Enterprise Intelligence Tools Tame Business Knowledge Glut

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published: October 6 2000

Enterprise Intelligence Tools Tame Business Knowledge Glut
D. Geller - October 6, 2000

Event Summary

Skila, Inc. wants to solve some of the problems of the Information Age. The biggest problem, after the glare on your screen, is that there's too much information to wade through. Industry studies claim that there are 2 million new pages of information made available on the Web every day, with more than 50,000 new websites becoming available each week. Skila's own studies of executives in the pharmaceutical industry show that information is beginning to clog the arteries of commerce:

  • For these executives, searching for information occupied 26% of their time

  • On the most used search tool it takes them an average of seven attempts to find valuable results

Skila believes that by 2003, productivity of the average knowledge worker will decrease by 10% as a result of information overload. Skila's solution to this critical problem is to provide discipline specific intelligent searching and knowledge management tools.

Skila's core offering, Global Healthcare Intelligence Platform, which is targeted to the marketing and business side of the growing healthcare and bioresearch industries, has three major components.

The company has developed a customized message-based middleware package that locates, parses and stores information of interest to the target audience. The sites examined include real-time news alerts, public sources such as the SEC, the FDA and the Patent Office, proprietary news from licensed sources like Lexis-Nexus and Dialog, and pay-per-view and subscription sources like Medline.

They also have a technology called Intelligration that combines and synthesizes all of these external data, as well as relevant data from the company's own databases. This synthesis produces a database, called the Intellibase, that provides "concise views of actionable data."

Finally, underlying both of these is a carefully crafted healthcare lexicon that represents more than a hundred years of labor. This lexicon is an essential part of the process of identifying and categorizing useful information from the many diverse sources that Skila uses. Skila's offerings are hosted at UUNet and delivered to customers via the Web.

Skila has just added a new offering, called eWorkbench, this is an internet plug-in product that allows users of the Intelligration technology to apply Skila's knowledge analysis and capture tools to any website. When a user browsing a website presses the "Intelligrate" button that eWorkbench adds to the browser, all Skila-controlled vocabulary terms are detected, highlighted and made "mouse sensitive," and a summary of the healthcare content of the document is presented. Clicking on such a term will cause eWorkbench to access and present related Skila content.

Market Impact

Skila claims about 25 major customers, many of which have a number of divisions that license the Global Healthcare Intelligence Platform. Companies may also choose to employ Skila's platform as an enterprise-wide solution.

While there are many ways for business-side professionals in the healthcare field to find information, Skila's per seat license price seems easy for companies to justify. Skila should be able to capture a significant percentage of the market before a true competitor makes an appearance.

However, when a competitor appears it is likely to take its first shot in another vertical where reducing the time to do research has a large payoff. We're sure that Skila has plans to expand to other verticals too, so they may have to make rapid strategic decisions about when to branch out.

User Recommendations

The CIO or CTO of a healthcare or bioresearch firm should definitely consider Skila. It can be a fairly simple matter to establish need: Assign some analysts to shadow the marketing executives to determine the nature and efficiency of their Web-based research. An overall improvement of as little as 5-10% is enough to justify Skila on an ROI basis. A second step would be to arrange a pilot test to determine whether the quality of the research that Skila presents makes a positive difference to their work.

We think, though, that the real proof of the product's effectiveness will come if you and your staff begin to wonder when Skila will produce the same kind of offering for IT knowledge workers. If that happens, call Skila's Marketing Department and tell them about your interest. TEC already has.

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