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A habitat for knowledge

Knowledge can be a powerful asset in helping to conserve the world’s resources. That’s the philosophy of The Nature Conservancy. The global conservation organization, with 3,000 employees in 30 countries, has rolled out new software to manage its knowledge network.

The solution gives employees search tools to find documents on any topic--whether it’s information about how to execute a conservation easement or how to eliminate an invasive weed. And if the documents on file are insufficient, an expertise location function in the new software will help them find the right contact person, according to a news release from Hyperwave.

The Hyperwave Information Server and Information Portal will help The Nature Conservancy collect corporate knowledge and present it to appropriate users across the enterprise. The server powers Internet and intranet functions, and the portal adds a customizable interface to the intranet.

According to Michael Grove, an IT specialist with The Nature Conservancy, the organization was facing an information breakdown with its homegrown knowledge management systems. Employees had difficulty finding documents, and changes to information often resulted in lost documents and intranet links to nowhere.

“Our employees are very busy, and don’t have time to waste on dead-end researching,” says Grove. “We expect to save time and leverage existing knowledge [through the new system].”

Grove estimates The Nature Conservancy will store 300,000 documents on the server, including Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and text files, as well as PDF and graphics files. Server pooling technology will help link the multiple servers that will store the many files.

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is “to safeguard Earth’s biological diversity by protecting important natural habitats.” The organization says it has helped protect more than 12 million acres of habitat in the United States and more than 61 million acres in Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.

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