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K-station: Key to knowledge understanding

K-station is Lotus' new knowledge management portal, a window to desktop applications, back-end systems and other business knowledge. Users can rely on the application's resizable and customizable browser windows, or "portlets" to access common data stores and share information with coworkers. (Lotus hopes that the portlet templates it ships with K-station will speed development and deployment cycles for the new product.)

At Lotusphere Orlando last month, Lotus CEO Al Zollar told CRN Magazine that K-station "moves portals from the notion of just looking at things to the capability of bringing people together." And K-station's product manager, Kellie Hunter, says K-station will be able to locate, share and transfer knowledge more easily than any other KM (Knowledge Management) portal.

In a recent chat with searchDomino members, Hunter describes how, in developing the new Web browser-based portal, Lotus has simply "tried to apply technology to the KM [Knowledge Management] theory." "This do versus view, framework," Hunter says, "frees end-users from the rigid limitations of traditional portal technology and enables them to conduct business by the terms of their own communities, interests, tasks and job responsibilities."

Hunter says K-station is more of a collaborative tool than other KM solutions. It manages your personal data like a My Yahoo! for the knowledge worker; creates spontaneous collaborative work spaces; and "increases communication with its unique place-based awareness answering questions like who's online and in this place?) and real time chat capabilities," Hunter says.

K-station's "pages" component categorizes information according to topic areas and job functions. On screen, they resemble file folders, with tabs at the top and space inside for assembling topic-specific content.

Lotus recently released a thirty-day trial version of K-station for current Domino users. But K-station is just the beginning. Lotus will release the next product in its "Raven" KM line, Discovery Server, early this year. Discovery Server will sort incoming data and push it out to editors, catalogs, clusters and indexes. It will also create and maintain expertise profiles, and audit knowledge usage. (Users will be able to browse Discovery Server's expertise profiles through the K-station portal.)

Lotus is also ensuring that K-station will work with its other collaborative tools. "The Notes R5 client can even be used for [K-station's] default welcome page," Hunter says. K-station will also work with existing Sametime or QuickPlace 2.0 installations. Hunter says K-station will be the "convergence point" for Lotus' overall KM strategy. In addition, Lotus plans to leverage the portal technology in even more of its products.

You can read the complete transcript of our Live Expert Q&A chat with Lotus' Kelly Hunter at www.searchdomino.com/Online_Events/searchDomino_Online_Events_Transcripts_Page Also, check out these links to see if K-station is a good fit for your KM strategy:

http://www.crn.com/Components/Search/Article.asp?ArticleID=21835

This CRN story outlines K-station's functions within Raven. An interviewee also describes how KM technology can shorten learning periods for new employees and help global organizations track information more easily.

http://www.lotus.com/home.nsf/welcome/kstation

Lotus has this year beefed up its K-station data center with a list of possible business scenarios for the portal, descriptions of K-station's features (including screen shots) and links to additional notes for administrators and developers.

http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/searchDomino_Editors_Picks_Page

Click on "Management/Strategy," then "Knowledge Management" to find an updated list of searchDomino's favorite KM links for Domino professionals.

Mark Baard is a contributing writer based in Milton, Mass.

This was first published in January 2001

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