A portal is an important tools in many aspects of life in the internet age. There are always an expectation that anything can be found on the web, with easy access serving 24x7 hours. Same apply to business, like the intranet for internal use, like the organization website for external customers. Some apply to other parts of life, like what the speaker has done for the Association of KM Practitioners..
In knowledge management, the portal plays a crucial part as a tools for many different aspects in an organization. In the MScKM course, ISE5603 is a standalone subject on KM portal. The portal gives you a natural opportunity to tap into the 4 core aspects of KM - people, process, technology & content. As a matter of fact, even though we understand technology is not the most important part of KM, KM practitioners realize that it is also handicap for KM without a proper system in place. Even though there are a lot of online systems & tools available, they normally serve only a single part of the overall requirements, or some of them are too expensive. Nothing is ideal. Furthermore, it is very common that organizations paying a lot of money for the systems, they normally use only 20-30% of the system functions in reality, disregard the many dissatisfactions on these systems.
The speaker KF Cheng is a KM practitioner, a graduate of the MScKM with the background of engineering and IT. Being the leader of the MScKM community, he tried building a system for the association using open source. Started in early 2015, with the fundamental belief of his background and knowledge, and with his non-compromising passion, he started his practical journey to build the website. Without any background knowledge of the open source system, he started by learning how to construct a website, gone through the too many possibilities and obstacles, and at the same time building the website for the association.
KF started with Joomla. It took him almost 1/2 year to complete the website for KMP on a part-time basis, and completed around Jun/Jul 2015. Joomla is an open-source CMS system which was not bad, but it didn't satisfy him. At the end of 2015, he started to build another version using Drupal. Drupal is a much more flexible open-source CMS system, because it allows more details or granularities to be configured. However, the higher flexibility of Drupal also brings higher complications and a much steeper learning curve. This time, it took much more time on a full-time basis for KF to learn, and complete the project to a very different expectation. In fact, starting from July 2016, KF already started to build another newer version of the KMP website to fit the operational need of the portal.
KF has spent a few years on different open-source CMS technologies. For him, the journey integrating technology to real life is not an easy one. But the many pull-down and re-built attempts is an excellent experience in his KM journey to find and balance out between technology and human needs. KF believes smaller organizations who do not want to spend millions of dollars on a portal, can possibly consider these systems based on open-source. As a matter of fact, the KMP portal is a proven project that this is possible. The KMP site serves both as an external website as well as an internal collaboration portal. During the architect and construction of the portal, many KM elements have been considered and put in place. To name a few using the KMP portal as an example, the portal features some key features which is essential for KM applications:
- Sub-sites under the original mother site. The KMP portal makes sub-sites available for individual committees and communities who can have their own customized sub-sites to fulfill individual's specific need in operations, content and activities, and most importantly under their own management. That's equivalent to different departments in a business organization.
- Rich customizable content-types to fit business and operational needs in a realistic, user-friendly and sensible manner. This helps to line up proper business process, unify simple and preferable workflow across the entire organization, and facilitate collaboration even from remote.
- Build up organization-owned knowledge-base using wiki and different content-types. Search necessary operational knowledge at the finger-tips.
Who Should Attend
This event is one of the talk in the UNCONFERENCE DAY, organized by Prof. Tsui of KMIRC, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. All MScKM Members, students and graduates of MScKM, MILESAA members are welcomed. This talk is suitable for people who are interested:
- to know more about open-source technology
- to understand the feasibility and practicability of building web-based systems using open-source
- to find out how far and how practical an open-source project can go
- to build an intranet, a KM portal, or a department portal.