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KM THE BOYGUES TELECOM WAY
The case underneath presents the approach of the Knowledge Management adopted by a well-known French company. The Bouygues Telecom way With more than six million customers and a network covering 98 per cent of France, Bouygues Telecom, created in 1994 as a subsidiary of the Bouygues global industrial group (turnover : 19 billion euros in 2000), has established itself as one of the most dynamic and innovative players in the French mobile telephony market. But size can be a challenge – as with most large companies, Bouygues Telecom was struggling to manage the flow of information and know-how across the organization. At times, departments and individuals were unable to collaborate effectively with employees in many parts of the business. At the end of 2000, Bouygues Telecom launched an initiative aimed at maximizing the value of its business and employee intelligence. More than discussing about the Knowledge Management and the way of implementing it, the idea of Bouygues Telecom is to define and develop short and practical KM projects. But research into the solutions available at that time proved disappointing. They were difficult to implement, hard to manage and far too expensive. So the company issued an invitation to tender. Following careful research of the market, Microsoft’s SharePoint Portal Server solution was selected because it is easy to implement and flexible enough to meet the various requirements of the Bouygues Telecom business. Described as a single knowledge portal, SharePoint Portal Server is based on a document management server which enables organizations to manage all of the workflow processes associated with the publication of documents and to share them in dedicated spaces.
Speed to market was also essential. Bouygues Telecom defined a brief which specified that completion of the first project should not exceed three months. In order to meet this challenging schedule, Bouygues called on Valtech, a company specializing in management consulting and enterprise IT. Valtech was chosen because the project required the rapid delivery of effective knowledge management solutions and its experience in this field is well established.
In just a few months, the company has implemented four knowledge management systems that are enabling the organization to leverage and extend its current IT systems and infrastructure.
SAP best practice
The pilot project – tested in north-east France – delivers support to one hundred staff using SAP.
The aim of the project was to provide online assistance to end-users and ensure that they could share best practice of this solution.
The knowledge base manages the publication and the classification of documents and provides users with a single knowledge portal. Users can add their own advices and experiences relating to SAP via their browser. Results were immediate and impressive. Users need immediate and accurate information to get the most out of this relatively complex software and make a real contribution to the bottom line.
The knowledge base has helped Bouygues Telecom to leverage and extend the value of its SAP investment. Knowledge management in a technical reference system Initially designed for maintenance technicians from the same region, the second project involved about thirty people in its pilot phase before being extended to a further 200 staff. It gives technicians online access to a company knowledge base of technical information. Technicians frequently work on site. From their portable computers, they can connect to the technical knowledge base on the portal and access technical files and recommendations made by their colleagues in similar situations. If a file is not 100 per cent relevant, they can improve it and make their expertise available to others.
In a matter of months, Bouygues Telecom has built a comprehensive online library of technical knowledge. Technicians now have rapid, real-time access to the sum total of the company’s expertise. It is also highly versatile. Technicians can search the knowledge base according to various criteria including full text, and their specific areas of interest. End-user feedback is also extremely positive. Technicians now have all the information they need to make better decisions more rapidly than ever before. Before the portal they spent far too much time searching for right person with the right information – now all they need to do is look on the web. They can resolve networking issues quickly and with minimum fuss helping the company to further increase the overall quality of customer service.
Using knowledge management to innovate information systems
CPS (Computer Planning Strategy) Division is responsible for researching new technology and then ensuring rapid implementation of the solutions that best support the company’s business objectives. It was formed to track and research new technologies and then validate them before they go live in any part of the business.
The knowledge base was used for accelerating the movement of new technology from the CPS management to operational divisions. All technical documents are classified, and each event in the knowledge base can be traced. No time is wasted searching for documents and the CPS can make full use of acquired knowledge to develop innovative new information system strategies.
Keeping track of new technologies
The success of the CPS project has generated interest in additional knowledge management solutions. The CPS team and operational management would like to access a knowledge base on the latest technological developments. Such a tool is to help them collect and validate new information and leverage knowledge. Like the earlier projects, it will only take a few weeks to complete.
Bouygues Telecom has overcome the main obstacle to knowledge management success – end-user resistance with a light use of change management. By setting up focused, effective projects that deliver impressive and immediate results, Bouygues Telecom has managed to make its knowledge management vision reality.
1-Elaborate the concept of Knowledge management. What is the reason of discussions on the concept of Knowledge Management given in this case? In your opinion, what could be other reasons of such debates on knowledge management?
2-Analyze the situation and identify what problem was faced by Bouygues Telecom. What strategy was adopted by Bouygues Telecom to cope the situation?
1. Knowledge management is creating, analysing, using or sharing the information and knowledge of the organizational assets and resources for the growth of the organization. It is the management of the assets and available resources to the right people so that optimum use of them can help in more productivity. It makes us understand that just having knowledge is not enough but knowing to use it in the most efficient way is essential for a sustainable growth.
The reason for discussions on the concept of knowledge management in the given case is its size. Being a large company the company was not able to manage the flow of information and knowledge across the organization. There was a lack of collaboration between employees and departments.
The reasons to implement knowledge management in the organization can be to have a quick and speedy access to knowledge and information. making the decision-making process better and effective, promoting cultural changes and innovation in the work environment, working with an improved efficiency of business processes and operating units and increasing customer satisfaction. All these reasons are essentials for a sustainable growth of any organization and knowledge management helps in attaining each one of them.
2. The problem faced by Bouygues Telecom was that due to the large size of the company it was becoming difficult to manage the flow of knowledge and information in the organization between departments and employees. For a solution to this, the company came with the idea to develop and implement knowledge management projects. But they were being difficult to implement and very expensive for the company.
To deal with this problem the company issues an invitation to tender and selected SharePoint Portal Server solution as it was easy to implement and flexible to meet the requirements of the company. Further to implement and complete the project in the defined time the company outsourced Valtech, a company that had specialization in management consulting and enterprise IT. Valtech was well experienced and established and hence was selected for speedy delivery of effective knowledge management solutions.
KM THE BOYGUES TELECOM WAY The case underneath presents the approach of the Knowledge Management adopted...
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