Celebrate the Success Stories of Knowledge Management - 2022 KMWorld Awards

Search and locate ... three decades of information

Environmental Systems Design (ESD) has an intranet chockfull of 33 years worth of experience, expertise and data. A knowledge-intensive business, ESD is a large mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and communication consulting firm in the Midwest.

Because the company wanted to make its critical information easier to share and use, it has installed an enterprise server and portal from Hyperwave Information Management.

ESD’s 300 employees are using the new system to store and retrieve information about everything from building codes and engineering specifications to human resources policies.

According to Mark Andersen, VP and head of IT, employees are particularly impressed with the system’s ability to make Exchange documents part of ESD’s searchable repository.

“Whenever someone sends around an e-mail with news, we can just drop it into the public folder so in the future we can find it,” says Andersen. In the past, such information might not have been captured in ESD’s intranet and, if it were, might not have been located because the intranet lacked a search capability. According to Andersen, the new software not only finds relevant documents, including PDF files, but also uses authoring information to identify the company’s experts on any topic. That’s useful, Andersen says, when an engineer needs a two-way discussion with an authority, not just a handful of reference documents.

Andersen adds that ESD also likes a link management feature of the new technology. Every hyperlink associated with a document is managed apart from the document itself. If documents are moved, the links are updated so that hyperlink navigation is not disturbed.

“Being able to move stuff around and have the links still there and still accurate without having to relink everything ... is almost like magic,” Andersen says.

He adds that the new system offers enhanced security. The company's old intranet used NT security to keep users from entering areas where they were unauthorized; clicking on a link to restricted information would return an error message. But the new software evaluates access rights before displaying hyperlinks, so that a user sees hyperlinks only to documents he or she is authorized to access.

"I really like that if you're not privileged to go there, you [shouldn’t] even see the link," says Andersen. "It should or will reduce the temptation to hack."

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