Koulopoulos. Those criteria included a demonstrated payback from the KM effort, work done to foster a knowledge culture in the organization, efforts made toward creating a learning organization, and improved quality of life for employees and customers. Koulopoulos noted that "the quality and depth of the serious knowledge efforts in place today is remarkable."

Here's a closer look at the winners, and their knowledge management efforts that set them apart from the pack.

Buckman Labs was recognized for its leadership and skill at building knowledge communities that contribute to extraordinary efficiency and employee empowerment. Buckman, a privately-held, specialty chemical company, provides specialty chemical programs and services for the papermaking, water treatment, and leather processing industries. With the help of LearnerFirst, Buckman Labs developed and implemented an enterprise-wide human resources knowledge sharing system as part of its K'Netix knowledge community. The application was seeded by `harvesting' the knowledge of Buckman's CEO, Bob Buckman, and three human resource experts to construct a set of work profiles which were applied to the worldwide organization of 1240 employees. This knowledgebase provides Buckman Labs with the ability to quickly map its intellectual competencies and skills to changing market and customer needs.

KPMG Peat Marwick LLP received an award for demonstrating leadership in Return on Knowledge, by delivering the best return-on-knowledge from a cost savings perspective in developing a knowledge management system targeted to competing in the area of tax planning. KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, the U.S. member firm of KPMG International, provides a wide range of accounting, tax and consulting services. In 1997, KMPG undertook the task of designing, developing and implementing an enterprise-wide knowledge sharing system for its 4,500 US tax professionals. Currently, some 4,800 professionals participate in this Tax Knowledge Sharing application, now considered a `best practice' in the Firm. Efforts are now underway to leverage this system in other business units of KPMG. At the end of this process, approximately 21,000 professionals will be participating in this application.

Platinum Technology was recognized as a result of the significant payback from its KM efforts, and its example of acquiring and effectively managing knowledge about the products and technologies it acquires. Platinum, the world's seventh largest independent software vendor, offers software and services including database and systems management, data warehousing and decision support, application lifecycle, and Y2K reengineering. In 1997, Platinum Technology undertook the task of developing and implementing an enterprise-wide knowledge sharing system to support its acquisition strategy. Virtually every employee at Platinum utilizes the knowledge from this system. As a result of the success of this initiative, a dedicated team of individuals is now working on mapping knowledge management to business systems throughout Platinum.

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