Awards spotlight KM "Best Practice" success Best Practice of the Year Company: Home Depot; Knowledge Company of the Year: Xerox
Posted Jan 1, 2000

With the introduction of the Best Practice Awards, KMWorld recognized a dozen companies for tangible use of knowledge management tools and practices. From those winners, two firms were given particular recognition at an awards ceremony at the opening of KMWorld Conference and Exposition. The Home Depot was designated Best Practice Company of the Year, while Xerox was recognized with the unique category, "Knowledge Company of the Year."

As reported in August, Home Depot has installed document capture and collaboration tools in its Merchandise Accounting Department. In addition to streamlining the bills payable operation, those systems have invited information sharing across departments.

Adam Klein, who now heads Home Depot's Imaging Services Group, said at the time that the company had not yet extended the system elsewhere in the organization, but intended to do so. "Other departments want the benefit of having information scanned and available for retrieval," he said.

KMWorld recently contacted Klein. While six months ago, Klein's biggest challenge was figuring out which areas needed document imaging, the company's task in the coming year is rolling out to all areas that can use the technology. "We have 18 people (departments) waiting for imaging, workflow and knowledge management technology," Klein said. "We've been putting business cases together and prioritizing them."

Klein said that the rate with which departments are automating is the greatest obstacle. "We've been ramping up," he said. "We anticipate two to three projects at a time."In putting together teams to administer the technology, Klein addressed the need to include members with technical skills as well as departmental expertise.

"We have a commitment to add to each group somebody with knowledge," Klein said. "We like to have the technology folks know technology and the business folks know the business." Input Software and Optika continue to provide technology. Optika, which relied on Home Depot as a development partner while creating the EMedia product, continues to co-develop a Web-based solution. According to Steve Maegdlin, product VP with Optika, the companies have spent considerable time discussing plans for extending Home Depot's Web strategy.

"We are working on a number of initiatives and over the next 18 months expect Home Depot to increase the number of production users on the system," Maegdlin said. "A big initiative is implementing workflow. We hope they will be going live soon with the workflow portion of EMedia."Both vendor and client agreed that extending the functionality of the imaging system across the supply chain is a big goal in the coming year. Giving suppliers access to document repositories would provide a Web-based customer self-service that would relieve the workload of reconciliation analysts.

"We have shown them some prototypes of a new Web client," said Maegdlin. "We continue to discuss the possibilities of moving some of their key business processes to the Web.""That's one of the things we're going to try," Klein agreed. "We would hope by the end of 2000, vendor self-service will be a reality and that vendors can look at--and resolve--their own (discrepancy) issues."