PTFS: Findability Approach For Massive Datasets

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John Yokley, Founder & CEO
It is an undeniable truth that data is at the heart of today's business environment. However, capitalizing on all of the information available to a business is easier said than done. Taking into account the unstructured nature of information originating from various departments of an organization; not only do they have to be refined and structured for business leaders to obtain actionable insights but also characterized into relevant areas of the applicability within the business to derive true value. However, the reality is far from this ideal scenario. Information gathered by businesses alike is, more often than not, unstructured, difficult to locate, and of very little use in its raw form, which is an explicit red flag. Poor traceability of content results in wasted resources, unnecessary time spent searching for information, lackluster strategic initiatives, and legal complications, among others. Evidently, the need for a holistic approach to information management has skyrocketed in the enterprise arena – a need that is rightly fulfilled by Progressive Technology Federal Systems Inc (PTFS).

Founded in 1995, PTFS has prolific expertise in the naval technology space. The company under the leadership of John Yokley developed a custom system called TORPEDO in the 1990s allowing the company to collaborate with the U.S Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), a partnership that exists to this day. The TORPEDO digital library serves as a single digital access portal for 19.5 million documents and is comprised of digital books, conference proceedings, journals, NRL publications, standards, and technical reports.

Following its tremendous successes over the years, PTFS has long served as a leading enterprise Content Management Service Platform (CSP) supplier to the federal, civilian, and the Department of Defense. Recognizing the hurdles that businesses stumble upon when dealing with enormous volumes of data, the company devised Knowvation CSP to tackle the findability problem. “We started the business by archiving things, but that is no longer the case; instead, we have rebranded our product from its initial name ArchivalWare to Knowvation (derived from Knowledge and Innovation). Knowvation is now a platform built to collect information and help transform information into knowledge to promote significant innovation,” says John Yokley, Founder of PTFS. The platform features a strong content management approach couple with geospatial functionality as well as technology that enables organizations to find and use data, independent of source, repository, or location. Knowvation's core feature is federating technology, which automatically identifies stored data and produces a federated index in near real-time. This function provides a one-search-finds-all capability and lays the groundwork for data discovery and more effective information management throughout the enterprise.

Knowvation, one of PTFS's flagship products, is employed by a diverse set of organizations with enormous volumes of varying data types that need to be searched and analyzed on a regular basis. The company also provides a framework for developing accurate analytics through CSP, which also allows easy integrations with toolsets, all the while supporting artificial intelligence and machine learning processes.

Highlighting the impact of PTFS, Yokley recalls an instance that he is incredibly proud of, wherein the company assisted the Department of State Overseas Business Operations (OBO) organization in managing information pertaining to all of their buildings outside of the US.

We started the business by archiving things, but that is no longer the case; instead, we have rebranded our product from its initial name ArchivalWare to Knowvation (derived from Knowledge and Innovation). Knowvation is now a platform built to collect information and help transform information into knowledge to promote significant innovation

One of the biggest challenges the OBO encountered during a crisis was that all of their data was housed in both file cabinets and digital repositories; as a result, locating data sets was a Herculean task.Using the PTFS Knowvation, the company was able to collect all the necessary information related to buildings managed by OBO worldwide, digitize it in an organized and browsable federated index, and then provide an analysis and distribution to first responders – an approach coupled with geospatial functionality.

PTFS created structured metadata (such as subject information, domain area, and geospatial location) allowing OBO to limit full-text searches. Unlike Google, Knowvation will locate the exact information the user is seeking at or near the top of the results list even for very large datasets. Yokley goes on to cite an example of how the product proved to be a great addition to OBO. After a catastrophic hurricane ravaged Haiti, reducing the island to ruins, first responders were required to scramble through the wreckage to identify victims. This predicament necessitated the OBO to quickly amass all of the information - from the location of the structures to the blueprint - on the US-owned assets in Haiti. Despite the frenzy, Knowvation was put to the test when required to locate, retrieve and export massive volumes of data which was provided to OBO management for analysis and distribution to first responders. “All of this was accomplished in minutes; when previously, the request would have taken weeks” says Yokley.

After a phenomenal 26 years of tirelessly striving to tackle data management and findability challenges, Yokley is working on a multi-year plan to hand over the reins of PTFS to a successor capable of carrying out his goal of producing world-class products. After years of development, Yokley now has his eyes set on being able to scale up and mass-market the company’s fully mature products and the process has already begun. Using the PTFS Bibliovation Library Services Platform, the company is now the go-to vendor for digital transformation of Technical Information for many government Technical Information Research Centers including over 35 Navy Libraries. “I’m in the process of scaling up, adding AI/ ML to Knowvation and FedRAMP certification for Bibliovation to really take the deployment of our SaaS software offerings to the next level in terms of national and international usage,” Yokley concludes


Rockville, Maryland

John Yokley, Founder & CEO

Provider of an enterprise Content Services Platform (CSP) that collects, organizes and indexes massive datasets to support AI/ML and analytics