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Knowledge Management at Infosys and Unisys : A Comparison


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Knowledge Management at Infosys and Unisys : A Comparison

  1. 1. Knowledge Management at Infosys and Unisys A comparison By Nikesh.N ( M.Tech Student, International School of Information Management, University of Mysore ) Abstract 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 listed. listed 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
  2. 2. has been recognized for developing new products and services and enterprise knowledge sharing and collaboration. 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
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. KM Infosys Unisys Characteristics 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 and turn. 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 them. 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 management process prioritize, efforts to raise the level of KM maturity. 10. Institutionalize KM to ensure that it is sustainable. They have strategized these initiatives through centrally lead, but de-centrally energised
  5. 5. Findings 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 collaboration. 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 dissemination process.
  6. 6. 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 strategies. 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. Conclusion 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.