For free access to a special E2.0/KM community instance of Knowledge Plaza please see the end of this post.
As some of you know I spent a large part of the summer working with the guys at Whatever on their product Knowledge Plaza. I managed the GUI redesign and helped roll in some new features and views to bring the product up to release. Well I’m proud to say I think we did a great job. In my biased opinion, we’ve delivered the most exciting Enterprise 2.0 social productivity platform on the market. And with new development coming to fruition in the next month it’s just going to get better.
Here’s the Scoop:
Knowledge Plaza has been developed as a Web-based platform for enterprise search, social bookmarking, knowledge management, information brokerage and expert identification.
The platform allows you to add websites, emails, documents, contacts, references and discussions. Multimedia is on the way. You can tag, annotate and share anything you add. Using workspaces, your network and company facets sharing and finding information is at the core of Knowledge Plaza.
Some broad claims there so here’s how it breaks down: (thumbnails go to larger screen shots)
Any item in Knowledge Plaza (websites, emails, documents, contacts, references and discussions) is called a Tile. You can tag, edit, comment on, rate, relate and send tiles from within the application. You can also group Tiles into a Mosaic. Apart from that everything else is as you’d expect.
The dashboard aggregates activity and content from people in your network and your workspaces. In addition there is a visual tab showing clickable images of recent websites and documents.
The plaza tab is where you find and browse content. Quick actions let you tag, rate and bookmark
Clicking on any title takes you to the tile view where you can edit, tag, send, comment or perform other actions.
Advanced Search and Browse
Within the plaza you can click to combine tags, facets and people into a search string, which is always displayed.
You can also use the advanced search box (powered by Lucene) with auto complete.
At any point in the application you can save your search or take an RSS feed. In fact, every aspect, tag and activity gets an RSS feed as standard. Saving results allows you to save your search strategies.
Finding people, be it Knowledge Plaza members or external contacts is easy. You just restrict your search to people. This will return those tagged with, have content containing, or have been identified as experts relating to your search.
Every member has a profile page where you can see their network, their activity or leave a comment.
Using People as Search Engines
This is one of the most exciting features for me. On every profile, workspace dashboard and saved search, you have to option to use the resource as a search engine. In the case of a member when you use this feature and select ‘web’ you will perform a live Google search across all the websites the member has bookmarked, rated or commented. Selecting ‘plaza’ will perform a search inside of knowledge plaza for their matching content.
The Significance of People as Search Engines
Example: You are in a Pharmaceutical company and need to research the web for Gene Therapy data. Who’s eyes are better to search through than Ian who’s an expert on Gene Therapy in your company!? You can instantly use his list of trusted and rated websites to conduct your search.
Each workspace has a dashboard providing quick links to the activity, members and search engine.
Also, by using a workspace as a search engine you can combine the websites and content of an entire department….so like the example above, that’s the entire Gene Therapy project team.
Using Saved Searches as Search Engines
As already mentioned, saved searches can also be used as search engines.
The next really exciting feature for me is the Mosaics. After creating a Mosaic (as a wrapper) you can add tiles to the Mosaic, either individually or collaboratively. So essentially this allows you to create containers of tiles (information resources) on core topics.
In addition you are able to add pages to the Mosaic adding context and annotating the content.
Finally you are able to export the Mosaic at anytime for sharing outside of Knowledge Plaza. The export creates a PDF of all the pages, indexes the tiles and saves copies of all websites (in PDF), contacts (vcard) and documents in an accompanying zip file. This is knowledge mobility.
Mosaic Wiki Pages
Example Mosaic Export
The Significance of Mosaics
I’m going to save most of this for another post but let’s say you compile some research for one of your internal customers. You can do this within a Mosaic, perhaps with the help of others, then export it for sending to the customer. Whether or not an internal charge is put in place for this is open to discussion, but effectively the Mosaic puts a value and mobility on your knowledge.
Access Knowledge Plaza for Free
As mentioned earlier, the guys at Knowledge Plaza have released an invite only community instance to be used by (YOU!) knowledge professionals, evangelists, industry consultants and basically anyone else who’s interesting. This is called Knowledge Heroes.
The platform is currently only available within company firewalls, so this is the only way you will get a look until the public version is released.
You can use the platform to collate your knowledge, bookmarks, sources etc with the rest of the community. The team at Knowledge Plaza will post some of this content to the public blog, Knowledge Heroes so everyone else can benefit form a cross section of the content.
If you want access or a demo just let me know.