CATEGORY: Enterprise Information Portals
REVIEWER: Thomas Baker, manager of business intelligence development for Quaker Chemical Corporation.
BACKGROUND: Headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, Quaker Chemical Corporation is a worldwide developer, producer and marketer of custom-formulated chemical specialty products and a provider of chemical management services for manufacturers around the globe, primarily in the steel and automotive industries. Quaker's clients include makers of automotive and aerospace products; companies in environment, pulp and paper; and can industries.
PLATFORMS: Compaq ProLiant 850 MHz dual processor utilizing Windows NT operating system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Quaker Chemical's employees and partners work in more than 15 countries around the world. In order to maximize its competitive edge, Quaker needed a centralized system to transcend regional barriers and unite its employees on global strategy and responsibilities. Intraspect provides a collaborative platform to enable users to capture and share structured and unstructured knowledge, improving communication and reusing, rather than reinventing, information.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Quaker worked with Intraspect Software to develop Quaker Business Intelligence (QBI), a secure, customizable intranet, deployed across the entire global enterprise. QBI provides a central repository that captures enterprise knowledge including e- mail, documents, presentations and other unstructured data. Users in offices around the world can archive, access and collaborate around knowledge with project teams using Intraspect's Web-based workspaces. QBI is accessible via a Web browser, an e-mail client or a file folder system, allowing each user to work in the manner he or she is most accustomed to working, without administrative intervention.
STRENGTHS: The ease of use of the system and intuitive interface encourage rapid adoption. The interface is similar to other software products used every day, and the search engine functions just like those found on the Internet. Thus, the tools are already familiar, and the user community can quickly utilize the benefits of collaboration. The Intraspect platform also suits Quaker's global needs. By making all vital enterprise knowledge accessible over the Web 24x7, Quaker can work literally around the clock. A problem can be solved in Asia before European employees arrive at work.
WEAKNESSES: The major weakness is also a major strength ease of use. This has resulted in fast acceptance and expansion within the organization, sometimes making it difficult to keep up. The Intraspect rollout started within Quaker's technical community and has since grown to every community within the organization. Quaker placed an associate full-time to Intraspect in January 2001 and a second full-time person in August 2001. Management enjoys the benefits the system provides and supports the initiative, leading to a rapid rollout across the company.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The major reason Quaker selected Intraspect was the ease of use. The major product advantage is Web access. For Quaker, a global organization, this is critical to collaboration success. Intraspect enables knowledge-sharing via the Internet so all associates can participate.
DELIVERABLES: Fundamentally, the product produces knowledge and collaboration. Examples of outputs from Quaker's knowledge-sharing and collaboration efforts include organization charts, ISO documentation, training manuals, policies and procedures, etc. Quaker has been able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of being able to search within Intraspect to find the answer to a problem rather than engaging in a whole new project to solve the problem. Intraspect has also enabled Quaker to capture the knowledge of employees who have left the company.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Pre- implementation, Quaker used a third party in addition to Intraspect support. Quaker switched directly to Intraspect support approximately six months into the rollout. The Intraspect support team has been very responsive and competent. The best part of working with Intraspect has been partnering via Intraspect's Advisory Team to provide feedback and input toward development. In return, Intraspect has listened to Quaker's strategy and desires for development. This truly has worked out to be a great experience, as it allows Intraspect and Quaker to understand individual needs and goals.
DOCUMENTATION: The user-side documentation is very easy to understand. Users have been able to install Intraspect 4, the upgraded version, themselves. The documentation for the technical side is not as complete due to the large capability of the system. Therefore, Quaker frequently relies on Intraspect support for assistance with the technical side.
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