Star Knowledge and Malvern National Services Partner In New Age Sharepoint Banking Solution Development
Pompano Beach, Florida – Monday, May 23, 2011 – Star Knowledge Technology Alliance Team LLC a global software and solution services provider today announced a strategic partnership with Malvern National Services, LLC, a Pennsylvania-based consulting and technology services company to provide a new age SharePoint-centric banking solution platform as a cost-effective and risk reducing alternative to traditional legacy banking systems.
Star Knowledge offer innovative and cost effective customized software development and support services that assist organizations achieve their business goals and attain or maintain competitive market advantage. Through technology-based services and solutions, Star Knowledge enables customers to fully exploit their technology investments for rapid business transformation and success.
Malvern National Services, a cutting-edge consulting and technology services company focuses on working with financial institutions to improve profitability, mitigate risk and leverage technology assets. Malvern professionals are former Fortune 100 executives and senior managers who have previously managed lending, payments, credit, risk, IT and finance activities for leading global financial and consulting organizations.
Financial institutions are facing unprecedented opportunities and extreme pressures simultaneously! On one hand, current economy disorder, velocity of technological change and diffusion, along with economies of scale derived from recent consolidation has unlocked enormous growth opportunities. Conversely increasing global regulatory oversight, growing consumer demands for more effective and efficient service in all electronic modes, and the ostensibly steady need to shrink costs pose serious challenges to financial industry executives. Within this atmosphere and backdrop Malvern and Star Knowledge is undertaking a program to develop the Bankers Collaboration Workplace Platform ® (BCWP) based on Microsoft’s SharePoint set of technologies. The first release of BCWP will offer support for commercial lending activities and is scheduled for launch in the 3rd Q 2011.
Kevin M. O’Sullivan, Chairman of Star Knowledge stated – “Microsoft SharePoint’s unique capabilities are driving pervasive adoption throughout businesses that unquestionably will provide a significant impact on their bottom line. We believe that BCWP, based on Malvern’s rich and extensive banking experiences, financial institutions will have a clear alternative to out-of-date legacy systems and the right tool to renovate their financial services activities.”
”We view this strategic partnership as central to our goal of providing our valued clients with solutions that truly satisfy their needs. The vision of the Star Knowledge-Malvern Team is to be at the forefront of the software revolution that will change bank processing for generation to come.” stated Brian Blair, President of Malvern.
For additional information contact:
Star Knowledge Sales Center
About Star Knowledge Technology Alliance Team, LLC
Star-Knowledge is a software services, and solutions provider that delivers high-value results to business and public sector organizations globally, ensuring a level of certainty and quality unrivaled in the industry. We offer a full spectrum of customized software development and support services and open source solutions, Microsoft, and emerging technology business solutions for replacement of legacy systems and introduction of additional mission-critical capabilities.
About Malvern National Services, LLC
Malvern National Services is a consulting and processing services company that is focused on working with clients to find incremental revenue and profit on the margin. We focus on areas of banking that can realize greater performance with less expense. Through association with proven solution providers, Malvern National Services provides innovative and cost-effective banking solutions that support commercial lending, credit risk management and enterprise risk management.
It is estimated that over 70% of leading US businesses currently use or are planning to deploy SharePoint over the next few years, but few have formal content and information management strategies and plans in place! The introduction of SharePoint is providing many of these companies a rare opportunity to take ‘a time-out’ to formally re-examine their core business processes, fully understand and redesign ECM and knowledge-centric systems, and streamline the use of content at the convergence of customer touch points, employees, and corporate IT systems.
Knowledge Compass offers strategic and business and technical level consulting services to assist customers assess their content requirements, design, develop (or customize), and implement ECM solutions in alignment with their corporate business and technical strategies.
Over the last year, Knowledge Compass customers are increasingly selecting SharePoint for their ECM business activities throughout the enterprise in situations where they formally selected ECM point solutions.
A recent review of customer projects identifies that the majority of our SharePoint development customers believe that SharePoint will result in a more effective, efficient, and flexible business environment managed through a familiar Microsoft desktop environment and built on a trusted and extendible platform.
The three benefits reported by our customer’s business and technology leaders with the highest value from SharePoint ECM deployments include:
- Improve User ECM Acceptance & Participation
- Avoid Content Handling Risk
- Increase IT Productivity
Improve User ECM Acceptance & Participation
It is typically understood that ECM project success relies heavily on user acceptance and participation as key critical success factors (CSFs). Briefly, employees who are expected to use an ECM application within their work processes should be able to accept without reservation the new ECM solution as a practical and valuable tool that supports and not restricts their work activities.
SharePoint is a unique solution that provides genuine ECM capabilities to users where they do their content creation and collaboration – inside customized SharePoint group-centric sites that is familiar to all who have used Microsoft desktop solutions. This addresses the challenge that users will not need to learn and identify with a totally dissimilar user interface, navigation, and other content-handling activities.
Our customers report that their ECM project’s user acceptance and participation were improved significantly by SharePoint’s capabilities including:
- Uncomplicated use, integrated tools and rich capabilities to manage, find, and share mission-critical documents and information
- Straightforward to add and identify document meta data to track, find, and share documents and information throughout the enterprise
- Improve decision-making; easily find the right business document or information—regardless of who created it, what format it’s in, or where it lives.
Avoid Content Handling Risk
A dilemma facing most ECM projects is how to successfully design and implement a fully integrated enterprise governance framework that eliminates inefficiencies and waste that have been institutionalized over many years within the enterprise’s content (and information) handling policies, processes and activities.
Our customers identified the below SharePoint capabilities as having the largest impact on the successful alleviation of content-handling problems and risks.
- Information Architecture (IA): defines and categorizes SharePoint site content and format, including Web pages, documents, and lists within a formal IA; provides users a more productive work experience organized within a consistent information framework.
- Taxonomies (& Folksonomies): allows users and groups to craft and manage global and local customized Taxonomies and Folksonomies; provides improved content categorization and quicker access to required decision-making content.
- Metadata Management: supports improved refined and filtered searches for more effective and efficient navigation of SharePoint lists and document libraries content.
Increase IT Productivity
Customers are enthralled by the IT productivity improvements typically realized with use of SharePoint’s comprehensive out-of-the-box capabilities such as:
- SharePoint 2010 works seamlessly with technologies currently used including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft Unified Communications
- Use of Microsoft .NET Framework object models to reduce learning curves and development timeframes
- End user management of their own SharePoint sites without having to contact the IT Team, thus saving time and cost of software expenses.
- Integrate with legacy systems with reduced work effort and fewer difficulties generally experienced in integration activities
- Interoperability through SharePoint Business Connectivity Services provides a standardized method of accessing, displaying, and editing content in legacy system environments
- SharePoint 2010 provides a simple installation and configuration process, including a smooth upgrade from SharePoint 2007
- SharePoint’s provides our customers a pragmatic user-friendly front-end to their ECM solutions. Users and work teams can easily navigate to a recognizable SharePoint site to collaborate, innovate, create content, and make decisions.
- SharePoint allows our customers to save and redirect their centralized IT Team’s technical resources for other mission-critical enterprise developments and support activities.
A knowledge audit is a qualitative appraisal and examination of the enterprise’s knowledge ‘health’. It is about determining the knowledge (and actionable information) required to enable competitive success of the business within its targeted markets.
A knowledge audit includes assessment of the following organizational components:
1. Mission-critical knowledge assets (tacit and explicit)
2. Organizational business infrastructure
3. Knowledge-handling business processes
4. Mission-critical decisions
4. Organizational culture and learning environments
Knowledge Asset Audit Focus
A successful knowledge audit answers the following questions:
- How is knowledge defined in the organization?
- What knowledge is needed to support the business?
- Is a glut or lack of knowledge / information impacting effective and efficient decision-making?
- Where are the knowledge assets?
- What is the format and media of the knowledge assets?
- How does that knowledge flow within and outside the enterprise?
- How is knowledge captured, stored, enriched and exchanged?
- How is knowledge secured against potential loss?
- How is knowledge created in the organization?
- How do workers keep their knowledge from becoming obsolete?
Knowledge Compass Approach
The Knowledge Compass Audit approach includes the below actions:
1. Conduct holistic assessment with key stakeholders to understand the organization’s business, culture, employee universe, products and services, infrastructure and processes.
- Identify cultural underpinnings and learning points
- Determine key decisions in support of business requirements, objectives, and strategies
- Identify mission-critical knowledge requirements
2. Identify and map mission-critical knowledge flows within the organization’s business processes:
- Chart formal and informal knowledge relationships and communication networks; highlight knowledge-centric flows
- Confirm use and source of knowledge within processes at employee and customer touch points
- Identify and create inventory of mission-critical knowledge
- Identify knowledge gaps with knowledge requirements
- Assess use and value of mission-critical knowledge
- Identify knowledge obstacles and barriers
3. Formulate recommended actions to improve effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge handling processes.
The Bottom Line
A knowledge audit creates a powerful advantage for organizations who seek a competitive advantage. Benefits include development of knowledge-centric actions to stimulate improved creativity, innovation and profitability. Specifically a knowledge audit provides recommendations to:
1. Leverage and exploit corporate knowledge assets
2. Enhance and improve quality and consistency of knowledge
3. Mitigate inefficiencies and duplication of current information and knowledge processes
4. Improve worker productivity with more timely access and richness of knowledge
5. Improve strategic and tactical decision-making
The demands and challenges to improve the effectiveness of business processing are placing renewed focus on organizing and homogenizing critical business content into a structured ecosystem. In response, leading organizations are creating enterprise wide content management strategies and infrastructures focusing on people, processes, and multi-vendor technology solutions in alignment with enterprise business and technology strategies.
Microsoft’s SharePoint is gaining widespread attention and adoption as a platform capable of meeting most business workers’ desk top content handling needs. But many companies enthusiastic on the potential benefits of this exciting tool are struggling with the question of whether there is a need to supplement their SharePoint installation with a more robust and function-rich content management engine for enterprise-wide centralization, governance, and support (i.e. Documentum, File Net etc.)
How do enterprise decision-makers tackle this quandary and craft a successful content strategy and infrastructure design? One approach is to conduct an assessment with the key goal of discovering the information that supports the ‘what, why, how, where, and when’ of the organization’s current and future enterprise content handling and process-based decision-making activities.
Key enterprise content handling questions that require study and answers include:
1. Are content business and technical requirements identified, coherent, and accepted by stakeholders?
2. Are vital content systematized within a structured taxonomy, owned and managed, and accessed with a security and permissions scheme?
3. Are content vendor product capabilities, under consideration, been identified and understood?
4. Has content vendor / product selection criteria been developed?
5. Is there a business justification for employing a tiered content strategy with multiple vendors?
6. Is there an appreciation for the potential risks and changes for implementing and supporting a tiered content infrastructure?
Knowledge Compass Approach
Knowledge Compass helps clients access their content handling activities and develop a formal ECM strategy and plan with a structured and time-tested approach, as outlined below:
1. Conduct holistic review of the business environment:
- Establish current content handling policies, processes, and activities
- Identify content handling ‘points of pain’ and critical business impacts
- Identify critical decisions that require content support
2. Determine key user, functional and technical ECM requirements
3. Design or redesign content handling infrastructure:
- Evaluate with industry ECM best practices
- Identify Gaps and mitigations
4. Develop strategy: acquisition, development, integration, deployment, and support of an ECM solution
- Identify future ECM governance policies, guidelines, and procedures
5. Establish ECM strategic business case, potential risk factors and probable organizational and cultural changes
- Identify quantitative value and benefits
- Identify qualitative value and benefits
- Identify risk and exposures
- Identify change to existing infrastructure and impacts
6. Determine content acquisition, migration and population plans
7. Construct next steps and timeline
The Bottom Line
An ECM Assessment provides a consensus-based strategy and roadmap for designing, developing and implementing an integrated enterprise content management system.
Key deliverables resulting from a successful content management assessment and strategy project include:
1. Concept of Operations
- User Content Requirements
- Functional and System Content Specifications
- Redesigned Content Environment
- ECM Strategy & Governance Plan
2. ECM Blueprint
- Logical Architecture
- Information Architecture
- Content, Conversion & Migration Plan
- Implementation Plan
3. Supporting Analyses
- ROI – Return on Investment
- CDB – Cost of Doing Business Analysis
- Risk and Change Analysis
- Best Practice Gap Analysis
In the progressively more competitive and global marketplace, organizations are particularly eager to integrate, leverage, capitalize, and monetize employee knowledge and make it available when and where it is needed throughout the enterprise.
Over the last decade, interest in knowledge management (KM) has surged. Although the importance of knowledge was acknowledged in the past, the knowledge-centric view of the company brought new significance to the value of corporate knowledge by identifying it as a resource with as much importance as financial capital.
There has been a long history in addressing the KM challenge with the “technology-push” approach, directing the majority of resources and effort to customize and implement a system-based solution. Even though KM has been identified by prominent industry professionals as 80% culture and 20% technology, anecdotal studies do not support the realization of these ratios in actual implantation situations.
Though, in the current environment the focus is shifting toward adoption of a pragmatic business-centric strategy with an enterprise-wide KM program that aggressively embrace an assimilation of corporate structure, governance, people, enabling technology, and core processes. The business-centric approach supports a deliberate strategy to institutionalize KM within corporate infrastructure and culture. With fewer employees being required to perform an ever-increasing work load coupled with the unrelenting demand for higher productivity and profitability, it is critical that KM Programs are designed to function effectively and efficiently within the boundaries of a corporate infrastructure and culture. Conversely, companies that tend to lack an appreciation for total enterprise immersion will undoubtedly experience less than favorable outcomes.
Institutionalizing KM requires the identification and assessment all of internal and external knowledge touch points and their impact and potential change to the organization’s core processes and business applications.
There are two distinctive models used to categorizing the KM Program namely, Codification and Personalization. Selection of one or a balanced combination of the two models provides the starting point and impetus in creating a KM Program Strategy.
The deployment of new knowledge-centric work activities typically requires changes and adjustments to the corporate culture, primarily with knowledge discovery, sharing, security, and monetization. These corporate culture elements are generally encapsulated in HR, Salary, Incentive Admin, and Sales policies.
Codification and Personalization
Codification and Personalization are often linked to the distinction between explicit and tacit knowledge that are the key pillars of a KM Program. They typically observe the below conventions:
- Codification is a system-based model for connecting systems and people primarily to explicit knowledge.
- Personalization focuses on a socialization framework with an approach that enables employees to share and collaborate tacit knowledge.
Companies that select Codification generally invest more heavily in a system-based KM Program while those selecting Personalization spend more moderately on the system, choosing to place priority on employee and group interaction and collaboration.
Corporate Infrastructure, Culture and Change Management
Institutionalization is all about inclusion, balance and correlation of KM within the corporate infrastructure and culture. Throughout a KM Project resourceful new structures and activities along with changes to existing infrastructure are identified, quantified, and prioritized for implementation. In both cases – individual employee and group work efforts result in change to existing employee attitudes, manifesting in acceptance or non-acceptance of the KM Program and / or specific components. Change Management is the tool of choice for most companies to drive positive KM policy changes and provide awareness and support to the employee population and a successful KM Program.
The relationships in a KM Program implementation among Corporate Infrastructure, Culture and Change Management are as follows:
1. KM Program components approved for implementation are accepted for:
- Inclusion, balance and correlation with corporate infrastructure
- Positive quantitative, qualitative and risk impact on corporate infrastructure
- Alignment and support of current corporate strategy and policies
2. KM Program is supported by Change Management to:
- Drive appropriate changes to corporate policy and policies in situations where KM is shown to be the better choice on quantitative, and qualitative value points and risk exposures
- Provide employee change management exercises, awareness, and incentives for supporting acceptance and successful deployment of the KM Program
As a general rule KM institutionalization begins with the adoption of practices that supports or aligns with the corporate strategy. KM Programs are composed of an array of diverse components that include: KM strategy (including goals, and objectives), employees, corporate culture, core business processes, and enabling technology.
In order to obtain and/or maintain KM alignment with corporate culture situations will occur where either the corporate cultures will need to be changed or augmented to meet changes occurring within and externally to the organization.
Through the course of KM institutionalization, there is an increasing legitimacy, and / or a general consensus that certain actions are desirable or appropriate within a socially constructed program.
Corporate culture is the workplace environment formulated from the interaction of all employees in the workplace universe. It is defined by all of the life experiences, strengths, weaknesses, education, upbringing, and so forth of the employee universe. While executives play a large role in defining organizational culture by their actions and leadership, all other employees contribute to the culture by their individual and group behaviors and actions. There is a predisposition by many planning a KM Program to take only a cursory look at the impact of KM on corporate culture.
A KM Program should be totally supportive of the corporate culture for promoting a positive knowledge-centric community. This includes:
- Knowledge Harvesting
- Knowledge Sharing
- Continuous Learning
- Developing & Enriching Knowledge Assets
People will often pursue a group trend and conform to the behaviors of others within the workplace. The KM Program needs to obtain a critical mass of users onto the system and others would follow.
In this regard, the company should have in place the policies and tools to ensure that KM is correctly aligned with employee incentives so as to promote a proactive knowledge sharing culture. KM is all about cultural change and therefore should focus on behavioral changes directed towards creating a working environment where knowledge is seen as a common good and where employees are encouraged to contribute to knowledge activities as part of their role’s responsibilities. For this to succeed, employees will need to be empowered and fully participate in the implementation of the Program.
It is well-known that perhaps the greatest blockade to knowledge sharing is dysfunctional employee behavior and traditional organizational culture. Certainly KM practices depends on a high level of goodwill and trust. Knowledge sharing might be viewed as an unnatural act. If knowledge is so valuable why would anyone want to give it away?
Revisiting and updating the HR Strategy with a KM-centric focus will provide the necessary instruments to ensure positive employee behaviors in handling knowledge. It is important to all employees to understand and appreciate what their organization is trying to do and where it is going. After that, they are interested in personal achievements and responsibility. Employees often expect continuous learning and training. Above all, they demand respect, not so much for themselves but for their investment and use of their domain knowledge and experience.
KM is deep-rooted in the need for a modification in an organization’s culture and a fundamental re-thinking of the way that it operates. The success of a KM generally depends on the adoption among the employee population of new attitudes and behaviors, an activity that requires commitment, dedication and, above all, patience by those charged with driving and supporting the KM project. It is no exaggeration to say that the majority of KM initiatives that fail do so because they ignore to take the change-management aspects of the discipline serious.
Change Management’s key goal is to enable improved productivity and profitability. The ability to manage that change effectively is a critical success factor to the ongoing success of a KM Program. It is a truism that companies that fail to address the change concerns and problems that underpin KM will find the implementation quickly becoming an added, unwanted activity that employees are more than happy to ignore than accept.
Ever-increasing requirements and capabilities to process gigantic quantities of business and social media data are influencing notable changes in information technology and business environments. This phenomenon is being described by industry professionals as Big Data and it is influencing product development, market and consumer segmentation, and promotional activities. Big Data is undoubtedly both an opportunity and a threat as the amount of online data is significantly increasing and the tools to manage and manipulate data growing expeditiously within the business and social media segments. Recent market research states that data is doubling every 18 months!
Big Data Definition
What is Big Data? The term describes the tools, processes and procedures enabling an organization to effectively, efficiently, and with flexibility create, manipulate, and manage large data sets and storage facilities. This includes terabytes, petabytes, exabytes, and zettabytes collections of data. Big Data is data generated from customer transactions and obtained from external research and data base providers that is growing so large that it is awkward and problematic to use with conventional data management approaches and tools.
The Big Data approach has been a valuable and evolving customized tool set over recent years among large credit card, communications, retail, and financial companies. For example, businesses like Amazon, EBay, AT&T, Capital One, Google, and VISA successfully manage huge databases that they mine for competitive advantage.
Big Data in most organizations can be compared to an ‘iceberg’ – frozen and somewhat underwater! The frozen state represents traditional corporate format and use standards that make it difficult to flow data throughout the organization. Data is considered underwater when for reasons of privacy, competitiveness, and / or incompetence data is hidden, off-limits and not totally shared with the employee universe.
A Big Data strategy typically includes: identifaction, adoption, and implementation of a technical solution set and; policies on the format and use of the corporate data. Development of a Big Data strategy generally begins at the point where executives get involved with problems associated with the technologies and approaches used to drive and manage their large enterprise data sets.
Big Data and SMB Market
Big Data analytics is no longer just on the radar screen of the Fortune level companies. Increasingly, Big Data and cloud computing in tandem is becoming attractive to small and medium business (SMB) companies. For these companies this technical combo provides high-level competitive capabilities to leverage the la carte economics of elastic computing and adopt a cost-effective Big Data approach to grow existing business and / or discover new product and market opportunities. Because cloud computing removes an upfront investment requirement for purchase of a costly infrastructure, SMB companies no longer face a significant financial barrier for creation of a Big Data strategy and implementation of an appropriate technical solution.
Big Data and Litigation
Attorneys and their clients increasingly face the dilemma of how to efficaciously conduct searches for relevant documents in large heterogeneous digital data sets, for the purpose of responding to court-order requests. Recent litigation experiences show that companies are being required by law to store large masses of content and documents, Email messages and other forms of electronic communication that may be necessary if they face litigation.
The unprecedented size, scale, and complexity of digital stored data now subject to routine capture present organizations with potential exposures ensuing from the failure to submit requested documents in full and on time to the court to avoid sanctions.
Big Data Technologies
Big Data is having a direct impact on web, cloud, enterprise, mobile platforms as many technology vendors are developing solutions to enable optimum management of large sets of data. The noteworthy Big Data challenges and requirements support the industry belief that no single technology will provide a silver bullet solution. Instead an array of technologies that are each focused on meeting specific set of requirements are improving our ability to manage data at scale. Emerging Big Data technologies and the high rate of their acceptance and use are testing conventional business models and strategies.
Idea brainstorming with colleagues is a compelling technique. It enables the identification of new thoughts, solves problems, motivates and develops employees and teams. It is used for new product or service ideas, process improvements, marketing campaigns, new system design, employee satisfaction programs, and virtually any other topic that would benefit from creative group input, positive assessment and collaboration.
Brainstorming works best with a varied group of people. Participants typically gather from various activities across the organization (and externally) with different backgrounds and skill sets. Even in specialist areas, outsiders typically bring innovative ideas that can inspire local participants.
The existence of legendary myths surrounding brainstorming may present impediments to success and should be refuted during planning and conducting of the brainstorming exercise. They include:
- Let’s get only the known experts to participate and brainstorm a problem or opportunity
- I am not a creative person and will not be a significant contributor
- That is a brainless or ridiculous idea and should not be raised and discussed
- Criticism will help improve the idea(s) generated from the participants
- That’s a good idea. Let’s run with it now without discussion
- It isn’t broke so let’s not fix it
A favorite quotation shown below from Edward de Bono, (creator of the concept and tools of lateral thinking) provides insight into the value of ideas.
“It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.”
There are four basic rules in brainstorming that are intended to reduce the social inhibitions and conflict that typically occur in groups and therefore stimulate the generation of new and creative ideas. The successful use of these rules enable dynamic synergy that should dramatically increase the creativity of the entire group participating in the exercise. The rules include:
1. Focus on quantity
2. No criticism
3. Unusual ideas are welcome
4. Combine and enrich ideas
Knowledge Compass Approach
The Knowledge Compass Idea Brainstorming Exercise is supported with a formal and structured methodology, techniques, and tools. The high level approach is outlined below:
1. Identify and quantify the problem (s) and / or opportunity (s) and objectives
2. Create a background memo on the problem and/or opportunity
3. Select diversified participants
4. Create a list of lead questions for the exercise session
5. Determine criteria and scoring systems for evaluating ideas generated
6. Conduct session; use one or a combination of below techniques:
- Nominal group technique
- Group passing technique
- Team idea mapping method
- Electronic brainstorming
- Directed brainstorming
- Individual brainstorming
7. Within above technique(s):
- Identify and document ideas generated
- Categorize, condense, combine, refined and enrich ideas into an ‘answers’
- Access ‘answer’s and analyze effects and results on real value, ROI, risk, cost, and change
- Priortize ‘answers’ options and rank list as appropriate
- Select and approve ‘answer’s for development
- Agree action and timescale for development of individual solutions
8. Create action plan on development of solution (s) to problem (s) and or opportunity (s)
The Bottom Line
Use idea brainstorming effectively and you will see exceptional results in leveraging and exploiting oportunities and mitigating problems.
For example would the below provide a significant value to your organization?
- What if you created a new business model in a value-producing market segment?
- What if you developed new ways of being more efficient?
- What if you developed a new creative product or solution which became the market leader?
- What if you could cut down process activities and bureaucracy?
- What if you improved mission-critical decision-making?