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KM to the maintenance worker

Many vendors of KM tools and services speak about broad applications suitable in multiple environments, but knowledge management often can be best seen in specific job functions.

For example, a worker charged with maintaining semiconductors has a host of documentation and computer-based training available on maintenance procedures. The problem is that he needs to leave his work to reference that information and even then cannot quickly find what he needs. And what if he finds the technical documentation to be invalid? How can he share that information with other maintenance workers in his company?

Solving those problems is the niche IKnowledge (www.iknowledgeinc.com) is trying to carve: The company calls it a maintenance execution performance system. Formally Nereus Technologies, IKnowledge--renamed and refocused--has taken what it has learned from the multimedia publishing industry and reversed it. Instead of focusing on the publishing aspect, IKnowledge is first focusing on the knowledge needs of the user and delivering that knowledge through an out-of-box tool, which it calls PerformanceWare.

"What we are doing is starting with the service workers, focusing on their needs and the context. Then we can go back into the publishing system and get the knowledge and information to them in the media they need," said Jeffrey Tognoni, president and CEO of IKnowledge.

Maintenance workers can add annotations to the program--offering their experience to those attempting similar things.

PerformanceWare will attempt to combine the best of electronic publishing, computer-based training and best maintenance practices when it is released later this quarter.

"The good thing about this is they do have their finger on a business problem," said Tom Grace, senior analyst at AMR Research (www.amrresearch.com), "whether they have it in a packaged approach yet remains to be seen."

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