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Wins Prize in Global ECCH Case Awards organized by European Case Clearing House (ECCH), in the 'Knowledge, Information and Communication Systems Management' category

Knowledge Management Initiatives at IBM

Knowledge Management Initiatives at IBM
Case Code: ITSY062
Case Length: 20 Pages
Period: 1994-2009
Pub Date: 2009
Teaching Note: Not Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: IBM
Industry: Information Technology, Software Services
Countries: USA
Themes: IT Administration, E-governance, Public Sector Innovation
Knowledge Management Initiatives at IBM
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case examines the knowledge management (KM) practices at IBM. The company's KM initiatives date back to the early 1990s, when the company was reorganized under Louis Gerstner (Gerstner). Before that, the company was running as silos due to which information sharing was limited. Then, Gerstner included information sharing as one of the parameters in performance appraisal system to determine compensation. IBM's initial efforts in managing knowledge focused on providing information about co-workers and work to enable reuse of the same. This effort started with asset reuse program, which was formalized as Intellectual Capital Management program.

The next stage in the evolution of KM at IBM was Communities of Practice, which were self organized communities, through which employees with similar job functions and interests came together. IBM used several tools like K Portal, ICM AssetWeb, On Demand Workplace, Blue Pages, Collaboration Forums, to capture, share and manage knowledge. The case concludes by examining the challenges IBM faced in its KM journey.


  • Understand the importance of knowledge management in enhancing the competence of an organization
  • Study the tools and techniques used by IBM to capture and disseminate knowledge
  • Examine the role played by the top management to develop a knowledge management framework in an organization
  • Evaluate the ways in which reuse of knowledge can be encouraged in an organization



IBM, Knowledge management, Learning organization, Information sharing, Wikis, Intellectual Capital Management program, Communities of Practice, K Portal, ICM AssetWeb, On Demand Workplace, Blue Pages, Collaboration Forums, Knowledge networks, Knowledge Café, Knowledge Cockpit, Competency network, Innovation jam, ThinkPlace, Blogs

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