Knowledge Management at Infosys and Unisys : A Comparison
Knowledge Management at Infosys and Unisys
( M.Tech Student, International School of Information Management, University of Mysore )
Knowledge management is very significant for any organization in this highly
competitive world and software companies are not exception to this. Organizations
need more than just human capital to successfully distribute and use their employees'
knowledge. Knowledge might be inexpensive, but effectively using and managing is not
the same. This article reviews and compares KM practices at Infosys & Unisys and
highlighting their strategies in developing content, culture, capacity, community
building, etc. Similarities and differences in their implementation strategies are also
Company Background: Infosys
Infosys is an IT consulting and software services organization headquartered in Bangalore, India.
Founded in 1981.Infosys (NASDAQ: INFY) defines, designs and delivers IT-enabled business
solutions that help Global 2000 companies win in a Flat World. These solutions focus on providing
strategic differentiation and operational superiority to clients. Infosys has over 1, 00,000 employees
in over 50 offices worldwide. Infosys is part of the NASDAQ-100 Index and The Global Dow.
KM intitiatives at Infosys
Infosys has always been recognized for its KM initiative and efforts at world level. Adding a
feather in its cap, Infosys has been recognised amongst the top 16 Asian companies to be listed in
the prestigious Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) study, 2009.
Infosys has won the Asian MAKE award six times in the past and is one of the five Indian
companies amongst the leading Asian corporations to have won the award this year. Infosys was the
first Indian company to win the Global MAKE award in 2003 and to be inducted into the Global
MAKE Hall of Fame in 2005. Infosys has also won Global MAKE award for the year 2008.Infosys
has been recognized for developing new products and services and enterprise knowledge sharing
During the past several years, Infosys has made a concerted effort to provide an integrated solution
to meet the knowledge needs of the organisation in the four basic dimensions of knowledge
management - people, process, technology and content through an integrated knowledge
management (KM) solution.
Since its inception, Infosys gave importance to learning in the organization. Its efforts to assimilate
and distribute knowledge within the company began with the establishment of Education and
Research Department in the year 1991. The department began gathering content and knowledge that
was available within the organization and the scope of the department grew with the launch of
intranet. A fully fledged KM program began in 1999 with the launch of Kshop. Through Kshop,
knowledge generated in each project across the global operations of Infosys was captured. Infosys
KM initiative for domain areas like software engineering is built on the KM Maturity Model, and is
promoted via the motto Learn once, Use Anywhere. A particularly useful incentive scheme consists
of knowledge Currency Units, (KCUs), whereby employees can award points to knowledge assets
posted by their colleagues and can also earn points when their own posted knowledge assets are
utilized or ranked by their colleagues.
Company background: Unisys
Unisys is a global information technology services and solutions company whose 37,000+
employees help clients in more than 100 countries achieve competitive advantage. Unisys serves six
primary vertical industries: financial services, public sector, communications, transportation,
commercial and media. Unisys also manufactures high end server technology such as the Unisys
Enterprise server ES7000 for mission critical data centers.
KM initiatives at Unisys
Unisys follows a centrally lead but de-centrally energized initiative. KM objectives at Unisys range
from workforce transformation and capture of proven practices to develop organizational agility and
enhancing stock valuation. A formal initiative was launched in August of 2000, with special focus
on 11 critical success factors which are explained in the analysis section. Architecturally, this is
facilitated via the knowledge.NET portal ‘Ask Knowledge’- NET expertise location management
application. Fifteen communities of knowledge are operational. For building capacity among the
organization, various introductory courses like KM@Unisys are available though Unisys
University. Other features are analysed in the following sections. Unisys knowledge portal has got
DCI/DM Review Portal Excellence Award in 2005 and 20th Annual CIO 100 Awards of CIO
Magazine in 2007.
Analysis and Comparison of Knowledge Management framework at Infosys & Unisys
Both Infosys and Unisys are having units all over the world, and thousands of employees from
different countries and cultures are working. Both companies have developed robust Knowledge
Management system for taping both explicit and tacit knowledge needed to full-fill their business
objectives and smooth flow of information within the organization and from outside environment.
Implementation strategies adopted by the two organizations are different in some aspects and
similar in some other aspects. The following table shows the comparison of Infosys’s and Unisys’s
KM characteristic and implementations.
KM Infosys Unisys
Aim To move towards a "Learn Once, Use To set up a system that defines the process, tools
Anywhere" paradigm. and behaviors needed to deliver the right
content, in the right context, to the right people
at the right time.
Objectives i. To minimise the efforts dissipated in redoing i. Transform the workforce to one that
learning that has already happened elsewhere, capitalizes on business opportunities at every
ii. Ensuring that Infosys employees (Infoscions)
in contact with the customer have the collective II. Leverage experience
and organised knowledge of the Infosys with Leverage expertise
Hire & retain the best people
Unify the company
Develop organizational agility
Accelerate marketplace delivery
Enhance image of the company
Enhance stock valuation
Goal Delivering all organisational learning to benefit Transform the way individuals in the
the customer. organization leverage knowledge assets to
support the fast action, optimal decisions and
innovation needed to drive customer value
Strategy Knowledge Management Maturity Model. Based on critical Success factors identified.
KMM- Knowledge Management Maturity They are
Model is based on the realisation that path to
1. Align K M goals to the corporate strategy
achieve KM success involves significant
changes: 2. Build the technology infrastructure to
a. In the working culture, support KM
b. In the Processes of the organisation, and
3. Focus on strategic knowledge communities
c. System in the organisation.
ii. Instead of taking one giant leap a staged 4. Establish a multi-dimensional framework
frame work is done under progressive linking communities to the business
development. The most well established model
5. Approach KM as a holistic business system
available today to/ for managing changes in
phased manner is Software Engineering 6. Establish community goals that align
Institute's (SEI Carnegie Mellon Institute) business and member drivers
Capability Maturity Model (CMM). 7. Integrate KM processes to business process
iii. Further the purpose of KMM Model is
twofold: 8. Recognize that KM is a process, not a
a. To provide framework, this can be used to project
assess current level of KM maturity, 9. Establish metrics and a performance
b. To act as a mechanism to focus, and help
prioritize, efforts to raise the level of KM
maturity. 10. Institutionalize KM to ensure that it is
They have strategized these initiatives through
centrally lead, but de-centrally energised
Key features of KM frame work in Infosys are as follows
1. A KM team in the learning unit
Infosys management decided to locate the KM team in its Education & Research (E&R) group,
outside of its mainline business units. To enable the team to enforce changes in the organization as a
whole, they bolstered the KM team's influence by giving it a high-level steering committee that
included many members of the board of directors and several other heads of business units.
2. A decentralized architecture
Content management is handled by establishing a set of satellite repositories, owned by local groups
and affiliated with the central KM repository. The central KM team coordinates the KM promotion
effort, with a large network of KM "promoters" across business units who are responsible for
promoting KM in their respective teams.
3. Incremental scope
The KM solution at Infosys was rolled out incrementally, first to a few research units and other
support functions, then to several technical groups in the service delivery units. Only after covering
most of the technical community was the solution extended to cover customer-facing groups, such
as sales and marketing.
4. Content first, then collaboration
The KM solution was initially all content-based. This strategy, based on the theory that ramping up
sufficient content for the chosen target audience will make the rollout of the KM solution to that
audience successful, has worked very well. Only after the content-based solution had generated
sufficient enthusiasm and support across the organization were other elements developed to support
5. Voluntary participation
An important principle for KM at Infosys has been not to force employees to use the KM system. In
the early stages, direct incentives were offered for participation. Later in its KM journey, the
promotion scheme was changed to focus more on awards and recognition, rather than monetary
rewards. Introduction of KCM (Knowledge Currency Units) is really providing a boosting effect.
6. An in-house solution
While specialized KM products have been evaluated periodically for various functionalities, even
those products touted by suppliers as "comprehensive KM solutions" have never been able to cater
to all of the company's KM requirements.
Key features of KM framework in Unisys are as follows
1. Centrally lead , but decentrally energized Initiative
2. Based on critical success factors identified.
3. Knowledge Community concept accepted at Unisys take a holistic approach to KM. It
allows communities to form around self-described interests, but it does not allow employees
to waste time on communities that are not tightly aligned to a corporate goal. 70 + officially
chartered knowledge communities are set up.
4. Introductory learning course provided through Unisys University is very helpful to make
people aware about KM and for capacity building for the knowledge sharing and
KM system: similarities and contrast between Infosys and Unisys
Both the company’s vision and objectives are to set a smooth KM system which ensure capturing
and disseminating all knowledge necessary to satisfy their business objectives and ultimately serve
the customers better. In both the companies adequate technology back up are facilitated for
connectivity between geographically separated units and people. For capturing the content and its
preservation, both companies have developed Knowledge portal namely Kshop in Infosys and
Knowledge.Net in Unisys. All the employees are provided access to the portal and encouraged to
submit their knowledge tips and bits to knowledge repository. In both the companies various
measures are there to build knowledge culture and capacity among employees to share and use
knowledge. The following are the significant differences seen in the implementation of KM
Infosys follows KMM- Knowledge Management Maturity Model which is based on the realisation
that path to achieve KM success involves significant changes in the working culture and in the
processes of the organization. Instead of taking one giant leap a staged frame work is done under
progressive development. Unisys identified some critical success factors to be followed for the building of
KM system which has been discussed in the analysis part. They have strategized these initiatives
through centrally lead, but de-centrally energised framework.
Regarding Knowledge communities, Infosys allows making of communities by interested group employees
based on their interest to share their views and ideas across all the units. Online collaborative tools
like wikis; blogs etc are being used to facilitate the communication. Normally Management don’t
impose any control over such communities.
But in Unisys, communities are centrally formed by expert group specifically set up for this
purpose. They will identify the need for communities in different subject field related to its business
objectives. It does not allow employees to waste time on communities that are not tightly aligned to
a corporate goal. 70 + officially chartered knowledge communities are set up.
Both Infosys and Unisys have recognized the importance of proper Knowledge Management
System and implemented using proper strategies suitable for their environment. From the survey
results it is evident that almost all employees of the both organization have understood the value of
KM to the organization and the individuals. Both companies have won international awards for
setting up and running efficient KM system in respective companies. Both companies are trying to
incorporate latest trend in KM research and development by setting up separate KM research team
in respective companies.