Infosys was as incorporated as lnfosys Consultants Private Limited on July 02, 1981by a group of seven professionals. From the beginning, Infosys...
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Infosys was as incorporated as lnfosys Consultants Private Limited

on July 02, 1981by a group of seven professionals. From the beginning, Infosys relied heavily on overseas business. Infosys hired its first set of employees in 1982 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai. These employees were provided training and were sent abroad for onsite projects. After its revenues started increasing, Infosys started spending more on training and product development. The company's revenues in 1982 were Rs 1.2 million. At that time, computers were not manufactured in India. A task like importing a computer required a license and the process would take several months. lnfosys did not have the required space to install many computers, so the computers it purchased were installed on the premises of one of its customers. The revenues of Infosys grew steadily to reach Rs 10.3 million by 1985, Rs 19.1 million by 1987 and Rs 25.4 million by 1989. In the early nineties, Infosys realized that in order to sustain growth in the future, personnel with generic analytical skills and high learning ability were needed. Infosys decided to recruit such personnel and then train them in specific job skills. Towards this end, lnfosys established its inhouse Education and Research Department (E&RD) in 1991. The main objective of the department was to provide high quality education and integrate it with career growth, to conduct research which would be of use to the company and evaluate new technologies and tools. In 1992, the E&RD encouraged lnfosys employees to provide written documents about their experiences on the job, their learning on various topics relating to software development and use of new technologies etc. Such information formed a part of what was called the Body of Knowledge (BoK). The BoK was updated regularly by the E&RD. Print copies of BoK were shared among the employees. The BoK was the first step taken by lnfosys to bring together the knowledge gained by employees as a part of their day-to-day work. The E&RD was organized into four groups - Programming Languages & Methodologies, Operating Systems & Networking, Database Management & Transaction Processing, and Software Engineering. This organization facilitated consolidation of knowledge and building of expertise. By 1995, the E&RD developed around 40 courses and had 12 faculty members. They handled about seven batches of fresh trainee , with each batch comprising of 30 to 120 trainees. The department also organized some 30 shortterm courses for Infosys employees every year. Every year more than 1000 new employees were joining the company. The E&RD had over 50 employees and due to greater training needs, instructor-led training was becoming difficult and the department was incurring higher costs. In mid-1996, the scope of the BoK had increased with the introduction of a web based BoK. Using the webbased BoK, the employees could submit their contributions and search for required information using the intranet. The information in the BoK submitted by the employees included their own learning, as well as management issues, methodology and cultural issues. In 1996, lnfosys launched Sparsh, a corporate intranet. This enabled easy access to the BoKs and other information to the employees. The other contents of Sparsh included virtual classroom, email, technical bulletin boards etc. Till late 1996, the contributions to the BoK were very few as only a few employees came forward to share their knowledge. Then, the E&RD went in for an aggressive campaign through electronic bulletin boards and internal promotion. It also announced rewards for the best write-ups by employees. Still, only a few employees had the ability to write down their experiences and contribute to the BoK. By 1997, every month the BoK received about ten entries and total contributions to the BoK stood at 400. However, still there was lot of information that needed to be shared within the organization. In order to facilitate this sharing, a 'Process Assets' system was developed. Process Assets This system captured the data filled in by project leaders after completion of any project. The information included a brief description of the project, the target audience etc. The project managers could also add in additional information. This information was made available to all employees. As the number of employees in lnfosys was increasing so were the training needs. In order to address this issue, technology-based learning was integrated with regular classroom learning. This helped to reduce the duration of classroom sessions. In order to maximize value and maintain cost leadership in a highly competitive scenario, it was necessary for lnfosys to use knowledge diligently. The company felt that knowledge dissemination should be carried out through a central system in order to maintain uniformity. Then the Kshop was started in a small way on five PCs which also acted as servers. Taking the feedback from the employees, the KM group made several changes to Kshop. Kshop had four pillars - people, content, process and technology. The four pillars facilitated creation, transfer and reuse of knowledge. Through Kshop, the scope of BoK whose creation and use was limited to one project was expanded to encompass the entire organization. Four dimensions of KShop Repository: • Knowledge Area • The Nature of Knowledge • Target Audience • Source of Knowledge The business units, where all the developmental activity was carried out, did not have time to organize knowledge pertaining to a particular domain or a particular technology. To address this issue, Infosys created two consulting groups to capture and spread knowledge. The two groups were: 1. Domain Competency Group (DCG) 2. Software Engineering & Technology Laboratories (SETL). The topics covered by the DCG were industry dynamics & trends, key players, regulatory practices, accounting practices, etc. The focus of SETL was on technology competency and technology architecture and framework. Knowledge Currency Units (KCUs) In order to encourage employees to use and contribute to Kshop, the KM group introduced Knowledge Currency Units (KCUs) in 2001. All the employees of lnfosys who contributed or reviewed the content of Kshop accumulated KCUs. They could convert KCUs into rewards. Kshop also had a scoreboard of KCUs, which displayed the amount of KCUs accumulated by each of the employees. With the introduction of KCUs, employees were motivated to submit content to Kshop. Within one year of the introduction of KCUs, more than 2400 knowledge assets in the form of project proposals, case studies, reusable code, etc were contributed. Improving the Functions of KShop. One of the problem to the success of the KCUs was information overload. This made it difficult for employees to obtain the required information. This sent them back to their informal networks to retrieve the documents quickly. The reviewers were also too few and they were heavily burdened with the increase in content to be reviewed. It was also felt that knowledge sharing had become a means to earn money and so employees had stopped exchanging knowledge informally. Some of the project groups were not ready to share their knowledge The KM group realized that KM required cultural and social change within the organization and that superior technology was not enough. This made the KM group modify the KCU scheme in April 2002. The new scheme emphasized knowledge sharing and visibility rather than monetary rewards. Under the new scheme, a composite KCU score was introduced; this took into consideration usefulness and benefit of the contributed content. The contributions were now rated not only by the volunteers and reviewers, but also by the actual users. In order to obtain contributions from project teams which were important for the KM efforts, the KM team introduced automated tools, by modifying the forms and templates. Another effort started by the KM Group was to identify knowledge champions, who were responsible for facilitating knowledge sharing and reuse. After these changes, the number of quality contributions to Kshop increased, while the total number of contributions reduced by 37% after the introduction of the new scheme. After the initial decline, the number of contributions stabilized. The reviewers could spend enough time on the contributions and the quality and utility of the knowledge assets increased. By 2003, there were around 6,000 knowledge documents in Kshop and two documents were being downloaded every working minute. While recruiting new employees, Infosys paid great attention to the learning ability of the candidate. As of 2003, there was a central KM group, which was responsible for internal publicity of KM efforts. The group was also responsible for identifying 'KM practice champions' among the employees. The practice champions helped the KM group to further strengthen the KM efforts in the organization. Knowledge Creation and Sharing KM processes at Infosys operated at three levels : • Project level, • Customer level • Organizational level Each project team in Infosys was responsible for designing, developing, testing and implementing the project. During the process, a lot of knowledge was generated and exchanged within the project team. Another source of knowledge was the weekly activity report (WAR). The report had details of all the tasks that an employee carried out during the week, on an hourly basis. After completion of the project, the members of the project team were asked to identify what was right and what went wrong during the project. At the end of the project, a closure report containing important details about the project, duration, resources and corrective actions was written. The closure reports not only created knowledge but also served as a key mechanism to link knowledge creation and deployment at the work group level with the rest of the organization. 






Q1. One of the initiatives by Infosys to promote its employees to share knowledge to its knowledge repository, KShop is through KCUs. It worked well in the beginning; however, the contribution failed to sustain. Explain the reasons why this happened and how Infosys overcame this problem. What are other initiatives that you can propose to Infosys to promote knowledge sharing?

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