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These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 18, 1999. All rights reserved.
Cracking Open The Knowledge Bank: Andy Zarolli
In a perfect world every employee would be given a manual
on the first day of work — a manual that contains answers to every
question they will ever have about their job. It could be found tucked
in the top drawer of the desk so that no one ever had to shout questions
across cubicles or spend a full day searching file cabinets and directories
for a report filed by a colleague. Customer service representatives,
technicians, human resources — just about everyone in the business
— would build off knowledge since the day the business opened
its doors and become more effective as a result.
What may sound like a Utopian reverie is in fact a worthy challenge
for today’s technology companies, which are working hard to develop
software that people do not merely use, but also "interact"
with. One of those companies, ServiceWare Inc., a producer of knowledge
management software headquartered in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, is developing
software used for corporations like Merrill Lynch, Lucent Technologies,
and Microsoft. "In many corporations, the single most valuable
item in the whole company is the knowledge in their employees’ heads,"
says Andy Zarroli
Knowledge-Pak items that includes electronic manuals for more than
45 computer applications, from Adobe Illustrator to Microsoft NT Server,
a suite that answers questions about the SAP/R3 business application,
and the proprietary software needed to create a customized, enterprise-wide
system for your business — the Knowledge-Pak Architect. The company
also recently acquired the Molloy Group in Parsippany, which sells
the patented Cognitive Processor — a software product that the
company claims is on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence.
On Thursday, August 19, at 8:30 a.m. a representative from ServiceWare’s
office in Jackson will give a free seminar and demonstration for anyone
interested in learning how knowledge software works at the Hyatt Regency
in Princeton. Call 732-363-0071.
Zarroli walked this reporter through a demo of the Knowledge-Pak Suite
over the Web. I enter a query into the Viewer frame as a question
"how do I…" and click on search. In lightening speed, a
list of answers with thumbnail descriptions returns. "Much like
the search engine on the Internet," says Zarroli, "it brings
all that down to the grassroots level."
Also like a search engine, it can be a roll of the dice. Zarroli and
I both came up with a different ranking of answers for an identical
To buy the KP Suite ($28,000) you also have to buy the KP Viewer ($25,000),
which is essentially a search engine, so it may be too early for knowledge
management in many small businesses. But larger companies that already
feel they accomplish knowledge management through Lotus Notes, Zarroli
says, should at least try the new software. "Lotus Notes is not
knowledge management," says Zarroli. "It’s not quick access
to dynamic info."
The difference between "dynamic" and "static" might
be summed up in the comment of one Pfizer employee who uses ServiceWare’s
KP Architect product: it allowed an analyst working for only three
weeks to answer questions geared to someone who has worked in the
company more than three years.
— Melinda Sherwood
Last week U.S. 1 reported on the six winners of the
state’s R&D Excellence awards, three of which will directly benefit
researchers working in central New Jersey. Now comes news of 23 companies
receiving loan assistance from the state’s Technology Transfer and
Commercialization Program (TTCP), administered by the Commission on
Science & Technology.
The loans, totaling nearly $4.4 million and ranging from $80,000 to
$250,000 are made to high-technology start-ups that can match the
loan amount dollar for dollar and that can convince the state they
will be able to repay the loan within 10 years.
This is year’s 23 recipients include 10 companies in the U.S. 1 circulation
area. The companies, and their areas of technology, as described by
the Commission on Science & Technology:
pre-clinical manufacture and toxicology of a novel anti-asthma therapeutic;
development of a 5 to 10-kilowatt wave power buoy; $250,000.
light-powered micro-transponders in RFIDA applications; $250,000.
Road, opto-electronic oscillators for wireless communications; $242,365.
multiplexed (DWDM) receiver technology; $150,000.
(POEM) , non-contact sheet resistivity tool for semiconductor metrology;
imaging system for ice detection on roadways and aircraft; $150,000.
correct bone graft products made by three-dimensional fabrication;
a commercial maskless patterning system for semiconductor manufacture;
off-grid drip irrigation system; $249,967.
contact the Commission on Science & Technology at 28 West State Street,
Trenton, 609-984-1671. Home page: http://www.state.nj.us/commerce/scitech.html
Zip codes in Central Jersey are more than just bar codes
for postal workers; they can mean status, or lack thereof, as well.
For those who work or live in West Windsor Township, the zip code
has been the cause of an identity crisis. Until February of this year,
most township mail was delivered under one of six different postal
codes corresponding to nearby towns: Princeton, Lawrenceville, Robbinsville,
Hightstown, Cranbury or Trenton. Only one zip code — Princeton
Junction — truly belonged to West Windsor.
Now that the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to consolidate addresses
in the West Windsor area under one new zip code, 08550, all of West
Windsor’s mail is supposed to come through the new Princeton Junction
Post Office at 331 North Post Road (609-799-1054), and either Princeton
Junction or West Windsor can now be used as the mailing address.
Meanwhile, West Windsor businesses that are there because of the Princeton
08540 zip code (including the Carnegie Center, 600 Alexander Road,
and — in the interests of full disclosure — the Roszel Road
address of this newspaper) have been allowed to retain that zip code.
Now a very similar zip code drama is beginning to unfold in Montgomery
Township, which accommodates five different area codes: Belle Mead
08502, Blawenburg 08504, Rocky Hill 08553, Skillman 08558, and good
old Princeton 08540. The issue was raised at a Montgomery Township
Committee meeting last week. The reaction of the Township Committee
was positive, and the question of consolidating all the zip codes
into one Montgomery 085-Whatever will be placed on a Recreation Department
questionnaire being mailed to residents later in the year.
If that feedback is still in favor of consolidation then it is possible
that Montgomery might follow in the footsteps of West Windsor, beginning
first with a formal request to the Postal Service, followed by a feasibility
study and another survey of residents, in which at least 85 percent
must respond and at least a simple majority of respondents must be
in favor. All that takes a year or two.
In West Windsor the question now is whether mail with the old zip
codes is still arriving, and if so is it arriving promptly? Yes, says
the post office. Letters with the old codes are being sent from central
plant in Trenton to the outlying post offices (Lawrenceville, Robbinsville,
etc.) where they are separated out. That very day they are sent to
Princeton Junction by special trucks, and these trucks are supposed
to arrive by 11:30 a.m., in time for West Windsor’s mail carriers
to add the miscoded mail to their daily load.
These special deliveries won’t last forever and, in fact, will continue
only until February, 2000. After that, you will probably get your
miscoded mail one day late, but you will still get it.
"We’re in the delivery business. We will make every attempt to
deliver the mail," says George Flood
"It costs us more money to send it back, if you think about it."
Just to clarify:
address "Princeton Junction" but they use the same zip code
as West Windsor.
should not be using the West Windsor zip code but should hold on to
the prized "08540." Your mail comes from the Roszel Road "Princeton"
day delivery. After that time, delivery will be delayed by a day.
throw out your old business cards and order new stationery pronto.
<D>The zip code change described above may temporarily
confuse the demographers — who assemble statistics for the direct
marketers — and the direct marketers — who attempt to barrage
homeowners with targeted offerings. Is the "new" West Windsor
zip code more like Princeton? Or Hightstown? Or Cranbury?
Suffering from this demographic disarray is Microsoft’s homefinding
makes the broadest possible demographic conclusions by describing
One third of Princeton’s population, for instance, is supposed to
be "up-scale white-collar couples," dubbed "Executive
Suites." They play racquetball, watch "Seinfeld" and read
Rolling Stone and Fortune, but are merely "affluent," compared
to the "elite exurban families" who comprise 16 percent of
the 08540 population. These tennis-playing folks, termed "Country
Squires," read Boating and the Ladies Home Journal, watch the
Learning Channel, and qualify as "wealthy." The Princeton
mix also includes upscale executive families (17 percent) and young
upscale white-collar families (12 percent).
You would think that a similar mix would characterize West Windsor.
Lawrenceville, for instance, equals Princeton in its ratios of "Executive
Suites" and "Country Squires." But no, Microsoft has declared
the 08550 zip code to be 98 percent wealthy, 98 percent "Country
Also subject to confusion are the actual listings in the online directories,
suggests Jack Drake
branch at Southfield Shopping Center, by the way, is a good example
of a zip code that has changed from a Cranbury mailing address to
West Windsor). The most successful online homefinding site, http://www.realtor.com
yields plenty of 08550 listings (when you search by zip code) and
lots of Cranbury and Princeton Junction listings (when you search
by city). But type "West Windsor" into the city code, and
you get zero listings. The site has never heard of that location.
Who can you trust to manage your personal portfolios?
For every stockbroker or financial planner who wins raves from a customer
there is at least one critic ready to take a pot shot: If your guy
(or gal) is so great, then why do they still have to work?
A more objective measure of financial advisors is Worth magazine’s
annual survey of the 250 "most trustworthy" planners. There
were more representatives from financial giants like Bank of America
and American Express on the Worth list this year than in previous
years, but three of the "trustworthy" planners are close to
of Premier Financial Planning in Montgomery
Eleanore K. Szymanski of EKS Associates at 601 Ewing
Ram Kollurri of Global Value Investors in the Carnegie
At Premier Financial Planning (609-924-2524), Herrstrom offers fee-only
financial planning to clients whose average net worth is about $930,000.
Her business ethics were presumably passed down from her father, a
minister who moved around the country. Herrstrom grew up both in West
Virginia and upstate New York, where she received a BA in education
from Nyack College, Class of 1968. She worked for Kepner-Tregoe as
a manager while receiving her MBA from Monmouth University.
Eleanore Szymanksi, founder and principal of EKS (609-921-1016, E-Mail
firstname.lastname@example.org), gives her financial advice in a weekly column
for the Times of Trenton and at corporate seminars for firms such
as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ford Motor Company. This is her fourth
year among Worth’s 250 best, and she was also selected by "Medical
Economics" as one of the 120 "Best Financial Advisers for
Doctors" in 1998. EKS is a fee-only firm with a "holistic,"
or comprehensive approach to planning, and there is no minimum net
worth required to become a client.
Szymanski is also a part-time do-gooder. Before starting EKS in 1983,
Szymanski served on the United Way Board and volunteered her CFP skills
at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. She is still a member of
the Princeton Planned Giving Council.
Ram Kolluri of Global Value Investors (609-452-2929, E-mail: email@example.com.)
has taught at Mercer County Community College, writes a weekly column
in the Times of Trenton, and is one of 55 financial planners featured
in Mary Rowland
Financial Planners" ($40, 800-634-3966). His average client has
a net worth of $2 million.
Born in southeastern India in Rajahmunbry, between Madras and Calcutta,
his father was an attorney and his mother a traditional housewife.
After getting his graduate degree at Pace University, he joined Merrill
Lynch in Manhattan, moved to Princeton in 1982, and left to start
his own firm at the end of that year.
In a May 5, 1997, story in U.S. 1, Kolluri spoke about integrity and
character in the financial world: "Although I grew up in a fairly
affluent and professional family I didn’t have a lot of money to throw
around. I developed a value and respect for money. People’s economic
security is very real to them. You can do damage to them, they are
giving you their trust and their faith. It is very important that
you do your very best and hold yourself to high standards. The clients’
savings are like the life to a doctor. If you take the patient’s life,
there is nothing left."
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