Knowledge Management is a strategy, construction or system designed to help organizations create, shoot, analyze, apply, and reuse knowledge to achieve competitive advantages. () An integral facet of Knowledge Management is that knowledge within an organization is treated as an integral asset. A straightforward key phrase that encapsulates a main facet of Knowledge Management is "getting the right knowledge to the right people at the right time in the right format". () KMS systems offer with information (although Knowledge Management as a willpower may prolong beyond the info centric aspect of any system) so they are simply a school of information system and could build on, or utilize other information options.
Bharti Airtel was the first someone to provide mobile services in the private sector. It also provided internet and phone services in 92 locations. Bharti Airtel earned the honor for 'Best Knowledge Management' at the MIS Asia IT summit 2006, which displays the company's sturdy efficiency in retaining, aligning and making use of the info technology. (Indian television news)
In India the Telecom Industry is highly complex. It requires a large number of Service Providers, enough trained Manpower, Local, Regional and Global changing modifications and ever before changing environment. () This brings many troubles to the business for the consumers that they have to satisfy. Kilometres is not given to any specific problem and it's an umbrella which covers all the departments of a business. ()
Airtel was one particular company's which realised the importance of knowledge management at an early stage, which helped it grow and value its most important asset. The following provides a research about Airtel and its knowledge management.
Question no. 1: BUSINESS Goals AND STRATEGIES
Airtel Business Objectives
The company is developed of four strategic sections - Mobile, Digital TV, Business and Telemedia. The ex - business provides services in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The Telemedia business offers broadband, IPTV and phone services in 89 Indian cities. The Digital Television set business provides DTH Television set services across India (Airtel, 2010).
The objective of Airtel is to provide end-to-end telecom solutions to its corporate and business customers nationally as well as internationally long distance services to Telco's.
Airtel has achieved specialty area in offering personalized solutions to talk about unique needs and requirements of different industry; IT, education, advertising, Manufacturing and syndication, telecom, Government and retails etc. (Airtel, 2010).
Due to Airtel's co-opetion with leading technology companies all over the world and infrastructure, it presents entire selection of telecom solutions. These solutions permit corporate to network their offices nationally and worldwide, provide them with infrastructure to operate important business applications and provide them ways to bond using their consumers and employees (Airtel, 2010).
PORTER'S GENERIC COMPETITIVE STRATEGIES
Cost Management Strategy
Many customers have high targets for purchasing at cheap, goods and services. Several firms participate themselves in activities which allow them to pursue low priced of creation than its competition and results in expense leadership within an industry (Hitt et al. , 2009). Airtel has gain cost management by controlling its techniques and resources efficiently and effectively. It has efficiently offered its products and services at lower prices by decreasing its functional costs. Because of the profit margins being greater or the increase in sales size, Airtel in addition has earned higher revenue.
The Cost Management Approaches for Airtel works great throughout a price war on the market. Because of it's GOOD DEAL Strategy, the company has acquired earnings compared to the rivals (MTNL, Idea, Tata, RCOM), that happen to be bound to make loss (Rediff Moneywiz, 2010).
Firm chooses Focus Strategy when they intend to use their core competencies to serve needs of a particular portion of the industry somewhat than the entire market. This particular portion can be the particular buyer group, or different portion of a product line, or another geographic market. This leads to customer's devotion to the firm and therefore new rival is resisted to enter in that area (Hitt et al. , 2009).
Airtel's concentration strategy is to give attention to the customers with the monthly billing of landline more than Rs 10000 (>S$285). Airtel can also offer its service to a specific geographic area.
A company which adopts Differentiation Strategy will need sufficient capacity and skills, so that they can distinguish their product from the rivals and influences the customers to pay a premium price. These qualities can be superior product quality, product itself, the delivery system or the marketplace approach. Target is to set-up brand commitment towards customers (Eldring, 2009).
Due to the Strategy, many businesses have successfully accessed advanced technological research, a higher degree of skilled labour pressure, and effective customer communication strategies, etc.
Airtel offers free digital EPABX with free leased lines (no connectivity charges). Therefore the firm provides newest EPABX to the client which costs approx Rs 50, 000 (~S$1430). (APPENDIX 1)
Bharti Airtel has had the opportunity to achieve dominating leadership position in the market with an RMS of 33% which is well prior to the closest operator, mainly due to focusing on development of its global collection of services and networks. If any rival desires to be at the top of group, it has to face a few of the important factors like increase their international reach, right opportunities in the global cable connection systems as well as enlargement of international items of presence (PoPs) and interconnects with the international service providers. Airtel just performed that (Voice & Data, 2010).
Apart out of this, Airtel emphasised on creating immediate interconnects and associations with international providers. It has agreed upon over 400 interconnect agreements till day for these direct interconnects.
Milan Rao, CEO, global words, Bharti Airtel says, "Despite the hyper-competition in the Indian inexpensive market within the last 2 yrs, Airtel has emerged as a prominent innovator in both NLD and ILD space. With this investments in home and international networks, global PoPs, tactical interconnects and state-of-the-art service delivery systems, we are actually poised to extend this leadership to the global market"(Voice & Data, 2010).
The federal of India has taken major initiatives to liberalize the NLD and ILD licenses to boost the expansion of the IT and BPO services in the united states which will lead to more competition and force operators to focus on the QoS. This will cause not only Bharti Airtel, but all the operators to increase their investment to ensure 100% QoS to preserve customers (Tone of voice & Data, 2010).
Co-opetition is the idea of concurrently being successful in competition and assistance within your market. This can effectively increase the broader market for everybody. Small companies can more conveniently reap the benefits of co-opetition since the contracts can be easy, and small partners can develop faster than the top ones scheduled to laziness and bureaucracy created by size. (APPENDIX 2)
Bharti Airtel is a regular follower of co-opetition. Several many stakeholders of Bharti Airtel are Sony-Ericsson, Nokia and Sing Tel, retaining a tactical alliance. Which means that Airtel gets the usage of knowledge and technology from different parts of the telecommunications world. The co-opetition with Yahoo evolves the brand, and also offers Promotioning opportunities in India for Yahoo. Now, iPhone will be released in India via distributorship of Airtel. Another example of Co-opetition is relationship performed with BlackBerry Cordless Solutions.
Bharti Airtel is broadening with another relationship with Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to make a brand new sovereign tower firm called Indus Towers (Cordless Federation, 2010). This new venture will need over more than 60% of India's network towers. Bharti Airtel in addition has reportedly joined into proper business alliance with Cisco to aid the progress of Indian corporations (Airtel, 2010).
In June 2010, the business teamed up with Taiwan-based Smartphone maker HTC Company to start India's first Android run mobile phone - the HTC Magic (Airtel, 2010).
Bharti Airtel Ltd. will partner with Ericsson and Huawei to expand and manage its mobile network in Bangladesh (Comm, 2010).
Question no. 2: Current Knowledge Management Strategies
APQC STRATEGY (AMERICAN PRODUCTIVITY AND QUALITY Middle)
For the goal of identifying the existing IKM strategies into push at Bharti Airtel at the moment we chose the APQC strategy which encompasses an array of knowledge management strategies:
This model was suggested by Karl Wigg and APQC collectively to classify the business oriented knowledge management strategies. This includes 6 KM strategies which broadly touch every section of the business enterprise.
Customer Targeted Knowledge Strategy-
Bharti Airtel in Kampala, Uganda declared to outsource all call centers and again office personnel to improve the quality of customer services in Africa. Bharti Airtel which operates the "Zain" brand in 16 countries of Africa picked IBM, Tech Mahindra and Spanco to provide quality services to customers across these countries. Airtel functions for about 40 million customers in this region and goals for more than 100 million by 2013. (Muhumuza, 2010)
The company believes that outsourcing would redefine seamless customer experience and would also provide quick, successful and cheap customer services. Apart from the customer benefit factor this also helps the business to reduce the expenses of businesses and also develop the skills and competencies of its labor force as they get exposure to global techniques and latest technology.
Knowledge Copy Strategy-
This strategy feels in the spillover effect, that is employees study from each other and the as the business (Yang, 2010)
To deploy a network in Bangladesh Bharti declared an agreement with Ericsson and Huawei. The arrangement includes network design, planning, execution, project management etc. Ericsson programs to undertake a host of services on behalf of Airtel like expand and up grade the circuit and so on. This helps in transfer of the knowledge from Ericsson to Airtel to be able to enhance the operational quality and efficiency. In addition, it assists with the transfer of latest systems and systems that Ericsson and Huawei deploy at their work place to Airtel.
Personal Knowledge Property Responsibility Strategy-
Bharti Airtel facilitates its employees in a number of ways to help them develop their skill and share knowledge. For the same, they may have created numerous websites like Bharti Learning Systems and Centum Leaning Systems. These systems provide end to end learning and skill development answers to its personnel; it focuses on people and operations and provides a broad range of training facilities like training through Blended Learning Programs, Executive Instruction, Performance Coaching, Process Management and Qualification etc. These systems not only help but encourage the employees to engage in skill building activities and share the data amongst each other. (Sharma, 2010)
Knowledge Strategy as Business Strategy-
In this plan KM means discovering wide, enterprise-wide business strategies and diffusing them across various locations and networks. (Haggie and Kingston, 2003)
Bharti Airtel's chief executive Mr. Manoj Kohli expresses that Airtel concentrates mainly on increasing its reach. Company aspires to encourage its existing users to talk more and also wooed new users by lowering rates. Although average income per user went down, the management isn't worried, instead their purpose is to market minutes and earn healthy margins about them. Airtel needs their revenues to fall season as they proceed to new strata of world every year. The business's "rural strategy" is vital. Information show that more than 50% of Airtel's new subscribers come from rural India. Through this important knowledge management organization based mostly strategy of trimming call rates and increasing reach, Bharti Airtel effectively managed to add 100 million users in six months. (N/A, 2008)
Knowledge Creation Strategy-
Any strategy implemented by an company where technology or creation of knowledge takes place in order to eventually achieve their business aims is an understanding creation strategy. (Haggie and Kingston, 2003)
The Six Sigma effort at Airtel is an important component of the company's technology strategy. The Six Sigma was adopted in order to achieve sustainable competitive benefit. Keeping in mind "replication of best practices takes much lesser time than implementation", Bharti Airtel conducted many knowledge posting classes where all Six Sigma tactics in the internal system of the organisation through email messages and intranet. The best practice implementers also distributed their success reviews. (Shukla and Srinivasan, 2007)
Intellectual Advantage Management Strategy-
A companies KM strategy where they utilize assets already in the company to produce or copy knowledge or just for knowledge management is their intellectual property management strategy. (Haggie and Kingston, 2003)
Bharti Airtel creates strategies to make it critical for all employees to activate in Kilometres activities. Bharti employs their employees as assets to generate, share, replicate and also to institutionalise KM. They have got target to get 40% employee engagement in all immediately customer- related techniques within a 12 months and double in 2 years. Bharti also offers a knowledge- buck (K$) scheme in which employees earn K$ each time they discuss knowledge or everytime they replicate or even apply knowledge distributed by others. This scheme operates as a motivator and at the same time becomes a Kilometres strategy where knowledge is getting created, replicated and applied by using assets that company already has. (Hariharan, 2005)
How do these strategies help attain business objectives
These strategies may be grouped as above, but when closely observed in real practice they all are interlinked. Any strategy used by the company helps fulfil not only one but other purposes too, e. g. : call centre outsourcing not only slices costs but improves the client services and help worker development.
The main business purpose is to broaden the network of Bharti Airtel and make it widespread, which actually will be attained by the above mentioned strategies. It increases its customer services in every strategy in order to improve and sustain its customer bottom which is very noticeable from the above reason. It trains and builds up its employees' potential at every possible level to be able to improve their efficiency, efficiency and inturn customer support, and finally network expansion.
In a business where Bharti Airtel is contending with ex - monopolies like BSNL and MTNL, they realised that competition cannot not be suffered with price and technology only. Through comprehensive research they realised that really the only way to obtain competitive edge for a telecommunication company was quality of service and hence they started out the implementation of Six Sigma. They discovered that Six Sigma provided them a far more analytical solution in terms of accurate statistical tools, constant supervision and tracking of different parameters, and clear measurements of non-nancial guidelines. By implementing Six Sigma, Airtel targeted at achieving competitive advantages by proving error- free service, but again in the end targeting customer satisfaction. (Shukla and Srinivasan, 2007)
Question no. 3: Obstacles Experienced by Bharti Airtel
Business issues force a business to stay one step ahead of the competitiors, develop new strategies to stick out in the group in the ever before changing current market.
With the telecom increase in India, Airtel has a great deal of competitors on the market. Increasingly more telecom companies are being create. With all the telecom spectrum up for sale, India has seen many companies endeavor into the telecom sector. Because of this, Airtel has been getting rid of ground slowly but surely but steadily. The federal government had Bharat Shanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is Airtel's major competitor, be it in conditions of infrastructure, pricing, etc.
Competitors have given stiff competition to Airtel in terms of pricing. Many of Airtel's programs are charged more than its opponents, which is resulting in Airtel getting rid of its market share to its opponents. BSNL, having great infrastructural benefit, contains the minimum call rates across India.
Many employees of Airtel leave within 2years of joining. So Airtel does not have a stable worker force (at the cheapest level of the hierarchy)
Whenever there is a change in technology, of an shift in cost, Airtel takes its own time to adjust to it. For example, recently, Vodafone and idea mobile slashed their roaming rates by almost 50 %.
Airtel nearly 8 weeks to revise its roaming plans. In the mean time many customers of Airtel experienced already shifted to the other operators.
With so a lot of advertisement, Airtel is not able to record a lot of its competitor's customers. May ad campaigns were targeted at the youth and incredibly little attention is given to the rest of the segments.
The old strata of the culture have remained dedicated to BSNL for various reasons.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
Organizations need to define knowledge in specific framework and content. It is necessary to distinguish between data and information on one hand and knowledge on the other.
Managing knowledge is very vital for any group, if knowledge is not implemented properly, it'll be undervalued, that may refrain the business from outbeating your competition.
Airtel is one particular companies which realized the worthiness of knowledge management at an early on stage and has taken many steps to help expand it. The problems encountered in this scheduled course are:
Aligning KM with Organizational Goals:
The hyperlink between KM and business is sometimes absent or only implicit in the look stage. Inside the ever changing business environment, it is very important that knowledge management will keep a rate with the changing organizational objectives and make it go ahead somewhat than stagnating it.
The KM professionals at Airtel must ensure that the problem of linking KM to business results is tackled by determining the goal of KM. They need to measure the performance by all means to be able to make sure that the KM strategies applied are serving the purpose and taking the business enterprise towards a desired route.
Application of Kilometres Models in real practice:
Despite of the fact, that bharti Airtel has split platforms like Bharti learning systems and Centum learning systems for placing knowledge management strategy into practice, it is clearly visible that there is a lot of gap between the aim and the genuine practice. The employees find it hard to put the attained knowledge management tacts into use. It creates a confusion between your business and knowledge management strategies and therefore, the whole purpose of KM is lost.
The company should ensure that each individual in the business can differentiate between an enterprise and a Kilometres strategy, for this, the company should include demonstration of the application of KM strategies, may be through on the Job training methods.
E. g. Airtel in addition has facing a new problem from its competitors and has insufficient managing the knowledge and technology is seen when its opponents have launched 3G, Airtel has didn't utilize its resources effectively.
3. Non Awareness of the idea Knowledge Management
Persuading knowledge employees to create, share and apply knowledge is a very challenging job in airtel. This concept is very new to the employees in the business so it will take some time for the employees to get used to it.
Mere deployment of solutions at appropriate places is insufficient, a good area of research then, is to redesign the knowledge work techniques or alter them in order that they channel the flow of knowledge in the right way. Airtel must have some experts in neuro-scientific knowledge management in order to activate people in company to create, show or apply knowledge.
4. Competition within the organization brings about failure of KM strategies
Internal Competition within the employees of the organization contributes to failure of knowledge management strategies such as knowledge copy, the employees do not want to talk about information or skills with the other person in order with an edge over one another. Sometimes, they don't really discuss information because of insufficient trust or time too. This causes stagnant knowledge which in the end is of no use since the company works as a team rather than by a person. (APPENDIX 3)
Question no. 4: Recommendations for using KM to meet these challenges
Airtel to be able to move before its Opponents must start Using its Towers, so that they can not only provide Vast Coverage Nationally but also bring down their Costs and have advantage over their Opponents. The KM Team must Survey and discover the Markets where their Customer Bottom part is Strong and recommend to the Management to get their " Own Towers " in those Locations to give Customer the Best Service to remain before Competition. (Airtel gross annual report 2009)
Airtel in Order to become a Global Leader will need to have a Competitive Costing Policy in destination to move ahead of Competition. They have to be abreast with the Programs / Offers made available from Competition. They shouldn't wait for Competition to announce their Offer and Slash Prices predicated on their Offers. Through use of Knowledge Management, they need to follow the Component of Earning per Minute instead of Profits per Customer and by which they can reach their Costs and consequently Price their Products lower than their Challengers. (www. airtel. com)
Airtel were one of the Pioneers in Mobile Telephony. If they started they had no Dearth of Ability, as these were main market players. They could mould their workers the the Airtel way. As more players started emerging on the market the Demand because of their Staff increased. All new players wished to understand the Airtel Mantra and started out poaching Airtel Employees. Inorder to maintain an increased Retention Rate, the Knowledge Management Team should have Strong Work Ethics inculcated in their Employees, Good Soft Skills Training to the main element Personnel. The Best way to have Higher Staff Retention was by having the HIGHEST SALARY in the Industry, so that Competition cannot find the money for them anymore. (www. knowldege business. com)
4. Linking Knowledge Management to Business Objectives
Airtel must increase CLIENT SATISFACTION and offer a regular Good Customer Experience. The Number of Customers which Airtel is catering is very high so, they also have to have the Infrastructure to Focus on their Large Basic Of Customers. The Kilometres team at Airtel should perform a detailed discourse with their efficient heads on their Vision of Customer Satisfaction and Customer Experience's. These comprehensive discussions will cause them to set up a few vital guidelines, which is often produced from Critical Customer-Impacting Business Functions. The aim should be a decrease in performance deviation across regions, we should desire to achieve by quickly replicating best practices. Replication of proven good procedures from within or beyond your organization is definitely faster than starting from scratch.
Capturing, Showing and Replicating will also ensure the Institutionalization of best practices: Individual Knowledge can be converted into Organizational Knowledge, which is often re-used at later level. Naturally, this will also decrease the Group depending on particular Individual Employee.
Airtel should focus on their advertisement in a specific way through KM, while targeting the consumer they must be very specific which section of the consumer they would like to target, the current market concentrate on of Airtel is Common in characteristics, which will not obviously speak whom are they focusing on. They should be specific to Gender and most important Get older. Their competitor Vodaphone did very well in last few years because they have targeted the young group in the market which has given them wonderful results. When targeting a Younger Audience their Ad should be Young in Aspect so that the Particular Age Group can relate themselves to the Advertising campaign.
6. More Impetus on Research and Development
Airtel is well renowned Telecommunication Company in India, and should constantly endeavour to do more Market Research to Update their Technologies, Campaign, Targeting consumer in the market. Airtel is spending relatively lower in R&D in comparison with its rivals which itself is a large setback for the coffee lover, even though Airtel is the marketplace Leader in most of the Circles they are present in.
7. Cohesive and Coordinated Approach to Decentralization
Implementation of Billing and Order Management Systems and High-Quality Customer Service was a relatively straightforward factor of the perfect solution is. While the Comverse Kenan systems were in place to run Airtel's whole business utilizing a Two-Instances Billing and order Management platform for Postpaid and Wireline Business, De-Centralization made the Functions and Search engine optimization - of these System more difficult.
Under India regulation, each circle was essentially a separate Business Entity with Distinct COMPANIES, thus opening the entranceway for Competing, and/or Redundant Operations. To aid this De-Centralized Business, Airtel must deploy a Cohesive and Coordinated approach to Functioning its Systems. Another obstacle is to ensure the Operator's Longer-Term Self-Sufficiency by building a model that could not rely on Third Celebrations for Support. (Comverse-making network better)
Information knowledge Management System is the Backbone of an Organization. It must be included with all the Departments, so the knowledge can be transferred between the employees and from External Sources like ALTERNATIVE PARTY and Remaining World. More investments can be produced in the Research and Development to develop New Technology and products as per the needs of the clients. New technology can be applied in the prevailing products to efficiently slice cost than producing new products. The Billing Software needs to be improved from time to time to make it Consumer Friendly and also at the moment Each Group is a Different Entity so when Federal government of India determines to combine all the Circles as you, the program should be available to implement the same.
New Software also needs to talk about to minimise the amount of Billing Cycles for the buyer within various Circles. The proposed Information Knowledge Management tools can benefit the organization. Trust can be developed from the clients and Employees if indeed they satisfy the needs of the clients. Consumers are concentrating more on Customer joy then just Customer Service in today's Day and Age. Its very important to make them feel special, when it comes to Telecommunication Industry. It is the right time for Airtel to make a move and make their CRM stronger. The Professional Services Team must meet all the Difficulties and Goals by flexibly responding to Unique Operator needs. The put in place services facilitate Earnings Expansion and build commitment by providing users with Choice, Convenience and Control. The Sales and Marketing Groups need to build up Strategies to significantly improve Airtel's competitive advantage at little to no additional cost by using tools such as Rate Ideas, Discounts, Payments, and Revenue. All this will create Loyalty among Consumers for Airtel with Choice, Convinience and Control.
(Source: Taking care of knowledge in project-based organizations: A ethnic point of view By Mian M. Ajmal)
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