CGE&Y’s N-Portal

CAP Gemini’s Ernst and Young have been separately purveying knowledge management solutions to oil and gas clients like BP Amoco and Shell. Now, the N-Portal is moving to Windows 2000. But as PDM learned from CAP’s Geoff Smith, the human element in KM is the key.

PDM - how do you rate oils in KM?

Smith - Oils have been aware of KM for a long time. Amerada, BP, Shell and Enterprise are all early adopters. There is more interest than in many other industries. BPA and Shell "carry the torch" and have publicly stated the business benefits they get from networking hard data and tacit knowledge.

PDM what are the KM "killer apps?"

Smith - There is no one answer. You have to balance solving past problems and seizing future opportunities. It depends on how much legacy knowledge needs to be integrated. Our solution is K-Applets and the N-Portal, a simple tool to deliver information. But it needs dedicated K managers. Technology is an enabler, but you need cultural and organizational change. K should "permeate" the organization in a continuous process.

PDM - Does CAP bring consulting or IT to the table?

Smith - There is no such thing as vanilla KM. We identify clients’ strategy and  move into technology according to legacy systems. For BP a major cost was putting people in touch with people. Once the communities get going they can suck in the technology.

PDM - How innovative is Windows 2000 in KM?

Smith - Windows 2000 reflects the arrival of the internet age. It is the natural choice for e-business because of cost of ownership benefits. But there is a lot more to come from the integration of Exchange, SQL Server, the Directory Services and so on.

PDM - What does CGE&Y add to this?

Smith - The CGE&Y/Microsoft solution is sometimes viewed as an entry-level solution. But it then becomes a vehicle for the validation of Microsoft’s claim to be able to provide viable, scalable IT/KM. What is new in Windows 2000 is that there are no longer any gaps in Microsoft’s enterprise computing. The Active Directory is of course core to KM and offers centralized management of hardware, people and needs.

This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2000 Issue # 7.

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