Building a global network

The paper shall examine some of the challenges that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are confronting after a merger between Pricewaterhouse and Coopers and Lybrand. The company is one of the most influential within its respective business arena. Such a position presents a fresh set of challenges in terms of creating an efficient and fully functioning network. These issues shall be examined below. Importance of having a knowledge base or intranet resources The latter company had benefited from the economies of scale that emanated from creation of such a large and influential global company.

Consequently, there was a need to ensure that one of the most important qualities in business was attained and this was speed. The latter trait would only be efficiently carried out if the companies under consideration had fast technologies to help them achieve this. One of the latter modes of technology is the use of intranet and possession of a knowledge base. (PWC, 2000) The intranet would go a long way in facilitating communication between a series of stakeholders within this firm. Some of them included its employees, the company’s suppliers, its clients and many more.

Since these stakeholders were distributed globally, then there was a need to make sure that this information was shared efficiently and the best way to do this was through the utilization of a sound knowledge management system or the intranet. A good knowledge base was also essential in adding value to the various clients by providing them with easy access to their resources. Intranet would also assist in boosting the process of deployment that provided products and services within the firm. In addition, the knowledge base was also essential in ensuring sound management of those resources.
Lastly, the use of the intranet was important in ensuring that the merger was effectively carried out. This was because the latter form of technology would ensure that information was fist captured, then updated and distributed effectively within this organization. In other words, knowledge within the two firms would be made available to the entire organization and this would make the process a whole lot more effective. Advantages and disadvantages of the Knowledge curve implemented at PWC There are a number of strong points that the Knowledge Curve (the intranet) that was implemented by PwC.
First of all, it provided a platform against which all the knowledge within the firm was incorporated. This meant that the Knowledge Curve was instrumental in providing a tool for providing the company with a source of competitive advantage. (Thomas, 2000) The Knowledge Curve was also advantageous because of its profiling capabilities. Through this methodology, it was possible to understand the needs of the company on the basis of geography, line of business and industry. This intranet system was important to the company because it would assist the company to achieve knowledge management both at global level and also at office level.
However, there was a problem with the Knowledge Curve owing to the fact that certain priorities at office level would not be implemented on a global level. This was because only the aspects that were common between various firms would be included in this global level system of profiling. (Law, 1998) It should be noted that this limitation was dealt with by providing Knowledge Curve homepages for each office. This would go a long way in ensuring that personalized information was restricted for these areas. Another major disadvantage was that it was difficult to customize this respective system.
This eventually led to the creation of another website whose purpose was to ensure that local needs within each enterprise level were addressed. The latter website was known as the bridge. By adding such extra features, then it can be said that Knowledge Curve was a bit ineffective at achieving most of it objectives. (Lambert and Langley, 2000) How PWC would encourage users to contribute knowledge towards the intranet First of all, PWC could ensure that they break down all the bureaucratic systems within the company.
This means that the former mentality where it had been held that the support teams are implementers while the more experienced members were the decision makers should be changed. By doing this, people who are more in touch with what is going on at the ground will be encouraged to participate more within the intranet system within the company. The company needs to ensure that there is a flatter structure implemented on the ground. This will go a long way in encouraging participants to contribute towards the internet because they will feel more valued by the organization.
While the company has gone a long way in eliminating some of the office politics within the organization, there are still relatively high numbers of issues that need to be implemented by this company in order to boost participation. Since there is still a management board that does project approvals and constitutes the management board, then people within the organization may still be feeling a little inhibited about contributing towards that intranet. Fewer powers need to be given to this board so as to boost an open environment.
How PWC could facilitate awareness about the intranet and encourage users to utilize the knowledge base PWC was faced with an enormous task of informing all its one hundred and fifty thousand employees who are distributed across one hundred and fifty two countries for this receptive company. Consequently, there was a need to look for methods that could apply in such a wide geographical arena. Presentations are always a good way of informing people about something new. Consequently, the latter company could utilize this method to inform people.
It could carry this out by visiting various offices hence talking to people face to face and making them understand some of these issues properly. (Law, 1998) Besides using presentations, there is a need to interact personally with these potential users through the utilization of direct instructions. The company could go a long way in promoting awareness by distributing literature in the system. Since PWC is implementing the system on a global scale, then there is a need for the company to ensure that all the respective groups understand the intricacies involved through a method that leaves room for the communication of vast amounts of data.
Other ways in which this company can create awareness include; • Flyers • Posters • Wallet cards • Give a ways • Many more The company can also go a long way in ensuring that various professionals understand how to use this system. This can be done by implementing sessions tailored for such groups. Examples are all the accountants within the firm. By addressing a particular profession, then the company will have shown them just how specific the intranet will be to their respective needs. Promoting awareness should not just be restricted to understanding the system itself.
Awareness needs to be done through a two way exchange. In other words, the system needs to be made in such a manner that the underlying problems faced by the users need to be understood by the incoming team. One such example is the Knowledge Point help desk in which individuals can address their problems through such a system. Besides this, there is also a need to look into some of the challenges that the group is likely to encounter through a survey. Here, respondents can be asked about how they found the intranet and what the company can do to improve it.
Tracking this intranet on an annual basis can also go a long way in ensuring its success. (Anonymous, 1998) Issues that PWC could encounter for intranet users outside PWC Most of the problems to be faced by intranet users outside of this organization will emanate from the fact that there are still a number of corrections that are yet to be done in the process. An example of this issue is in terms of its Notes usage; the company is yet to implement a regional basis of this system. Consequently, the following Notes names will have to be carried out • Country • City • Line of service
Since ensuring the implementation of such system would take up a lot of time, then it can be said that the security of the user will be at stake. Another way in which security issues could present a hurdle to the respective clients under consideration is through the implementation of a private link to the client’s system. This can be problematic owing to the fact that implementing it is too complex thus leaving security needs unmet. An example of how such a problem was revealed was when the PWC tried implementing a private system for Hong Kong which was the centre point of all Asian Pacific clients.
This was implemented through Australian, New Zealand and Hong Kong gateways. Utilization of such measures could be very problematic owing to the fact that so many security bridges can arise out of such a complex system. Evaluation of Lotus and the Knowledge Curve Benefits of using such systems Also, the intranet was very important to this company because of the fact that it was quite simple to implement. In other words, it was relatively easy to package, capture and also deliver knowledge to the respective users.
Whether PWC could manage diverse and huge information with its technical infrastructure PWC can definitely manage such a diverse information system owing to the fact that it implemented a rationalization program. This was done in order to eliminate duplication of work that arose out of the availability of two sources of data. Besides this, the company was in need of synchronizing all the numerous databases that were located within different geographical areas. In order to solve such a problem, the company chose to delegate duties to lines of service.
Doing this was an effective and adequate way of making sure that all the problems being faced were dealt with meticulously. Besides that, the IT team would have been overburdened by the problem. Each line of service member was supposed to carry out identification of the data owner. PWC was able to carry this out effectively also data owners were assigned the task of regularly updating information so as to ensure that the data base was valuable. Carrying out these painstaking tasks to completion was an indication that the company can manage vast amounts of data. (Lotus, 2000)
Additionally, this company is capable of covering most of its challenges to be faced in managing huge databases by choosing to maintain open rather than closed systems. Closed systems may work for relatively small companies. However, companies of a global nature such as PWC are in need of making sure that people can update and access information as smoothly as possible and an open database would definitely be the way to go. Lastly, PWC was able to eliminate the duplication problem that it was facing at the beginning of their merger. This was also another painstakingly slow process since it was manually done.
Since the company was able to do this effectively, then one can assume that the company can be able to carry out the process of managing even larger amounts of data in the future. Ways in which the Knowledge Curve structure could be improved The Knowledge Curve could be improved in the future trough working on local Knowledge Curves. Already, the Development team has been assigned with this task. They need to ensure that all data is analyzed at local levels in order to streamline some of the tax management, document management and executive recruitment tasks (Farhoomand, 2000)
In order for the knowledge curve to work, there should be improvement of the company’s networking system. Servers for data sharing need to be worked on. Also, there are a number of related task that need to be managed and target include; monitoring, internet services, network management and security systems. The Knowledge Curve also requires continuous improvement of the Lotus Notes Infrastructure, this can best be achieved through the process of recertifying all identification within this systems. Besides this, the process of addressing through the use of initials needs to be implemented.
The Knowledge Curve needs to be in line with recent technologies. This needs to be done in such a manner that items such as voice recognition technologies need to reflect such perceptions. In line with this is the issue of upgrading the power system within the company. Lastly, the Knowledge curve can also be improved through a sound feedback teams. First of all, they need to ensure that calls are answered promptly. Also, they need to improve their level of integration between the use and the integration of internal networks.
How PWC should disseminate the service to its clients The company is interested in ensuring that most if not all the services offered to their respective clients are done in an effective manner. In order to do this, then clients should not be treated as if operational challenges are part of their problems. The company needs to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. (Leong, 1999) First of all, the company should send notifications to their clients about any recent upgrades within their system. This can be done through email.
Thereafter, the company should give details about those changes and leave room for inquiries from clients in case they do not understand the instructions. Shortly after, the company needs to carry implementation in one stage. This can be done in short intervals so as to ensure that the entire process is covered within a relatively short time. Customers can get weary of this by implementation if they constantly have to grapple with new changes. It would be best to get it over and done with at one go. Whether PWC should offer the service for free or for a fee
Since PWC prides itself in the value addition within its services, then the company should offer the service as a bonus to their clients. The rewards of implementing such a system will be depicted in the returns obtained by the system. PwC will be more effective in responding to client needs and they will also have a large capacity for managing information received from their respective clients. Consequently, the system will improve their profitability through more satisfied consumers and a wider client base. There will be no point in charging them for this because if PwC was to do this, they would be trying to get double benefits.
Conclusion Building a global network is a huge challenge for PwC but this company has more than enough capabilities to deal with this issue. First of all, their networking team has been able to manage effectively and they will continue to do so. Secondly project, development and customer care groups have also done their part. The company needs to keep up this effort in order to ensure that their Knowledge Curve has succeeded. References PWC (2000): Homepage, retrieved from http://www. pwcglobal. com/ accessed on 24th Jan 2008
Anonymous (1998): Moore Schiro: We changed the competitive landscape; Accounting Today, 28th September Thomas, S. (2000): Focus – Keeping pace with knowledge; Information Week Review, 155 Leong, K. (1999): Marketing Gets Innovative, Internet week, 3rd May, Lambert and Langley (2000): PwC Interview, Hong Kong, 1st February Lotus (2000): Definition of Notes, retrieved form http://www. whatiscom/notes. htm 30 May Farhoomand, A. (2000): Price water house Cooper: Building a global network; Asia case research centre Law, G. (1998): And then there were four; Management journal, 45, 1

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