A "cybercorped" organization needs a knowledge infrastructure to capture and create knowledge, store it, improve it, clarify it, disseminate it to all employees and put it to use. Knowledge must be fully shared within the corporation. A corporate intranet can make the knowledge easily accessible to everybody within the organization. It can make possible the concept of "no ownership" of ideas and no boundaries that prevent data sharing.
The intranet should be viewed as part of the overall management style of a corporation. It not only facilitates the empowerment of employees with knowledge, but also allows for inclusive decision making and bottom-up feedback. For many employees, a sense of ownership is of utmost importance, for that translates into feelings of valued contribution and control over business decisions that may impact their lives and careers. Intranet technology is an excellent vehicle for removing communication barriers and allowing information to flow freely throughout an organization. For example, forums or chat groups can be set up to allow employees to discuss issues ranging from reviews of newly released movies to business-line strategies and global project work. Executive management can request feedback on a new corporate vision or new products or services and their go-to-market strategies. They can survey employee attitudes in an attempt to curb attrition and improve employee moral and sense of community. In essence, the corporate intranet is a powerful vehicle for increasing productivity and encouraging innovation across a global organization.
Interchange of Knowledge
The need to interchange knowledge, to search diverse sources of information and to collaborate with other organizations applies not only to the research community, but also to all parts of corporations. Researchers need to communicate with product designers; product designers need to communicate with manufacturing engineers; marketing staff members need to communicate with designers and manufacturers so that the right products can be built with features that customers want; designers need to communicate with maintenance staff so that repairs can be done quickly and easily. Everybody needs to communicate with customers; customers need to communicate with one another to discuss product usage. This constant interchange of knowledge and dialog is what the Internet and intranets are ideal for. The Internet provides everybody with a rich diversity of information sources.
Conducting Business on the Internet
Internet technology can allow communications that break traditional barriers and cut across hierarchies and organizational structures. The Internet allows instant interaction with business partners and service providers and opens up questions about what work should be done inside the corporation and what should be outsourced. Work can be done in countries where salaries are low. SwissAir, for example, does its accounting in India. Particularly important, competencies from different places can be interlinked. This possibility makes more ambitious goals practical. Virtual teams can be designed to serve customers better.
Almost every part of the organization is affected by Internet usage for conducting business. Electronic shopping malls, links to suppliers, interactive advertising, market research, on-line customer support, customer tracking of orders and delivery, empowerment of employees, access to critical external knowledge, corporate-wide e-mail, virtual offices, telecommuting--all are made possible with Internet and intranet technologies.
Internet tools make it relatively easy to make corporate information available. The Internet and intranets provide valuable new opportunities in every area of business, so it is critical that corporations be structured with a coherent strategy and architecture rather than having sporadic uncoordinated use of the Internet.
A key characteristic of the cybercorp is a knowledge infrastructure that uses the Internet and an intranet to help acquire knowledge, enhance it, store it in an organized way and make it accessible to everyone who needs it in the enterprise.
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