Teltech Resource Network Corporation, a provider of research and consulting services to corporations, has been building an Internet portal service that will blend its human knowledge sources with Web resources and published information. The service, called Teltech.com, is currently undergoing beta tests with existing customers and is scheduled to be released in the third quarter of 1999. Teltech has forged a number of strategic partnerships for various content and technology pieces of the service, and has just announced an agreement that will make Dialog's content available to users of the new Web-based portal.
Until now, corporate customers would use Teltech staff researchers, who would search Dialog and other databases for them; there were no do-it-yourself search capabilities. Under this agreement, Teltech.com users will be able to access 300 of the most popular Dialog databases using over 100 easy-to-use templates that Teltech designed using Dialog's Intranet Toolkit. The templates will allow simple keyword and point-and-click searches. According to a Teltech representative, the user will be at the Teltech.com site while working with the template, and the search will then be passed to Dialog's site for execution. Teltech will charge regular Dialog pricing for searches. Users will also be able to set up alerts.
The agreement with Dialog builds upon an existing relationship between the companies. In August 1995, before the purchase of Dialog by MAID, Knight-Ridder Information, Inc. made a minority investment in Teltech, which now amounts to about 15-percent equity of the privately owned company.
Dan Wagner, CEO of Dialog, said: "Our partnership with Teltech is built on the shared belief that effective knowledge creation and management depend on enabling workers to quickly and efficiently access relevant information. This new relationship will allow us to take better advantage of the synergy between Dialog's information solutions and Teltech's ability to integrate sources of information into one-stop custom portal and knowledge management solutions for corporate clients."
According to Teltech, vertical portals are being created for 18 discrete industries, such as metals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, scientific and medical products, electronics, and computers. Each portal can be further customized to allow individual clients to provide knowledge workers with integrated access to internal and external information directly related to their knowledge requirements. On the Teltech site, the service is promoted as a "low-cost ‘do-it-yourself' research tool that will simplify and speed the way you find answers."
Besides access to Dialog and to the people-based, on-demand research services traditionally provided by Teltech, the service will offer a number of other features. In late May, Teltech announced a strategic partnership with Northern Light Technology LLC that will integrate the Northern Light research engine and Special Collection of full-text sources with Teltech.com. The co-branded site will allow Teltech clients to simultaneously search the Web and published literature, with one-stop billing through Teltech. Northern Light will also provide real-time newsfeeds specific to the Teltech industry categories. As part of the partnership agreement, Northern Light and Teltech have licensed each other's search-and-retrieval patents relating to presentation of search results.
The Teltech.com service will also offer clients a directory of high-value Web sites selected for each industry. And every 2 weeks, Teltech analysts or guest experts will write an analysis of hot topics and technologies in each industry. The service also provides an e-mail Table of Contents service through a partnership with Information Express announced in the spring. It offers a way to scan the tables of contents from more than 6,700 technical and business journals and order articles. Clients set up a list of journals and an account for an additional cost. Other resources include live online roundtable discussions with business and technical experts, and skilled researchers who can provide guidance and in-depth research upon request.
"For a knowledge-based enterprise, the chaotic abundance of information available on the Internet has important bottom-line consequences," said Teltech CEO Andy Michuda. "Only 27 percent of the Web's content is indexed by any one portal engine, and studies have shown that Internet users find what they're looking for only 24 percent of the time. For the technical and business professionals we serve, that translates into lots of frustration and the loss of critical work productivity.
"Our portal strategy is focused on helping organizations cut down on wasteful Internet browsing and information overload by creating solutions that allow knowledge workers to efficiently access and receive the precise information they need to do their jobs. Dialog's content collection is central to the demands of our markets. By fusing that content with industry- and client-specific Web sources, our proprietary search-and-retrieval processes, and our human research staff, our goal is to set a standard for custom corporate research portals capable of having significant, strategic business impact."
Taking a cue from other recent portal efforts, Teltech wisely used a partnering strategy to quickly build its portal's content and technology. The company hopes that its unique blend of the human touch combined with a technological tool will help it to stand out among the proliferating number of industry portals and make it the destination of choice for an increasing base of clients. Ron Helgeson, Teltech's vice president for corporate communications, noted that the company's central strategy was to provide a more complete service for its existing clients, which tend to be large corporations, but he acknowledged that the new business model of Teltech.com could open the door to other markets for the company, specifically to smaller organizations.