Networked computer systems

Networked computer systems have allowed the development of organizational intranets and extranets. An intranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology but is accessible only to organizational employees. Many organizations are using intranets as ways for employees to share information and collaborate on documents and projects as well as access company policy manuals and employee specific materials such as employee benefits from different locations. An extranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology and allows authorized users inside the organization to communicate with certain outsiders such as customers or vendors. Most of the large auto manufacturers for example have extranets that allow faster and more convenient communication with dealers.

Finally, the Internet is now being used for voice communication. Popular Web sites such as yahoo! let users communicate verbally with each other. America Online has introduced a Web browser that lets users click on a button to talk to others. Similarly a number of companies are moving to Internet based voice communication. For instance in the New Jersey offices of Merrill lynch 6,500 Internet phones have been installed for employees to use in conference calls or for instant messaging communication.

How do Wireless capabilities affect communications?

Although the communication possibilities for a manager in a networked world are exciting, the real potential is yet to come. Networked computer systems require organizations and organizational members to be connected by wires. Wireless communication relies on signals sent through air or space without any physical connection, using such devices as microwave signals, satellites, radio waves and radio antennas, or infrared light rays. Wireless smart phones notebook computers and other pocket communication devices have spawned a whole new way for managers to keep in touch. Globally millions of users have wireless technology that allows them to send and receive information from anywhere. One result: Employees no longer have to be at their desks with their computers plugged in and turned on in order to communicate with others in the organization. As technology continues to improve in this area, we’ll see more and more organization members using wireless communications as a way to collaborate and share information. Internet telephony, earlier illegal in India, has recently been legalized by the Telecom ministry. This relaxation coupled with increasing broadband access in India, has come as a noon to corporates in improving their communication networks.

How does knowledge management affect communications?

Part of manager’s responsibility in fostering an environment conducive to learning and effective communications is to create learning capabilities throughout the organizations. These opportunities must extend from the lowest to the highest levels in all areas. How can managers create such an environment? An important step is understanding the value of knowledge as a major resource just like cash, raw materials or office equipment. To illustrate the value of knowledge think about how you register for college classes. Do you talk to others who have had a certain professor? Do you listen to their experiences with this individual and make your decision based on what they have to say (their knowledge about the situation)? If you do you’re tapping into the value of knowledge. But in an organization just recognizing the value of accumulated knowledge or wisdom isn’t enough. Managers must deliberately manage that base of knowledge. Knowledge management involves cultivating a learning culture in which organizational members systematically gather knowledge and share if with others in the organization so as top achieve better performance. For instance, following disband of the administered price mechanism. Indian petroleum companies started facing enormous competition at the global level. In order to develop better products that would be globally competitive, the research and development (R&D) department started playing a vital role in their new initiatives. However, for one of the major Indian oil companies – a Fortune 20 global company despite its strong R&D setup the chief stumbling block proved to be the R&D’s inability to leverage its collective knowledge. By using a knowledge management solution developed by Indian software major, the oil company was able to harness the knowledge available in its system for the benefit of the organization. The knowledge management solution works by consolidating all the knowledge available in the R&D organization into a central knowledge repository, organized in a taxonomy that makes sense to everyone. It captures lessons and best practices as they are created or refined. It enables users to quickly find both exhaustive knowledge repositories as documents and tacit knowledge such as discussions threads through single unified search. A combination of all these functions with collaborative features such as instant messaging and teaming helps people work together toward becoming leaning organization. Many other Indian organizations – Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), BFL MPhasis and Tata steel have recognized the importance of knowledge management to being leaning organization. The technologies available in today’s organizations are permitting knowledge management to improve and facilitate organizational communications and decision making.