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Knowledge Management > Interviews > J.D. Edwards' "Knowledge Garden" saves millions, improves custom >

J.D. Edwards' "Knowledge Garden" saves millions, improves customer service


Madanmohan Rao interviews Jennifer Saldanha of J.D. Edwards


Jennifer Saldanha is senior manger of web communications and services for J.D. Edwards. Recently, J.D. Edwards took second place in the Society for Information Management International Paper Awards competition, after submitting a longitudinal

study on the company's knowledge management initiatives. Jennifer also leads the

initiative to rearchitect the company's Intranet and extranet environments.


J.D. Edwards (www.jdedwards.com) is a leader in collaborative enterprise software as well as consulting, education and support services. Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Denver, J.D. Edwards has 6,600 customers in over 110 countries, with a wide range of offerings in business processes management, supply chains, and supplier and customer relationships.


Q: What was the status of content and knowledge management before you formally launched a KM practice?


Content was largely decentralized before J.D. Edwards® launched its KM initiative.


Q: When did you formally launch your KM initiative, and in what manner?


1995 saw the debut of J.D. Edwards' first public Web site. In 1996, J.D. Edwards introduced our first iteration of our intranet, dubbed the Knowledge Gardenâ, to streamline knowledge sharing across the organization in an effort to formalize and standardize deployment of content. In 1997, the company added its Customer Solution Center extranet. Later, with Version 2 of the Knowledge Garden, J.D. Edwards added security elements and additional features to debut customer and business partner extranets. These launches were successful under the leadership of a CKO and a KM committee.


Q: What are the Top Five objectives of your KM practice?


1) To share critical knowledge across a diverse global organization.

2) To make it easy for knowledge content experts to proliferate their expertise.

3) To deliver appropriate content and tools to meet user needs at the right time and in the right context.

4) To leverage the KM infrastructure to grow the business.

5) To make our customers stronger by providing easy accessibility to knowledge content and tools in support of their J.D. Edwards business infrastructure.


Q: What sort of connectivity do your knowledge workers have?


J.D. Edwards currently supports PC and laptop access and has plans to extend its infrastructure to other delivery devices in the future.


Q: What kinds of knowledge assets do you include in your knowledge base?


J.D. Edwards offers a myriad of knowledge assets targeted at specific user communities and their respective needs. These knowledge assets include employee benefits content, technical and marketing briefs, presentations, multimedia, and applications - unified through an enterprise taxonomy.


Q: What kinds of communities of practice do you have?


The J.D. Edwards Knowledge Garden serves as a platform for multiple sources of targeted news, collaboration and process improvement.  Some of the targeted areas include employee HR, sales, marketing, customers, and business partners, via "resource centers," e-newsletters, etc.


Q: What kinds of commercial and other incentives are being offered for knowledge sharing?


At J.D. Edwards, employees are encouraged to produce documented knowledge content to share with employees, customers and business partners.


Q: What kinds of workshops and training do you offer in increasing awareness about KM?


On a monthly basis, J.D. Edwards holds sessions to update KM content contributors on news and features, and these contributors then share this information with their respective departments. Also, J.D. Edwards regularly communicates news on KM initiatives via its e-newsletter, online and through senior-level presentations.


Q: What are three ways in which you are promoting a culture of knowledge and learning in the company?


1. Highlighting knowledge-sharing successes.

2. Measuring results of KM practices and communicating them.

3. Encouraging employees, customers and business partners to leverage the J.D. Edwards intranet/extranet through communications and targeted campaigns.


Q: What challenges do you face in overcoming obstacles to cooperation and knowledge sharing?


Distributed knowledge content ownership and enforcement of uniform deployment strategies.


Q: What kinds of investments have you made in KM, and how are you measuring usage of the KM system?


J.D. Edwards has made significant investments in hardware, software, custom applications, process development and people to support its KM infrastructure.  The company measures its success based on improved customer satisfaction, streamlined operational efficiency, and contributions to revenue generation.


Q: What have been the Top Three benefits of your KM system?


1. Efficiency improvements and reduced cost.  We recognized a US$5 million annual savings in time and paper costs.

2. Content Manager, an internally developed document management tool, streamlined content authoring of complex documents that delivered over US$5 million to the bottom line in 2001.

3. Improvements to customer self-service via the extranet, resulting in a cost savings for customer self-service calls. By 2002, 15% of customer queries were handled via self-service on the Knowledge Garden.


Q: What are your future plans for KM?


Implement an innovative content management solution to better manage global content for all users, combined with instituting a more effective governance model. In addition, continue to focus on enhancing KM offerings for customer self-service.


Q: What are the Top Three things you have learned about KM over the years?


1. Focus on business issues and value.  KM platforms extend beyond the technical infrastructure.

2. Plan for, develop and maintain the system according to the needs of the users. Take an outside-in approach to best accommodate user-driven needs.

3. Define an enterprise strategy with supporting RoI.




Madanmohan Rao is the author of "The Asia-Pacific Internet Handbook" and can be reached at madan@techsparks.com


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