Business Case Studies, Innovation and New Product Development Case Study, From Community of Practice,Demand Workplace: IBM’s Journey in Knowledge Management

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Innovation and New Product Development Case Study

Case Title:

From Community of Practice to On Demand Workplace: IBM’s Journey in Knowledge Management

Publication Year : 2005

Authors: Minita Sinha, M.P. Jayaprada

Industry: Consulting


Case Code: IPD0045B

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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In 2004, IBM was the world’s largest information technology and Services Company with revenue of 96 billion dollars. IBM Global services, largest unit of IBM had played a very active role in starting the knowledge management initiative (Annexure I) within the organisation to capture the valuable experiences and insights of employees. IBM Global Services had implemented a knowledge management initiative called community of practice to enhance communication and collaboration among employees.

The success of community of practice in IBM Global Services prompted IBM to offer it as a solution to its clients. The acceptance of this solution in the market encouraged Lou Gerstner, the then CEO of IBM, to invest in further research in the area of knowledge management. Gerstner felt that IBM should become more proactive in knowledge management activities and develop knowledge management systems and related products. With that objective in mind, IBM developed a knowledge management system known as Lotus Discovery System which was successfully implemented in IBM and was offered as a product in 2001. But due to problems like incompatibility and pricing, it was withdrawn from the market in 2004.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss about knowledge management in IBM.

Keywords : IBM; Knowledge Management; Community of Practice; IBM Global Services; Lotus Discovery System; Knowledge Portals; Knowledge Management system; Innovation Management Case Study; Enterprise Information Portal; On Demand Workplace; Tacit Knowledge; Explict Knowledge Evolution of Community Practice; Externalisation; Intellectual capital Management; Socialisation


  • Company Background
  • IBM Global services
  • Development of Knowledge Management in IBM
  • Intellectual Capital Management AssetWeb

  • Communities of Practice
  • Lotus Discovery system
  • On Demand Workplace
  • Future Outlook

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