Knowledge Management Initiatives at IBM|IT and Systems|Case Study|Case Studies

Knowledge Management Initiatives at IBM

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Strategic Management Formulation, Implementation, & Control, 12e

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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.

Case Details:


Case Code : ITSY062 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


IT Administration/ e-governance/ Public sector innovation
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 1994-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : IBM
Industry : Information Technology / Software Services
Countries : USA


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.

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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.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
KM at IBM 3
Generating and Sharing Knowledge 4
The Benefits 13
Exhibits 15


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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