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Planet Intra Debuts Knowledge Management System

Planet Intra Tuesday descended on the quiet sector of knowledge management when it launched a new information system designed to help firms collaborate and communicate more effectively.

Very much in the same vein as IntraNet Solutions Inc.'s Xpedio content management product, the Intra.net Information Management System (IMS) provides infrastructure that adds value to the information that already exists in an organization by allowing enterprises to aggregate that data, catalog and classify it, and distribute it in a controlled environment.

Intra.net has been designed for organizations that rely on dispersing such info as data sheets, price lists, legal and accounting documents and advertising schedules -- basically any Web site that sells products. As this info is often unstructured -- scattered around the organization and managed by employees in many locations, Intra.net helps data stay under the aegis of one virtual roof.

The Intra.net IMS boasts a document management engine that enables companies to build an internal knowledge base at its heart, allowing users to publish information directly to the system or upload documents to be shared with others.

And, much like the aforementioned Xpedio, Intra.net has an suite of collaboration applications, including contact management and scheduling, bulletin boards and e-mail. These applications connect and synchronize with many popular applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, POP3 e-mail, etc.

Suresh Mathai, co-chief executive officer of Planet Intra, provided a theoretical example of a dilemma that a knowledge dissemination app such as Intra.net would help obviate.

"Every time someone in the organization needs to make a decision, solve a problem, or answer a customer request, there's usually a flurry of e-mails and phone calls to locate the right information. Even worse very often, no one knows if the information exists at all, and where to find it," said Mathai. "Research has shown that in most companies, executives spend a huge amount of time merely locating the right information to make the right business decision. The cost and inefficiency of this is enormous."

Planet Intra Product Manager Tim Dorey noted one ease-of-use nugget regarding Intra.net.

"If Lotus Notes has taught us anything it was that a product must be easy to use," Dorey told InternetNews.com Tuesday. "Lotus Notes has a great feature set but we are finding companies are just not using it on a daily basis. We designed Intra.net with the end user in mind. It had to be easy to use and navigate."

Dorey also said that IntraNet Solutions' Xpedio is different in that has selected system requirements that will have to be dedicated to the product. Dorey noted that Intra.Net only requires basic corporate PCs connected to the Internet to get up and running.

Mountain View Calif.'s Planet Intra has made the tool available as both a LAN application as well as a rentable ASP application accessible anywhere via the Internet.