Lotus delays Raven until end of April

Discovery Server shipment delayed as early adopters encounter deployment problems

Lotus Development's two-year-old knowledge management project, Raven, has hit another snag. The IBM subsidiary has delayed the shipment of its Lotus Discovery Server until 30 April because of deployment problems experienced by early adopters.

Announced at the Lotusphere user conference in January, Discovery Server is an advanced data search tool that links people to relevant content and expertise within a company. It is the second part of Lotus's Knowledge Discovery System. Lotus K-Station, a standalone enterprise portal in the Knowledge Discovery System, shipped in December and will be integrated with Discovery Server.

Lotus last month said it had to do some "algorithm tuning" before Discovery Server could be released and this could not be performed in a lab setting. Specifically, the company will adjust and correct the accuracy results of affinity mapping ­- associating a person with a topic area -­ and users' evaluations of documents related to topics.

"If more people indicate that a document is valuable, then the strength to that affinity of the particular topic increases and the system gets more accurate over time," explained Scott Cooper, senior vice president and general manager of knowledge management at Lotus. "Information that's less valuable decreases in affinity. That tuning happens over a real-life deployment."

Affinity mapping and document valuation are important issues for deployment, said Cooper. "I think we ought to fix these features before we ship [Discovery Server]," he added. "We don't have monumental issues to deal with here, but they matter."

The beta programme for Discovery Server will be extended until 30 April, and the shipping date will not be delayed again, according to spokesmen.

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