Ernst & Young charges intranet with Verity
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. Ernst & Young understands
this better than most - the firm has one of the largest knowledge infrastructures
in the world and is the only professional services firm to have been recognized
as one of the world's top five "Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises"1
in each of the last two years.
Ernst & Young uses knowledge to win work and to improve its service
to its clients. Knowledge is an integral part of the business, and Ernst
& Young has a tremendous opportunity to re-apply its existing expertise
and experience. Consequently, the company's intranet - the Ernst &
Young/KnowledgeWeb ("KWeb") - must be available to, and be used
by every professional in the firm.
The KWeb consists of a web based front end, which is linked to an extensive
back end that includes powerful Verity information retrieval technology,
Lotus Notes/Domino databases, web pages and various other technologies.
It has been developed and maintained by the Ernst & Young Centre for
Business Knowledge (CBK). The CBK's base of internal clients amounts to
over 85,000 client serving professionals world wide and the KWeb is accessible
in all countries with the appropriate infrastructure in place to support
the intranet technology.
Before KWeb, users navigated their way through the available knowledge
content held on various systems by using a Notes catalogue, which relied
on "taxonomy", or a formal classification system. The challenge
for Ernst & Young was to bring all the discrete repositories of knowledge
content together into one knowledge architecture which could be searched,
so that knowledge retrieval could be more efficient and timely. The search
engine is similar to those that are available on the public Internet in
that it uses key words or phrases to search across many repositories.
Since information is classified into information directories organised
by familiar business categories, taxonomic searches are also possible.
Users can navigate information directories easily, combining searching
and browsing for more intuitive knowledge discovery.
In 1994, Ernst & Young started to build up its core knowledge bases
using a Lotus Notes infrastructure. The first prototype of the KWeb was
deployed in April 1997, using Verity technology. KWeb is now in its fifth
version and changes have been made in its scope and architecture, which
have been reconfigured to meet the demands of the business. Furthermore,
the addition of multi-lingual features has led to a more effective global
At the end of 1999, KWeb attracted 900,000 user sessions per month. The
central, searchable, knowledge content consists of more than 950,000 documents
in English, plus thousands more in German, French, Dutch and Swedish.
The sheer volume of the firm's knowledge resources was a critical reason
behind Ernst & Young's decision to work with Verity, given their ability
to tackle the issue of scale. Combine this with Verity's capability in
areas such as native Notes connectivity and advanced search - and a winning
partnership was formed.
The Verity knowledge retrieval solution is also used by another of Ernst
& Young's key knowledge management tools - Community HomeSpace. By
accessing a simple graphical navigator with context-sensitive hotspots,
users in a defined community of interest can invoke searches which bring
back only the highest quality knowledge that is relevant to the community's
needs. Users don't need to know where the information is stored because
it is automatically retrieved for them.
Tim Curry, global chief knowledge officer at Ernst & Young, said:
"We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Verity,
which has a solid grasp on our need to create world-class knowledge management
solutions. Verity and Ernst & Young share a common vision and commitment
to addressing the practical needs of knowledge management, and this for
us has been, and continues to be, crucial to our success."
Notes to editors:
1 The 1999 MAKE survey, conducted by Teleos in association with The KNOW
NetworkSM, was sent primarily to top executives at global 500 companies.
The survey asked each executive to nominate as many as three "most
admired" companies and then rate these organisations based on the
eight knowledge-performance attributes listed below:
* Success in establishing an enterprise knowledge culture
* Top management support for managing knowledge
* Ability to develop and deliver knowledge-based goods and services
* Success in maximising the value of the enterprise's intellectual
* Effectiveness in creating an environment of knowledge sharing
* Success in establishing a culture of continuous learning
* Effectiveness of management customer knowledge to increase loyalty
* Ability to manage knowledge to generate shareholder value
The Most Admired Enterprises (MAKE) study is administered by Teleos, an
independent knowledge management research company. The KNOW Network (www.knowledgebusiness.com)
is a group of leading knowledge-based organisations dedicated to sharing
best knowledge practices that lead to superior business performance. An
executive summary of the 1999 MAKE study can be requested by sending email
to firstname.lastname@example.org. A similar
study was carried out in 1998.