Al Zollar, President and CEO, Lotus Development Corporation
Good morning, I am honored to be here with all of you at the historic Mayflower Hotel. I am particularly thrilled to be here in Washington, DC. I really love Washington ... Cherry Blossoms in the spring time, the mighty Potomac River and of course the world famous monuments. These monuments truly represent the amazing capacity of the human spirit to overcome great challenges.
And speaking of great challenges....one of the biggest challenges for government is the ever-rising tide of paperwork and red-tape. I'm sure you and your governments are constantly seeking ways to streamline the bureaucracy and I know it's not easy.
" . . . three copies of everything"
Let me share a quick story with you. Before I came here today I was talking to a government consultant friend of mine. He works with governments all the time and as part of his work he has teams of experts who visit different agencies and suggest ways to streamline their day-to-day routines.
So one day one of these experts visits a federal agency. This guy spends a couple of days looking around, going from office to office, looking at file drawers, storage boxes, literally everything. Finally, as politely as he can, he suggests that they get rid of the clutter. As a start, he suggested that they throw out all correspondence over ten years old.
The director of the agency loved the idea immediately and he replied, "Good thought. But first, we'll have to make three copies of everything."
Well, this director obviously doesn't "get it". On the other hand, you do! That's why I'm so pleased to be at this third annual Lotus Global Government Forum. I'm surrounded by people who get what I'm talking about. And more importantly, over the next few days you'll be around people who get what you're talking about and care about what you care about.
You're going to find the Lotus Global Government Forum to be a great opportunity to share field-proven insights and advice, best practices, and advanced solutions…without a lot of paperwork.
Sharing and networking
Sharing has always been a big part of Lotus. We've been a leader in sharing information and now we're striving to be a leader in sharing knowledge.
I would also venture a guess that you want the sharing and disseminating of knowledge to a be a big focus at this Forum as well.
In fact, I would bet that you want and need to hear about solutions that have made a real difference.
Because you don't want to reinvent the wheel. You'd probably rather hear about all the great wheels already invented by others in this room.
Does that sound about right?
Well, we thought that was the case. That's why we changed the format for this third meeting to permit greater opportunities for you to talk, to share, and to network. Because the more effectively you are able work together here, the better able you will be to apply it when you get home.
I've discovered that for myself in my travels. One of the most interesting aspects of being president of Lotus is the opportunity that I have to visit and talk with government representatives from all over the world.
I would like to share some of the highlights of my travels, but let me reassure that I'm not going to show you slides of me in front of the local tourist spots. I would like to tell you about some of the very exciting things that are going on in government around the world.
The k-economy in Singapore
If you were to take a look at my passport, you'd see that I recently had a wonderful visit to Singapore and spoke with many of their top government officials.
How many of you are familiar with the term "k-economy"? A k-economy is a knowledge economy and it is a phrase that is in the headlines throughout the Asia Pacific region. The Singapore Government's goal is to drive economic growth through enabling their people with knowledge whenever and wherever they need it. They believe a k-economy is an improved economy, trading in intellectual, as well as physical capital.
That's why every citizen in Singapore has high bandwidth net access and the government is building a technological infrastructure that can service the entire region.
Malaysia -- the convergence of information technology, communications, and entertainment.
There is also a stamp on my passport for Malaysia…
Malaysia believes they can match the success of Singapore, but they aren't satisfied with that goal. Many of you may know that Malaysia has created the Multimedia Super Corridor. Most people think of this as an effort to duplicate the success of Silicon Valley in the Asia Pacific region.
In fact, what they are doing is much more profound. They've created a new city called "Cyberjaya". To my knowledge, this is the first city built from the ground up around the concept of covergence....that is, the convergence of information technology, communications, and entertainment.
As a demonstration of this commitment, their 75-year-old prime minister, Mahatir, had an early departure from the recently held Millennium Summit at the UN in New York. He left that distinguished group of world leaders before the summit ended in order to spend a full day with me and the other members of his International Advisory Panel for the Multimedia Super Corridor project.
While Malaysia and it's government certainly have many challenges, it is obvious that they are completely focused on their goal of becoming a top regional and international player in the k-economy. They've already received commitments from over 300 companies, including IBM and Lotus, to locate facilities in the Multimedia Super Corridor.
Berlin and other cities
Another stop included my time spent at our users conference, Lotusphere, in Berlin. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to meet with officials from Berlin while I was there, but I did bump into a colleague from my past, Dave Allin. Dave is a key technology executive with the European Patent Office. For years, the EPO has run a paper-based process. Now they've begun the rollout of an on-line process to apply for a patent. This process will not only improve their costs, but it will also increase the satisfaction of their important customers....inventors.
I've even made a few visits that did not require a stamp on my passport. I recently visited with officials from the City and County of San Francisco. They want to improve the sharing across the various "silo" agencies that form their local government. One of their success stories will be featured at this event, namely their efforts to streamline operations at the San Francisco International Airport.
In the end, what I loved about my visits to these various locales was the give and take of ideas. Hearing the successes and the headaches enables me to understand things more effectively. And you never know who might say the words that resonate the loudest.
On that subject, let's take a moment to look around at all of you in this room.
I suggest that you make it a point to meet, talk, and network with at least one new colleague over the next couple of days. In this age of knowledge, sharing is key because knowledge has little meaning unless it is shared.
Communications across agency boundaries
Speaking of sharing, let me tell you about the recurring themes I found on my trips because I think they will resonate with many of you.
The first issue is so pervasive I don't think I need a show of hands to sense your agreement. The issue is communications - especially across agency boundaries.
And the problem certainly isn't from a lack of trying. In fact, you have to agree with the pundit who stated that we have become the world's first overcommunicated society. Each year we send more, but it seems as though we receive less.
Solving the same problem -- again
In spite of all the paper, voice mails, and e-mails generated, people in different agencies simply haven't been communicating effectively. As a result, there is a lot of re-inventing of the wheel going on. One group works on a topic and if we're lucky they tell the rest of the organization. The only problem is that it gets lost as item number 17 in an enormous e-mail.
Consequently, another group starts working on the problem, unknowingly and independently. Each group is spending the same time and spending the same money on solving the same problem. In the UK, a research effort uncovered the fact that seventeen different departments and agencies were doing research on similar aspects of Russia. They were not connected....they were re-inventing the wheel.
We simply must find ways to get everyone connected - not just within one agency or even in one government. Electronic communication is erasing borders and boundaries, and we must take advantage of the capabilities that are available to us.
Why can't we do it? Why is this so difficult? We are all bright people. Granted we're more than a little busy, okay, we're overwhelmed sometimes, but I don't think that is the issue. As we make a transition into the age of knowledge those of us who are firmly rooted in the status quo have a different learning curve until we "get it."
I would like to share with you a personal story about a group of people who "get it". Who are truly living the evolution that is taking place. Young people. Young people are attuned to this.
My "precocious" 15-year old son AJ gets it. I can be sitting at the dinner table with him and if I ask him how his day at school was, I'm lucky if I get a grunt. I'm thrilled when he grudgingly says, "okay". Yet when my son sits in front of the computer, he carries on 5 or 6 different instant messaging conversations all while he's simultaneously talking on the phone. And this not-so precocious 46-year old father just stares in amazement.
He gets it. I'm still learning.
Victor Ferkiss, a professor of government at Georgetown University, argued 25 years ago that the key to understanding the changes of modern society lay in the fact that communication, in the broadest sense of the word, was replacing work as the foundation of the technological system.
Electronic information and knowledge, particularly in the form of computer-based network communication, have become the central elements around which our society is increasingly organized. We're just now catching up to what Ferkiss predicted.
Doubling knowledge through the transfer of it
If the problem has been communication, the issue we face today is a concept I refer to as knowledge transfer. It has been said,
"Knowledge grows when shared and grows when used; unused knowledge deteriorates."
Think about the fact that knowledge is an asset that is the opposite of capital. If, for example, I give you some money, you have the money and I don't. If, on the other hand, I give you some knowledge, you gain it, but I still keep it. The power of the knowledge is doubled.
Let me give you an example of how unused knowledge deteriorates. When I was in high school, I took German. I studied and used it everyday. I even began having dreams in German. My knowledge of German was a growing knowledge. Today, it's depreciating.
Why? Well unless I am looking for the library in Berlin, the fact that "Wo ist die Bibliothek?" is one of the few German phrases I remember does me no good. My German is an asset that has deteriorated and depreciated. That's why we need to work so hard to use our knowledge and share it so that others can use it as well.
Fortunately, there are other elements of knowledge I can call on as I travel the world. Learning how to listen has served me well, which brings me to another major issue that I've heard. I refer to it as the talent gap. It is becoming increasingly challenging to attract and retain people these days. This issue is especially pronounced here in the US with our military and other civil servants.
The question we all face is how do you maintain the knowledge base in your organization when people are leaving their government posts in record numbers to pursue opportunities in a very hot labor market? Well, I'll come back to you later on that one but for now let's talk about the final major issue that I know you'll all recognize…
Governments meeting the needs of their customers -- the citizens
As our citizens become more technologically empowered, governments must respond in kind. Government needs to be ready to meet these demands. People today expect to be valued as customers -- even by government.
I know it is hard for some government workers to believe but many citizens would actually prefer to renew their licenses on-line in five minutes versus standing in-line for five hours.
Additionally, there is a significant cost savings. A state of Arizona study found that online license renewals cost about $2 per transaction compared with $7 for over-the-counter ones.
A government, at any level, must have a technology vision that should go much further than simply putting up a Web site.
Janet Caldow, director of IBM's Institute for Electronic Government here in Washington has said, "We're now seeing jurisdictions—states and cities and so forth—that are looking to put hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of services online. [Those might be] paying a parking fine, renewing a real estate license or getting a fishing permit—many of the things that used to have to be done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., over the counter with another person."
We are all working towards the development of an e-government that will provide more accessible services to citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In fact, the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair said in a recent speech to the House of Commons, "The Internet is the fastest spreading technology ever. It is growing exponentially - literally - with use doubling every 100 days."
As a result, he has set revised targets for all government services to be offered online by 2005. You will have the opportunity in this conference to hear how the UK government will achieve this goal.
E-government is the next revolution
In short, e-government is the next revolution in government where functions get closer to the people.
Effective e-government will not only provide faster services and eliminate having to navigate through multiple government agencies. It will also reduce costs by streamlining current operations.
The goal of effective e-government is in concert with Lotus' strategy as we enter the Age of Knowledge.
Now at this point you've heard me mention the "k-economy" and the "Age of Knowledge" on a couple of occasions. So what exactly am I referring to when I use this term?
Well, today we are on the cusp.
The age of knowledge
If the end of the last century was the Age of Information ... the beginning of the new Millennium is the Age of Knowledge. But, as with any change, there are some hurdles to overcome and Lotus is focused on overcoming those hurdles.
During the Age of Information televisions, wired telephones, snail mail and e-mails predominated our communication. And we received plenty of information.
One study pointed out that more information has been produced in the last 30 years than in the previous 5,000 combined. A weekday edition of the New York Times has more information in it than the average 17th century man or woman would have come across in an entire lifetime. About 1,000 books are published internationally every day, and the total of all printed knowledge doubles every five years.
Today, we are in a frenzy to acquire ever more knowledge, firm in the belief that the more we possess the more powerful we become. In the 17th century Sir Francis Bacon wrote "Knowledge itself is power." Webster's dictionary defines knowledge as "understanding acquired through experience".
That depth of understanding through experience is exactly what we are working so hard to reach in this Age of Knowledge.
So the question is how do you find knowledge in your organization? An even harder question is how do you find the expert who has the knowledge?
The age of information has given us the ability to seek the answer to a question through a variety of different means.
In the beginning there was the letter. If we had a question, we would write a letter to someone whom we thought knew the answer. Our prerequisites? We had to know the person's name and current address. We also had to cross our fingers that the message would actually be delivered.
Next came the telephone. Once again, we needed to know a name. But this time we needed a different kind of address ... a telephone number. We also worked under the assumption that the person would be at that specific, landlocked position at a particular time to receive our phone call.
More recently we have begun to see variations of this theme ... Things like mobile phones, PDA's like the Palm Pilot, and two-way pagers. These tools removed the prerequisite of being at a particular place at a particular time, but we still needed to know the name and a number as to how to reach the person.
Added to this mix was asynchronous e-mail, again still requiring that you know a name, but now also requiring an e-mail address which only occasionally bears any similarity to the person's actual name.
This is where we find ourselves at the end of the Age of Information.
To move to the Age of Knowledge, we need to alleviate some of these requirements.
And that's what Lotus is doing.
Enabling you to enter the age of knowledge
Lotus is providing the technology that will enable you to enter the age of Knowledge. By leveraging this technology the only thing you'll need to know is the question to ask.
You will no longer need to know where to look for information or how to find an expert. You won't even have to worry about how to reach that person.
You see in the past you could try surfing the net to try and find the right answer to a pressing question. But unfortunately, as all of us who have used search engines know, this is a hit or miss proposition.
Why? Well, it's because the search results are only as good as the folks who are classifying the information. For example, at Yahoo there are close to 100 cyber-librarians. These are real people ... constantly classifying, categorizing, and organizing information to improve your search results.
Replacing 100 cyber-librarians
In the age of knowledge, Lotus is taking this concept a big step forward by letting the system take care of this work for you. That way you don't have to hire 100 cyber-librarians to classify your departments material so that your people can find the answer.
The knowledge discovery technology developed by Lotus enables you to pose the question and the system will now peruse the best available information to help you find the best answer to your question.
This is a fantastic start but these results are only as fresh as the documents that reside on your network. But what if you want more? You need the absolute latest information and new perspectives. You want to communicate with an expert. But who is this person?
Well, in the age of knowledge, you can find that person. Lotus is also developing leading edge technologies that enable expertise location.
So how do we do it? Well the premise is quite simple. Our research has shown that your personal knowledge base can be pretty well approximated by what you write and read ... E-mails, white-papers, research reports, etc... So, if you choose, and only if you choose, the documents you write and read can be analyzed to define to your expertise profile.
Now, since this profile is just like any other document on the network it can be searched, thereby enabling the person seeking the answer to find not only the information and documents that they need but a bona fide expert as well.
OK. Now that you've found that person how do you reach out and contact them. Well the answer starts with on-line awareness. This capability not only lets you know whether someone is connected to the network or not, it lets you know their preferred communication device at the moment ... computer, mobile phone, pager or PDA.
Once you know that they are on on-line you can begin a real-time conversation. This is known as synchronous or instant messaging .....also commonly referred to as chat. In a vocational setting, instant messaging provides real value by enabling you to get the response you need instantly as you and your team are addressing a problem.
In a nutshell ...you can find the knowledge through knowledge discovery, identify the experts through expertise location, and communicate with the experts via instant messaging. Lotus is in a unique position as a company that provides innovative technology and solutions in all three of these areas which open the door to The Age of Knowledge.
At Lotus we are focused on helping you reach the Age of Knowledge by devoting our energy toward a concept that we call Knowledge Transparency. Knowledge Transparency happens when the information, knowledge and expertise are available and accessible to you no matter where you are.
Remember, AJ? My 15-year old? Remember how I talked about how young people get it? Sometimes when AJ is having homework trouble, he instant messages a friend who he knows can provide him with the knowledge he needs. That's Knowledge Transparency. He was able to instantaneously find the right person he needed at the time he needed, to help him deal with his homework.
Simply put, our goal is to create that same expert accessibility for our customers. Our strategy is consistent whether we are looking at the private or the public sector. We believe that as governments, companies and other organizations make the transition from the old economy to the new economy ... many are unable to keep up with the rate of change.
· <slide>Rate Of Change, Rate Of Learning
When the rate of change outstrips the rate of organizational learning ... the result is what I call a knowledge gap. It's the difference between what an organization knows ... and what it needs to know to be accomplish its goals.
<slide> Knowledge Gap
Helping you achieve Knowledge Transparency
At Lotus our strategy is to narrow and potentially close this knowledge gap, by helping you achieve Knowledge Transparency.
We do this through three primary product and solutions initiatives: Messaging and Collaboration, e-Learning and Knowledge Management.
Messaging is the core technology for secure email based communications. It provides the foundation for collaborative applications that streamline processes and improve responsiveness.
State Government of Guanajuato, Mexico -- Services by the Internet
Let me share with you a story about the State Government of Guanajuato, Mexico, who has been using Lotus Notes and Domino as its standard platform for communication and collaboration for the past four years. During this time, the usage of this infrastructure has grown, starting as a simple mail service and evolving to a series of services that include workflow, web hosting and general intranet services.
More importantly, today this service is used by about 2,000 people. The main server hosts the official Web page of the State Government of Guanajuato, and recently has begun to be used to offer on-line services to the citizenship. A whole e-government strategy is being developed so in five years all the services given to citizens can be obtained directly from the Internet, without limitations of time or distance.
Now, let's take a look at e-learning from a government perspective.
E-learning will close the gap
As government increases its service offerings, government employees will have a widening knowledge gap, unless they are well-trained. E-learning will close the gap. The question is how to make e-learning accessible. Lotus understands that effective learning occurs in various ways. By providing self-paced, collaborative and real-time delivery capabilities, organizations can match learning content with the most effective delivery mode, and thereby carry out their strategic e-learning initiatives.
The State of Minnesota began working in March of this year to find an e-learning solution to train employees on social service options and administration of policies for the department of Children and Family Services. Their goal was to provide Individual Development Plans for 'special needs' children. They wanted to provide parents, teachers, and government employees access to information on the children and provide feedback on the progress and services for the child.
The application was built using Lotus Domino, but it was also used as a model for e-learning - with Lotus LearningSpace being the technology used to deliver the curriculum for this program.Content was pulled in from the Department of Human Services manuals and experts in the field. It was jointly developed for on-line usage by Lotus, a Lotus Business Partner and the State of Minnesota, Department of Human Services.
Our third initiative is in the area of Knowledge Management. Knowledge travels through a process that transforms it from being locked inside information systems and the heads of employees to being captured and packaged in reusable and searchable form.
Knowledge management is as much cultural as it is technological. A culture that does not foster and reward sharing of knowledge cannot expect technology alone to solve its knowledge challenges.
Whitehall Knowledge Network Project -- cross-government knowledge initiative
As I mentioned, I was recently in Berlin for our users conference, Lotusphere, where I first met Nikki Oppenheimer Fellow of Knowledge Management from the UK Cabinet Offices Centre for Management and Policy Studies. We were discussing the UK Government's Whitehall Knowledge Network Project, a cross-government initiative, which is deploying Lotus technology to create one of the most advanced government Knowledge Management systems in the world.
With plans to enable every Government department, the Whitehall Knowledge Network was developed to manage the design and deployment of a collection of dynamic applications. It will also contribute to the sharing and exchange of information, knowledge and evidence-based policy making. This will lay the foundations for on-line collaborative work, real-time virtual meetings and knowledge management. This is truly the coming of the Age of Knowledge.
Yes, Lotus is working all over the world with governments and over the next couple of days you'll have a unique opportunity to hear from many of the people who were integrally involved in these successful efforts.
Any organization in the public sector needs to solve critical problems, disseminate crucial information, collect revenues, streamline operations, and keep efficiency high. In these areas and more, technology can revolutionize the way governments work. Messaging & Collaboration, e-learning and Knowledge Management are all essential parts of the revolution.
Now, the public sector has more solutions than ever to choose from and citizens expect government to deliver. Steve Kolodney, who heads the Department of Information Systems for Washington State in the US describes the problem we face in a very positive fashion, "It's not so much declining trust in government, as rising self trust. People now have the information they need and want to make decisions about their lives."
To learn from each other
We manage knowledge so that we can learn from each other.
We at Lotus are here to listen. We want to listen. We need to listen. But I must confess, this forum isn't only about listening.
In fact, we have outstanding speakers and we are particularly honored to have General Colin Powell here with us. His keynote address, "The Management of Crisis and Change," will prove to be an ideal primer for working in The Age of Knowledge.
You'll also be hearing from Mark Lenci whom I feel personally fortunate to know and whom Lotus was lucky enough to retain after his distinguished career as a naval officer and captain of a nuclear sub. Mark has an inspirational story about leadership and teamwork that ultimately led to the best knowledge - equipped battle group in the US Navy.
However, in many ways the most influential speakers may prove to be all of you as you share your experiences and successes with your colleagues from governments from all over the world and your colleagues from Lotus and IBM.
George Boersma, the chief information officer of the state of Michigan summed it up succinctly: "Due to the internet, customers expect service now more than ever. They see the availability in the business world and we, as their government services provider, have to match that."
Over the next few days, I look forward to speaking with you about your goals and destinations on this journey to matching that vision.
Thank you and have a great Forum.