INFOSYS: MEETING THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT CHALLENGE

Kaushal Chari, Grandon Gill
Journal of Information Technology Education: Discussion Cases  •  Volume 4  •  2015  •  pp. 02
Dr. J. K. Suresh, Vice President and Principal Knowledge Manager at Infosys Limited (Infosys), pondered a question that continually needed to be addressed, but never could be truly answered. For a number of years, he had been responsible for overseeing the internal knowledge management (KM) activities of the large, global IT-services company, headquartered in Bangalore, India. The existing system was widely recognized—in case studies, articles and books—for its excellence. But the company, whose revenues for FY 2013 were in excess of $7 billion, was evolving rapidly in its business model. What changes to the KM system, if any, would improve the company’s ability to move its services to the next level?
The particular challenge of greatest long term interest was presented by the company’s Products, Platforms, and Solutions (PP&S) operations, seen by many at Infosys as being crucial to the firm’s long term prosperity. Margins on the offshoring of support and routine development activities—the business that had been the bread-and-butter of Infosys as it grew—were becoming narrower, squeezed both by increasing competition and by rising personnel costs in countries like India. An important remedy to this pressure was to develop software products that the company could sell to its customers as part of a larger package, building an asset category that did go home every night. For KM to benefit these PP&S activities, however, a substantially different focus would likely be required. Traditionally, KM at Infosys had been inward focus, facilitating the exchange of code and experience between the company’s employees, currently numbering over 150,000. Where KM could be of greatest help to PP&S, would be in looking outward—e.g., identifying market trends and desirable features, capturing customer experiences, developing sales strategies, finding market niches. Could a system that was designed principally for internal use later be modified for these purposes? Or would it make more sense to build a new system from the ground up? And what might such as system look like?
case study, discussion case
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