A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future   © SCUP 2003
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Tales from the Not-So-Distant Future (continued)



Chapter 2

Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future

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Fusion of Portal, ERP, Learning Management System and Knowledge Management. Since the late 1990s, Virginia Tech has been a leader in using its enterprise portal to reinvent how students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders experienced the university’s services and knowledge resources. Ongoing, cross-departmental design teams progressively fused academic and administrative services through the enterprise portal, using SCT’s Banner suite of products. Moreover, a solutions team used the portal to enable users to experience the campus learning management system, repositories of course support materials, and other academic support tools. This project stimulated a broader campus initiative on knowledge asset management, which brought together several vice provosts, the dean of libraries, the general counsel, executive director of the book store, and Dixon to develop the university infrastructure, policies, and protocols to digitize, repurpose, and share the university’s digital assets. This repository included course materials and learning tradecraft, research, articles from refereed journals, and application assets from public service activities and the Extension Division. Midway through this project, Dixon was given the title of Enterprise Solutions Officer, and entrusted with convening enterprise solutions initiatives of this nature, which she has continued to the present.

New Relationships with Technology Solutions Providers. As the nature of Virginia Tech’s technology infrastructure and solutions inventory have changed, so has its relationship with its technology providers. Tech’s relationship with SCT, its ERP solution provider, evolved into more of a services and solution partnership. As proprietary software and applications were replaced by interoperable applications , the university came to rely on SCT to provide a broad selection of integration, implementation, and solution enhancement services. Over time, advances in Web services enabled Virginia Tech to seamlessly integrate Web-based services into its applications portfolio, furthering the solution provider relationship.


Web Services Extend Virginia Tech Services. Virginia Tech has used Web services to integrate “best-of-breed” solutions into its applications solutions portfolio. It uses Sallie Mae Solutions for billing and related functions. Moreover, under Susan Dixon’s direction, Virginia Tech has developed several “best-of-breed” solutions, including an innovative search engine for e-knowledge repositories. These solutions are being used by hundreds of enterprises.

New Value from ICT Investment.
As Enterprise Solutions Officer, Dixon is called on to justify new initiatives by a sophisticated review process that examines both return on investment (ROI) and value on investment (VOI), a set of metrics that examines the intangible, non-financial outcomes that are enabled by technology capabilities. At Virginia Tech, VOI has focused on the capacity to reinvent business processes and enhance relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders; manage and leverage the university’s knowledge assets and engage in external sharing; create vibrant communities of practice in a wide variety of areas, both academic and administrative; and develop the personal capabilities of individuals and the enterprise as a whole. The university has continued to realize significant value from its investment in technology and reinvention of processes and relationships.

A Continuing Relationship with Alumni. The enterprise portal-based experience has provided Virginia Tech with an instrument to forge an ongoing relationship with its alumni. President Charles Steger has offered alumni free continuing education experiences in order to engage them in a perpetual learning relationship. A wide variety of other experiences have been offered through the portal to engage alumni in the daily life of the university.

Resources of Interest

Hagel, John and John Seely Brown. 2001. Your Next IT Strategy. Harvard Business Review, October, 105–113.
Norris, Donald M. 2002. Assuring Value from Your Technology Investment. White Paper, October.



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