Ten Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02019
Executive Vice President
Interview conducted by:
BIO OF Exec. VP & Co-Founder
(email@example.com) is the industrys
leading authority on the challenges of integrating technology and business goals when
designing information management strategies for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Mr.
Frappaolo has assisted many enterprises, large and small, strategize approaches for
enterprise-wide knowledge, e-learning and information management, many of which begin with
a 'knowledge audit' of their organization. He has authored over 100 studies on the
technology of digital documents and regularly provides market commentary and analysis to
leading industry periodicals and business magazines, including Forbes, The
Wall Street Journal, Intelligent Enterprise, Knowledge
Management Magazine, Computerworld, InformationWeek, CIO, INFORM's eDOC, and The Review. He is the
co-creator of Delphis Knowledge Management Methodology (KM2), and Portal
Design methodology. He is also the author of two books, Electronic Document Management Systems: A Portable
Consultant, an extensive text that analyzes the role of the electronic document as the
cornerstone of todays knowledge-based paradigm of computing (McGraw-Hill, 1995); and
Smart Things to Know About Knowledge Management,
the leading primer on this business paradigm (Capstone, 1999).
CEOCFOinterviews Mr. Frappaolo,
please give us a brief history of the Delphi Group.
Frappaolo Delphi Group was
founded twelve years ago at what we thought was a very critical point in the history of
information technology. We saw evolving in
the marketplace, a family of technologies that were going to seriously impact the ways in
which corporations manage unstructured information. This is information
that doesnt fit nicely into a relational database -- for example, documents, pictures and images. We
established the company to be vigilant on the new ways in which information technology was
impacting how businesses operate. By keeping
our focus there, Delphi Group, over the last twelve years, has introduced many
organizations to concepts of document management, workflow systems, business process
analysis, knowledge management, just in time e-learning, and business portals. Today we are talking about issues like, on-line
communities and collaborative commerce. We
see these as connected by their ability to affect a business approach to information
management. We are more focused on the
business application than on the technology itself. The
service we provide is a vigilance for the next new technology that will have an immediate
impact on businesses. We are visionaries. We
introduce corporate America, and global enterprises, to what is coming so they can plan
ahead wisely. We tell our clients how that technology marketplace is shaping up, who the
leaders of that market are/will be and how these organizations should be evaluating the
products coming from those vendors.
CEOCFOinterviews How is your
Frappaolo Our information is distributed through three separate
product lines: research, education and consulting. We do our own primary market research.
That information is distributed to clients via a website, where users are able to interact
with the information published in an electronic format.
We also publish paper-based versions of the information for our clients who still
prefer paper. We also condense our
knowledge into educational seminars, and conferences. These are live-, community-focused
events. We are also adding new ways to participate in these educational events through
innovative web-based access. Lastly we
provide hands-on business consulting where we go into organizations and do a very
targeted, focused discovery of business needs, and how these are or are not met by the
organization's technology direction.. We follow that with a report that details what the
organization specifically needs to do to integrate technology with their business
CEOCFOinterviews What types of
clients need your service?
Frappaolo Our client list runs the spectrum of the Whos Who
in the Global 1,000, and leading government agencies.
We have worked with companies such as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Smithklein Beecham,
Bristol Meyer Squib, American Family, American Express, Clorox, and National Life of
Vermont. We are providing information to
these companies that is helping them reshape their organizations through the effective
application of new technologies.
We do continuous research on
emerging technology areas through a separate branch at Delphi. We are market sentinels, watching for emerging
technologies that solve business problems in the areas of information, knowledge and
business value chains. A recent example is the business portal. From our work with end
users and vendors in the area of knowledge management, we saw the seeds of the business
portal emerging. We dedicated a team of analysts to identify the vendors that are starting
to introduce solutions targeted at the knowledge worker's need for a single and personal
point of contact -- a starting screen on their computer -- that would link them to all the
information resources they used in a typical business day. We learned everything there is
to know about the technology and the vendors and the business cases for portals. We then internalized that and evaluated whether or
not there is a legitimate business need for it. Once
we were certain there was, we defined the business need and architected a methodology to
help businesses evaluate technology providers.
CEOCFOinterviews It sounds as
though your website would have valuable information for investors and shareholders of
publicly traded technology companies.
Frappaolo Investors and shareholders of publicly traded technology
companies could gain tremendous insight because what we do in the market research is to
assess an entire marketplace. Therefore, an
investor interested in a tech stock could learn about the demand for the technology family
they are investing in (or considering investing) and that could lead to more than one
stock selection. They'd learn the potential
size of that marketplace, whether there are commercial verticals that find this technology
attractive, and who is the typical buyer. An
investor would learn about the forces driving this marketplace and determine who are the
market leaders from a solutions provider viewpoint. It is the kind of information they'd
use to assess whether or not the public companies theyve invested in have a strong
current standing in the market place, who their toughest competition is, and what makes
CEOCFOinterviews Does the Delphi
Group have any competitors?
Frappaolo We are not the only company in the world that does
assessments of technology vendors, but we believe we are a unique organization in our
ability to focus exclusively on how information and the way it is manipulated technically,
impact the business' value chain... We do not believe that there is any other consultancy
that focuses only on that area and for that reason we believe that we do it deeper than
anyone else We understand the knowledge management, the portal, the e learning, the
business process and the document space better than anyone out there, because its an
exclusive focus for us.
What has spelled
Delphis success over the last twelve years is our very keen sense for the next big
technology wave. Earlier, when I introduced
Delphi, I said that we started out looking at imaging and text search engines. Indeed
twelve years ago, that was leading edge, though at the time, there was little momentum,
very few companies were using the technology, and most were bewildered as to why they
would even need it. We did not allow
ourselves though to stay imaging and text search engines specialists, although there is
still a need for that and we continue to do a fair amount of consulting in that area.
Today, when you look at Delphi Group's market research and education, we are light years
beyond that first technology focus. Delphi
Group has been successful through the years because we are able to identify the next
killer technology early in the game and frame it in a perspective that is clearly
understood in the business environment. Weve
been right on for twelve years. Search Engines were a successful market place, but they
are not the bleeding edge anymore. We were
dead right again with Document Management. Throughout the 1990s we were the premier
resource for guidance on workflow, Business Process Redesign and Knowledge Management
(KM). We have a successful track record of
knowing where the next big impact from technology is going to be.
CEOCFOinterviews What is the
big, impact technology of the future?
Frappaolo The next thing that Delphi is working on is the concept
of Collaborative Commerce, e-Community Building, and the Wireless Organization. Too often, when people hear wireless they think,
oh thats old, youre talking about using PDAs, cell phones to
access the web. Actually thats a very small piece of it. Delphi is looking at
what the work world will look like when the reality of a wireless workforce has been
achieved. What kind of applications are going to be running in that wireless network? How
is that going to change the way your employees are located, how they get their jobs done,
and how they are compensated? We are looking
at information delivery vehicles, process management vehicles, and how they will operate
in a wireless environment.
CEOCFOinterviews How many
companies are in that area?
Frappaolo I would say that there are somewhere in the neighborhood
of fifty or sixty companies that are doing R&D, or have announced or are planning to
announce availability in the wireless space.
CEOCFOinterviews When do you see
a big push in the product area?
Frappaolo Possibly in another eight to twelve months. You are hearing a little of it right now, but you
will hear a great deal more over the next twelve months.
CEOCFOinterviews Could you tell
us more about e-Communities?
Frappaolo The idea of e- Communities is really interesting and
powerful. It is going to start off somewhat simply, as a way for organizations to better
leverage their intellectual capital. In very
large multinational organizations, for example, it is impossible for anyone to track what
each individual in that company knows. Many
of our clients tell us about incidents where, for example, their people in Japan just came
out with a wonderful new invention only to find out that the folks in the UK have been
working on the same thing for the past eight months. Neither group knew of the other, so
there was no information sharing of any kind! The
challenge facing larger organizations is how do we share what our people know
collectively, and how do we broker our people so that teams are not constrained by
physical location, but rather united by common interests, experience, and vision? And
finally, how do we build "communities that collaborate" and share knowledge,
resources, information within our dispersed organizations?
That in and of itself is pretty fascinating and it is starting to evolve. When we
talk about e-Communities, we see not just that, but also how can the organization start
applying that knowledge and information-sharing expertise outside of its corporate walls.
e-Communities will really test current business models. This gets deeply into the concept
of extended value chains -- how do you start brokering your intellectual capital with the
intellectual capital of partners, suppliers, customers and, dare we say, the competition? But think about it, if you and your competition
start working together and sharing what you know via these communities of like-minded
individuals perhaps -- in the end, you may jointly own certain rights to certain
technologies or products collectively. You
are therefore a competitor in one sense and a cooperator in another. That is more in line with what we envision
longterm when we say e-Community. It takes a
particular type of CxO to appreciate what this could lead to and what it means. Companies such as Dailmer Chrysler, Ford and
GM.are showing evidence of a similar vision. They
think the automobile market is big enough and it is going to become even bigger. If by working with their competitors, they can
grow the marketplace as a whole, they will see bigger profits in a shorter period. They will take what they have discovered in
automobile safety for example, and share that with the competition, so that the automobile
industry, from a safety standpoint, advances more quickly. Buyers will purchase different
types of automobiles, growing the market at a greater speed. Daimler Chrysler can then internally make sure
that their products account for a certain percent of that market."
CEOCFOinterviews What type of
research do you provide on the technology suppliers?
Mr. Frappaolo We
dont just look at their technology, we look at the management team behind the
company, their profit and loss track record, their standing in the community amongst the
buyers and evaluators of their market space.
CEOCFOinterviews How is that
information displayed on you website?
Mr. Frappaolo It is
displayed via annotated charts and graphs, which contrast and compare elements in the
market place. It is also portrayed in bodies
of text and paragraphs, which position the vendor company within their market space as
well as within their technology arena.. This will soon be merged into a personalized
CEOCFOinterviews What types of
services can you offer a CEO.
Mr. Frappaolo The CEOs we
work with fall into two broad groups: CEOs of technology companies, and CEOs of companies
who use technology to make their company better, leaner and smarter at what they do. With the latter group, we work with the CEOs to
build and formulate a Business/Technical strategy that ensures they are using technology
to leverage their intellectual capital to the nth degree, so that they achieve their
marketplace goals and objectives more readily. When
we work with the CEO of a technology company, or one who is thinking of becoming the CEO
of a technology company, (and weve done both), we help them clarify their value
proposition and determine what their chances of success look like. We help them understand the competitive
marketplace into which they are going to be playing. We evaluate what it would take for
them to succeed. We'll also review their product vision.
If they already have a product, we can rate it on a feature-by-feature basis, to
give them a sense of how competitive it might be and what the user community's reaction
would be. We see many new products that
have some very nice features, but if the user community isnt interested in them, it
won't spell market success.
CEOCFOinterviews We would like
to close by letting our readers know that Mr. Frappaolo is available for public speaking
on the following topics: Survival in the Knowledge-based Economy, The Empowered Document,
Information Management in the 21st Century, Building Effective e-Communities,
eLearning, Content Management, Knowledge Management, and Business Process Redesign.
Mr. Frappaolo Thank you
for this opportunity.
The Delphi 100 is a list of leading publicly-held B2B,
e-content, e-learning, and wireless companies. The total number of companies on the list
may change from time to time based on performance and other factors. The Delphi 100 can be
found online at, www.delphi100.com.