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2006 KM Promise and Reality award winners

We've been paying tribute to companies with our KM Promise and Reality awards at the KMWorld Conference since 2001, and in those years, we've seen a steady increase in both the volume and, especially, the quality of the nominations.

More than a thousand nominations have been submitted to our judging panel since the program's inception, and, in the case of the Promise category, they have covered nearly every type of KM tool imaginable. (It bears reminding that we believe knowledge management to be an attitude rather than an application.) For the Reality award, the solutions have been both horizontal and specific to nearly all vertical industries.

We should emphasize also that although the Promise award is given to a vendor for its potential impact on the market, the Reality award goes to a customer that has implemented a solution from a vendor. That distinction is especially important these days because (finally) vendors are listening to their customers and developing capabilities specifically due to their most important constituency: their customers.

Such is the case with KANA, whose software suite KANA IQ was implemented by TD Waterhouse UK, one of the United Kingdom's largest execution-only brokerages, with more than 3.3 million customer accounts and assets topping $130 billion. The brokerage enables customers to trade stocks and shares through exchanges around the world.

With the need for impeccable customer service, TD Waterhouse UK wanted to improve the efficiency of its two contact centers. Creating a new knowledgebase required an enterprisewide commitment and for every level of the organization to buy into the project and deliver valuable content. As the technology component of the new initiative, dubbed Project Resolve, the organization deployed the KANA IQ service resolution management suite, which, KANA says, delivers a guided knowledge approach that significantly reduces the time it takes to answer inquiries. IQ delivers on-demand advice through all channels, guiding agents through the process of diagnosing the inquiry and determining the right answer.

The software makes it easier to produce and manage content through efficient workflow processes and, for example, provides greater visibility and control over language translation: If a user edits content in the French edition of the knowledgebase, his or her counterparts in other countries are notified that the new content needs to be translated or updated in the German, Japanese and Korean versions. Visit http://secure.infotoday.com/kmw/2006Reality_KMAwards.asp to read more about why TD Waterhouse UK deserves the accolades it has received and to view the nominations from the Reality award finalists. I'd be interested to hear your views, so feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts.

On the Promise front, the judges selected Contextware, which has been quietly making a name for itself in the government, software, business services and manufacturing sectors. The company's approach of addressing knowledge loss, the judges believe, is especially compelling because of the aging work force. We agreed with Contextware's claim that the software allows organizations to capture value by documenting corporate intellectual property, resulting in reduced training costs and time and reducing corporate risk by guaranteeing important information is retained.

Further, the Contextware Business Operating System knows how to share. Its solutions use a business process framework that points directly to corporate knowledge and shares it across work group, team, department, alliance or enterprise and across all captured processes. And it scales up, down, to the right and to the left, so it's agile enough to bring more value as the organization grows, acquires properties, develops new expertise, new products and new markets.

Far be it from me—or any of the judging panel—to believe we have the ability to shape the marketplace, but we do believe Contextware has the potential to make a real impact because of the graceful way it approaches enterprise knowledge. Spend some time on its site.

KM Reality award

In many organizations, knowledge management is just rhetoric. This award recognizes an organization in which knowledge management is a positive reality. The recipient of the KM Reality award is an organization demonstrating leadership in the implementation of knowledge management practices and processes by realizing measurable business benefits. The knowledge management program will have: been in place for at least two years, demonstrated senior management support, and defined metrics to evaluate the program and its impact on organizational goals.

KM Promise award

Many companies say that their technology is the best knowledge management solution. One of the greatest challenges for organizations purchasing technology is to determine which company will deliver on its promise. This award is given to the organization that is living up to its promise of providing innovative technology solutions for implementing and integrating knowledge management practices into business processes. The award-winning organization demonstrates how it goes beyond simply delivering technology to working with clients to ensure that both technology and knowledge processes are embedded into work processes, helping the organization realize positive business results.

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