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Knowledge Management Essay

The purpose of this essay is to answer the questions from the “Tata Consultancy Services (India)” case study on pages 253-255 of Jashapara (2011)

The discussion includes advice regarding a strategic alliance with Cisco. Two of the key elements of this case study which are discussed are describing the current weaknesses in Tata Consultancy Services with an approach to knowledge management and the improvements that are made to eliminate these weaknesses.

In the discussion, strategic alliance is explained by definition and examples are provided as well to justify. The advice to knowledge management issues has been discussed. The planning and concepts are communicated and a detailed answer is written to discuss facts with the use of external sources and these have been referenced.

Towards the end after all the points been considered, improvements with the linking to knowledge management have been advised.

Contents
Introduction3
Background3
Objectives3
Scope4
Strategic alliances with Cisco4
Current weaknesses in TATA services5
Improvement on the weaknesses6
Conclusion8
References9

Introduction
Background
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, business solutions and outsourcing organization that delivers real results to global businesses, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. Tata Consultancy Services is a leading global IT services, business solutions, and outsourcing company with offices in 35 countries and growing at over 30 percent in revenue terms for the last couple of years. One key challenge arising out of the rapid growth in people intensive business such as TCS has been ever-increasing demands on the IT infrastructure. (www.tcs.com)

Cisco Systems is a large corporation that produces computer networking products and services. The Linksys brand of consumer networking products is also an owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems. (http://compnetworking.about.com) Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com.

It was decided by TCS that to expand their allegiances, they were to make a strategic alliance with Cisco without harming the long-term and short-term goals of each company. The aim of this essay is to provide a practical approach with clear guidance for TCS and decision makers in TCS. It shows how KM can enable an organization to respond effectively to the changing business background and achieve its strategic goals.

Objectives

The TCS-Cisco partnership has been active since 2003. This partnership focuses on go-to-market activities for a range of Cisco technologies, including the next generation datacenters (Cisco Unified Computing Systems), advanced networking, security and collaboration. It also focuses on developing replicable go-to-market business solutions leveraging cutting-edge Cisco technologies like UCS, and TCS strengths in IT application services, IT infrastructure services and domain expertise in key industry verticals. (http://www.tcs.com)

Scope
Includes discussion of advice regarding a strategic alliance with Cisco Discussion includes explanation of strategic alliance and points are raised in relation to knowledge management. Continues to talk about the current weaknesses in Tata Consultancy Services approach to knowledge management. This section is helped by many examples from external resources. Finally solutions on how these weaknesses can be improved are been mentioned. Furthermore this section is supported by many examples and the examples have been referenced.

Strategic alliances with Cisco

Strategic alliance is an agreement for cooperation among two or more independent firms to work together toward common objectives. (http://www.businessdictionary.com) It is a preparation between two companies that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. A strategic alliance is less involved and less permanent than a joint venture, in which two companies typically pool resources to create a separate business entity. In a strategic alliance, each company maintains its autonomy while gaining a new opportunity.

A strategic alliance could help a company develop a more effective process, expand into a new market or develop an advantage over a competitor, among other possibilities. (http://www.investopedia.com) Investopedia explains ‘Strategic Alliance’

For example, an oil and natural gas company might form a strategic alliance with a research laboratory to develop more commercially viable recovery processes. A clothing retailer might form a strategic alliance with a single clothing manufacturer to ensure consistent quality and sizing. A major website could form a strategic alliance with an analytics company to improve its marketing efforts. (http://www.investopedia.com) Knowledge Management can make a significant difference between ongoing or successful ventures of any organization in a world of accelerating change. Knowledge Management provides the ability to connect and cooperate complex ideas efficiently and can be beneficial even to expand when using strategic alliances.

To make Knowledge Management work in an organization it must be grounded in the realities of the business needs and drivers, and aligned to the delivery of organizational objectives, which this case TCS requires for the expansion of their organization. It should not be seen as an optional or marginal activity but as part of the organizational essential need, embedded in their business process, which is highly relevant in their solutions.

Current weaknesses in TATA services

Strategic alliance can cause major problems if not handled properly. As part of the start of the alliance, TCS have to incorporate Cisco’s Data Centre technologies, with TCS’ industry-leading IT services, business solutions and outsourcing. The practice will focus on helping customers develop next-generation virtualized data centers and achieve greater operational and energy efficiency. The companies will also explore new networking innovations to address the needs of large and small businesses for IT services. One of the main concerns was over the alignment of short term and long term goals of both organizations and the value of strategic alliance in the current downturn in global markets. Most staff will need training to adjust to the new systems.

The two companies want to cooperatively come up with and supply information technology service solutions to clients that will help their businesses build next-generation data centers by taking advantage of the network as a platform. The two companies are spread out in a wide range of countries and due to this there are a lot of communication issues. Tata Consultancy plans to build a new technology practice focused on Cisco’s industry-leading data center networking and security solutions. The companies also announced the formation of a Cisco Technology Lab at the TCS campus in Chennai, India. These all add up to additional costs but have to be done to train staff into the new systems Cisco and TCS have to develop solutions that meet the infrastructure and network requirements of global corporations.

Both companies have to invest in skills development and training labs to provide an end-to-end solution to meet customer requirements. As part of the new practice, TCS will incorporate Cisco’s Data Centre 3.0 technologies, with TCS’ industry-leading IT services, business solutions and outsourcing. The practice will focus on helping customers develop next-generation virtualized data centers and achieve greater operational and energy efficiency. The companies will also explore new networking innovations to address the needs of large and small businesses for IT services. “Customers are demanding greater dynamism from their IT infrastructure and application environment to address current challenges and to capitalize on opportunities whenever and wherever they emerge,” said Mr. N Chandrasekaran, chief operating officer and executive director of TCS. “This strategic alliance will take advantage of Cisco’s industry-leading data center networking solutions and TCS’ global network delivery model to help our customers increase the efficiency and agility of their IT operations.” (http://blog.topitconsultant.com)

Also some concerns were about improving operational efficiency and productivity, enable business agility, and improve enterprise knowledge.

Improvement on the weaknesses

The two organizations came up with a lot of strategies, that is plan of action that channels the two organization’s resources so that it can effectively differentiate itself from competitors, accomplish distinctive goals, and achieve higher performance. Managers develop strategies based on the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and evaluation of opportunities and threats. The Managers primarily make decisions about the firm’s activities, and the development and allocation of resources devoted to these.

The TCS-Cisco strategic alliance enables end-to-end IT infrastructure services, united with assurance services, and IT application services enabling seamless system integration of Cisco products. Cisco and TCS plan to develop go-to-market solutions that meet the infrastructure and network requirements of global corporations. Both companies will invest in skills development and training labs to provide an end-to-end solution to meet customer requirements. Cisco has recognized the low-cost advantage of operating in India as well as high pool technology talent and expertise. Tata consultancy services already provide IT consultancy services to a large amount of countries.

The company offers some of the most complex applications and next generation IT infrastructures in the world. Tata consultancy services’ in-depth knowledge of different business domains combined with its technological skills makes it a a very competent organization. One major improvement is that they use various strategies to improve knowledge management they use three main strategies or as they call it “the three pillars of knowledge management”, which are people, process and technology. In terms of people one of the key values is learning and sharing.

The company has introduced three initiatives to promote a greater learning culture. First is the proactive employee engagement program which allows senior managers to have face to face meetings with employees across various functions and grades. The other initiative has promoted a share care grow culture and and encouraged individuals to advance their own ideas and resolve ideas at local level. Finally the last initiative was professional excellence role enhancement ownership culture personal growth employee and learning.

Tata consultancy services has another training hub in addition to others as well to further train new recruits in different aspects of software engineering, quality systems and different technologies which is a major improvement. The training included soft-skills development such as leadership and teamwork. The trainers were drawn from different parts of the business with significant subject expertise and experience. Tata consultancy services have also made training centers overseas in line with its global expansion. Also Tata consultancy services have developed a number of ICT interventions to increase knowledge sharing. Some of the main improvements to help with the strategic alliance are to advance knowledge, learning, and skills development.

Conclusion
The purpose of this essay was to answer the questions from the “Tata Consultancy Services (India)” case study. The essay started by mentioning a short description of the history of the two companies. The discussion included advice regarding a strategic alliance with Cisco. Two of the key elements of this case study which were discussed. The current weaknesses in Tata Consultancy Services with an approach to knowledge management and the improvements that are made to eliminate these weaknesses have been mentioned

In the discussion, strategic alliance was explained by definition and examples provided as well to justify. The advice to knowledge management issues has been discussed. The planning and concepts are communicated and a detailed answer is written to discuss facts with the use of external sources and these have been referenced. Towards the end after all the points been considered, improvements with the linking to knowledge management have been advised.

As per the objectives of this essay, the current weaknesses in Tata Consultancy Services with an approach to knowledge management and the improvements that are made to eliminate these weaknesses are discussed.

References

. 2013. . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.tcs.com/resources/Pages/filterResults.aspx?topic=Services_Consulting&type=Case%20Study. [Accessed 16 April 2013]. Cisco Systems – About Cisco Systems Networking. 2013. Cisco Systems – About Cisco Systems Networking. [ONLINE] Available at:http://compnetworking.about.com/od/cisconetworking/p/cisco-systems.htm. [Accessed 16 April 2013]. IT Consultants’ Blog at TopITconsultant.com . 2013. IT Consultants’ Blog at TopITconsultant.com . [ONLINE] Available at:http://blog.topitconsultant.com/category/TATA-Consultancy-Services.aspx. [Accessed 09 May 2013]. Mohammad Masrurul, M 2012, ‘An Overview of Strategic Alliance: Competitive Advantages in Alliance Constellations’, Advances In Management, 5, 12, pp. 22-31, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 9


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