This product review was for the product Hyperwave Information Server and Information Portal, which has been renamed to eKnowledge Portal.
CATEGORY: Enterprise Information Portals
REVIEWER: Carolyn Hall, managing director for MCT:collaborative (McCann-Erickson's strategic technology group).
BACKGROUND: McCann-Erickson WorldGroup is one of the world's largest international advertising and marketing communications companies.
PLATFORMS: The system infrastructure currently includes three dual CPU servers with RAID storage. One server runs Hyperwave Information Server, the next Oracle, and the third runs LDAP (the mail server and news aggregation features). All servers are based on Microsoft NT and are in the process of being upgraded to Windows 2000.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We used Hyperwave to manage the assimilation of acquired agencies into McCann in a way that would leverage their expertise and make the vast resources of McCann available to them. We also sought to raise the quality and compress the time needed to collaborate with our global customers.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Hyperwave Information Server (HIS) delivers a powerful platform for developing intranet and extranet knowledge-sharing applications. The Hyperwave Information Portal (HIP) is an out-of-the-box corporate portal solution. Built on the HIS infrastructure, it offers both aggregation and collaboration. HIP offers us easy access to internal and external resources including unstructured, structured and groupware content on one or many servers. Based upon these two products, we developed a collaborative B2B client service portal. In the future, we will further expand our capabilities using Hyperwave's document routing and workflow capabilities, which will make the company's processes even more efficient.
STRENGTHS: Hyperwave products offer us a number of benefits. Link management technology prevents broken links and keeps content from becoming orphaned. The automatically managed environment works with both structured and unstructured content. Automated notification agents alert clients and account teams when new content is added or modifications are made to existing content. Document routing expedites the review and approval process. Secure, threaded discussions foster and enhance collaboration. Meta data supports a range of search capabilities based on content and/or attributes.
WEAKNESSES: We underestimated the hardware resources required to effectively roll out this type of solution to our global community.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We sought a solution that was powerful, flexible and easy to maintain. It needed to allow account teams to publish and share any type of information with a simple point-and-click system. We also sought an architecture that addressed the challenge of link management.
DELIVERABLES: Hyperwave's solution allows departments and agencies within McCann to interact with each other more effectively. The system includes collaborative tools such as a calendar for group scheduling, a directory to see who is working on accounts, databases of case studies and pictures, and user profiles organized by industry expertise. It also provides effective ways for our global customers to review strategic and creative work, thus compressing review processes and allowing us to effectively utilize resources across the organization. Today there are 7,100 users that share more than 29,000 individual pieces of information. As a result, the time it takes to put up a collaborative B2B knowledge portal for a new client has been reduced dramatically. In the past, it took four months before a new customer could give feedback on its site. This beta period was then followed by one to two more months to get to a final version of a site. Now, it now takes four weeks to develop a final version of a site, with most of this time spent on creative layout and design. In fact, a default site can be up and running in less than a day and requires no development.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Hyperwave's staff collaborated with our internal deployment team to gather business needs, which were then translated into application requirements. Post implementation, the internal team is in direct communication with Hyperwave when it comes to support, assuring the most direct path from issue to resolution.
DOCUMENTATION: The standard document and help that comes with Hyperwave was more than adequate to understand and deploy the product. Additionally, we needed to implement customized help and documentation. Working with Hyperwave and a consulting group, we were able to create the appropriate content that is being used in the system today.
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