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Why Knowledge Management?


In todays world Knowledge Management (KM) is applied across the globe, in all types of organizations government & private, profit & non-profit, humanitarian organizations, educational institutes and so on. The purpose of knowledge management is not only to gain knowledge in a particular area, but to create, transform, transfer and apply the knowledge effectively to gain the ultimate objective of the organization.

It is one of the key drivers to create innovative ideas, unique services and solutions. So it is not surprising to see that some of the modern businesses are completely knowledge-based.

This article discusses the key concepts of knowledge management and why it is critical for organizations to manage their knowledge to survive the competition.

Key Concepts of Knowledge Management

“Most activities or tasks are not one-time events. Whether its drilling a well or conducting a transaction at a service station, we do the same things repeatedly. Our philosophy is fairly simple: every time we do something again, we should do it better than the last time”.

Sir John Steely Browne, BP, Harvard Business Review, 1997.

Different organizations and individuals may have different perspective of knowledge management. At a high level, organizational knowledge management is something that enables an organization to collectively and systematically capture, transform, distribute and apply its knowledge effectively to meet its objective. It is common to see that the KM initiatives and its outcomes are directly linked to the organizations goals like higher productivity, better customer experience, better quality and so on. In most of the modern companies, it is treated as a separate discipline with dedicated resources, tools, and knowledge workers. It covers a range of activities like identification, capture, creation, sharing and distribution of knowledge. In most cases Information Technology plays a crucial role in carrying out the above activities.

A learning organization relies heavily on its knowledge. It makes significant investments in this direction. Capability planning for individual employees based on their roles is done across the company. Well-structured knowledge organization with clear roles, responsibilities and policies are present in these organizations. Often these organizations have a Chief Knowledge Officer, advanced tools, technologies, infrastructure and well-structured communication mechanisms.

Why Knowledge Management

As per Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), effective practice of the management of explicit and tacit knowledge acts to increase the effectiveness and profitability of an organisation. Every organization has a business model. For any organization to survive, its business model has to be a successful one. It is essential to have one or more unique differentiator(s) that differentiates it from its competitors. E.g. excellent time-to-market record, high quality, significantly reduced cost due to high productivity, high customer satisfaction due to very low defect density, and high level of automation in business processes and so on. To achieve all the above, it is not only enough to have skilled and trained individuals, but also essential to utilize the collective knowledge of the organization in an effective manner. An organization could be into its existence for several years. Over several years, employees would have executed several assignments, some successfully and some unsuccessfully. There is learning from each and every such experience. All these are collectively known as the experience of the organization. This knowledge must be used effectively. The above can be explained with the help of a scenario. A global consulting firm operates in multiple geographies across the world. It maintains its annual sales data for every region. However it is not making the desirable profit margins since the last 2 years. Now the company has embarked on an exercise of coming up with a global sales strategy. But before coming up with a strategy, it needs to understand its internal strength and weaknesses as well as the external opportunities and threats. The global sales data can be a starting point. At the moment, it is just data. It has to be compiled and transformed into meaningful information. The information needs to be analysed carefully and the trend that emerges from it should be examined and understood. E.g. the company might be doing very good in certain geographies and not so good in others. It might be very effective in certain industries but not so effective in other sectors. Various parameters like the economic and political situation of those geographies, availability of skilled resources in certain sectors, cost of resources and many other factors could be contributing to this outcome. Once this knowledge is available, the sales strategy can be formulated based on this learning. This is a classic example of how organizations take decisions and survive based on the knowledge available to them.

Sometimes the knowledge is used to respond faster to a situation; sometimes it enables the employees not to repeat a mistake, and sometimes to understand its customers and other stakeholders better. Some of the most common objectives for the organizations to manage its knowledge are reduced cost, faster response time, higher productivity and profitability, improved products and services. In todays world the organizations need to learn and develop competencies fast in order to expand and grow fast.


It will not be inaccurate to say that in modern times, knowledge management is not optional any more for an organization. The basic functions of a KM is knowledge capture, storage, knowledge internalization, knowledge re-use and exchange. At the end learn from the captured knowledge and take informed decisions based on the same

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E-waste scenario in India


Since the last couple of decades, IT has become an integral part of our life. In this era of globalization, the social, economic and cultural boundaries have blurred. The exponential growth of IT in all spheres of life can be credited for the same.

Businesses have become extremely competitive. Innovative ideas are abundant in making lives better in all aspects. Technology controls every aspect of our life be it interaction through social media, banking, healthcare, agriculture, learning, entertainment etc. Due to this reason (for being heavily dependent on technology), every business is striving to make huge investment in IT facilities and Infrastructure.

All the above have also created a highly negative impact on environment, human health and natural resources. Initially IT was perceived as a non-polluting industry with no adverse effect on the environment. However, in the last decade this misconception has changed and the global community is becoming increasingly aware of its impact on climate change and global warming. One of the main causes is generation of E-waste at an alarming rate. It contains hazardous elements like lead, mercury, cadmium, black carbon etc. that are extremely dangerous for the environment and human life.

As per the report called Global E-waste Monitor 2014, published by United Nations University (UNU), the U.S. and China are the biggest contributors of E-waste, producing 32% of the overall global E-waste in 2014. As per this report, the overall volume will increase by 21% in the next three years. Developing countries like India are catching up fast; India being the fifth largest E-waste generator, with 1.7 Mt E-waste generated in 2014. Another major challenge faced by India is the lack of stringent regulations and legislations for E-waste disposal. As a result, many developed countries ship their E-waste to India. This has made India a global dumping yard. When these E-wastes are not disposed properly, it creates disaster to the nature and human life.

E-waste scenario in India

In 2017, the number of mobile phone users world-wide is projected as 4.77 billion. The global shipment figure for laptops, PCs and tablets together is close to 650 Million worldwide (Shipment forecast of tablets, 2016). As per a study, fortune 500 companies assign on an average 3.5 devices to each of their employees.

Due to this high volume of usage of electronic devices world-wide, the generation of E-waste is also increasing as a result of discarding old and obsolete devices. As per global statistics, electronic devices are producing 50 MT E-waste annually and it is growing at a rate of 5% every year. It has been predicted that this growth rate will be faster and by 2020, computer based E-waste will increase by 500% and mobile phone by 18 times compared to the year 2007 (C. VATS and SINGH, 2014).

In India, the IT industry has grown at a rate of 42.4% between the years 1995 and 2000 (C. VATS and SINGH, 2014). This includes growth in software as well as hardware sectors. The telecom industry has grown very fast in the last decade and mobile phones have penetrated deep into the rural India as well. The total mobile phone subscriber base crossed the 1 Billion mark in October 2015 (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, 2015). Moving towards newer technology, frequent upgrade of infrastructure etc. have resulted in discarding obsolete electronic equipment and network infrastructure at an alarming rate. These mainly include PCs, laptops, servers, mobile phones, televisions, music systems and other electronic devices used by industries as well as for personal use. Considering a population of 1.25 billion, this is a cause of great worry for India.

The main challenges are rapid growth of cities, lack of landfills, lack of awareness among people and low environment standards set by government. Due to low environment standards and absence of stringent environment laws, many multinational companies from the developed countries ship their E-waste to India for disposal. Although the per-person GHG emission in India is significantly low compared to developed countries like USA and Germany, the poorest of the poor in India remain most vulnerable to the health hazards caused by it.

Proper disposal of E-waste:

The policy of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Refurbish is very relevant to E-waste management. By reusing and recycling hardware components like ink cartridges, old PCs instead of throwing them away, reduces the landfill requirement. Most of the unwanted electronic equipment land up in landfills which should never be the case. In order to avoid accumulation of toxic materials in the landfills, infrastructure for recycling and refurbishing must be developed.

As per the reports published with respect to India, 60% of E-waste remains in the warehouses or storages. Only 40% is made available for recycling by both formal and informal recyclers. In the recycling process, as high as 95% of the E-waste is used for refurbishing. Only 5% needs to be disposed (C. VATS and SINGH, 2014). This shows the huge potential for energy saving and pollution reduction by the recycling process.

As part of the E-waste management policy, strategies should be drawn out for the main action items such as Collection, Recycling and Disposal. Multiple levels of collection points (local, urban, state level etc.) should be created for maximum amount of collection of E-waste. Awareness should be generated among the local population about the harmful effects of E-waste if not handled safely. Infrastructure and training facility should be provided to the registered E-waste recyclers for easy recycling and disposal (C. VATS and SINGH, 2014).

Some other measures can also be taken to minimize the E-waste. E.g. instead of using toxic materials like lead, other more environment friendly materials like copper and silver may be used.


A robust E-waste management policy includes reduce, reuse and recycle of E-waste. There could be guidelines that reduce E-waste generation e.g. unnecessary printing. The policy should take into consideration more efficient recycling of electronic scraps whereby useful scraps can be reused and the harmful components are safely disposed. In developing countries like India, this can be a sustainable business model with job creation, skill development of the local population and environment benefits.


VATS, M. and SINGH, S. (2014). Status of E-waste in India – A Review. International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology, 03(10), pp.16917-16931.


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Concepts of Green Computing

What is Green Computing?

Green IT can be defined as the process that focuses on the strategic deployment of operations and information technology to dynamically, sustainably and responsibly align business-oriented goals with green objectives for the entire duration of operations (Mann, Grant and Mann, 2009).

Green IT is also known as green computing. In simple terms it implies eco-friendly IT i.e. Implementing IT solutions and infrastructure efficiently with minimal or no negative impact on the environment and without any wastage. This has led to a revolution in the field of computing technology. It has forced technology firms to come up with several innovative solutions and products aiming at reduction in energy consumption, reduction in E-waste, improved disposal mechanism etc. IT can also play as an enabler for a sustainable environment and society.

Key components of Green Computing

The ultimate objective of Green computing is the environmentally responsible use of computers and related resources. Some of the key components can be identified as

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Reduced use of resources (Reduce-Reuse-Refurbish-Recycle)
  • Telecommuting
  • Green Procurement


Energy Efficiency:

The use of ICT brings in enormous operational efficiency. However, it is seen that the IT equipment are used in an extremely inefficient manner, wasting huge amount of energy. An IT system comprises of hardware, software, networks and people. So efficiency has to be built at every layer of the value chain.

It is seen that the desktops are not utilized to their fullest extent when in the power on mode and 50% of the desktop power is wasted. Energy saving options are disabled in as high as 90% of the PCs. Printers utilize more energy than PCs and so power wastage by printers is also more. Often single-sided printing is done by the users resulting in higher power and paper consumption.

IT systems process and store huge amount of data on servers. Hundreds and thousands of such servers constitute data centers consuming several terawatt hours of electricity globally. The number of datacenter servers globally has reached at approximately 30 million in the last decade. The overall electricity requirement for these servers have doubled up between the years 2000 and 2005 (Saha, 2014). Not surprisingly this leads to huge amount of heat generation and carbon emission and leads to huge cost for cooling. Unfortunately these data centers are very often underutilized (12% to 15% of their capacity during working hours).

Interestingly, as per the graph below, it is the PCs and Monitors that contribute most to the CO2 emissions (40%), followed by servers (23%).

CO2 emission by equipment

CO2 emission by equipment

The above calls for implementing some best practices on the part of people using these devices. It also makes necessary to innovate energy-efficient equipment that use less energy to deliver same computing power.

Improved Datacenter cooling mechanism can be deployed by restructuring datacenter layouts, efficient rack and server arrangements, raised floors facilitating improved airflows, placing cooling systems at the right place for maximum effect and so on. Various power management policies can be implemented across the organization such as using thin clients instead of desktops, policy to auto-switch off monitors and printers while not in use, using energy efficient lighting in all the facilities and purchase of energy efficient computers (Mann, Grant and Mann, 2009). Some simple steps taken by employees will result in huge benefits. Some of the best practices include using Energy Star labeled products, turning off personal computers when not in use, putting computer in Sleep mode or Hibernate mode (low power state), avoiding screen savers and so on (Mittal and Kaur, 2013)

IT organizations should employ energy usage profiling as a practice. The consumption of energy by various IT components should be measured and monitored and accordingly corrective steps should be taken. Energy usage profile can be implemented for hardware, Operating System and Application software; whereas power consumption when the resource is idle and power consumption when it is being used to its fullest capacity are measured. Low cost tools are available for this purpose. Once the data is available, optimization of hardware and software resources can be done (Patra and Nath, 2014).

Computer virtualization refers to abstraction of computer resources whereas multiple logical computer systems are run on one physical hardware. Also multiple physical devices can be combined into one powerful logical system. With virtualization, where number of hardware components are reduced, it leads to reduced power consumption and reduced cooling requirements. Virtualization also helps in distributing workload among servers efficiently so that the servers are either busy or put in low power state (Patra and Nath, 2014).

Reduced use of resources (Reduce-Reuse-Refurbish-Recycle):

In the context of Green IT and reduced usage of resources, the key terms to refer to are Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Refurbish. Reducing consumption is an obvious way of savings resources. Adopting best practices like printing of documents that are absolutely necessary and avoiding all unnecessary printing, printing using both sides of the page rather than single side etc. will save electricity as well as paper (Saha, 2014).

As per Mann, Grant and Mann (2009), Recycling is the Oldest trick in the book but still gets overlooked and underutilized as an option by the IT operations team very often. Small steps like recycling the ink cartridges and laser toners by refilling them can be hugely beneficial in the long run. Reuse old hardware and computers as long as they meet the requirements, by upgrading with new peripherals if necessary. Manufacture hardware that have a longer life. Refurbishing computers and servers is also an option where old hardware can be repackaged as new ones by replacing a few parts with new ones as per requirements. As per Saha (2014), many organizations are open to the concept of refurbished hardware instead of going for fresh purchases.


Instead of physical commuting from one place to another, organizations may adopt practices like video conferencing, use of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology etc. It helps in reduction of GHG emission due to travel and reduction in telephony wiring infrastructure by using VoIP technology. It also results in huge cost savings for the organizations related to travel, savings related to office spaces and office infrastructure costs and leads to increased worker satisfaction, improved work efficiency and time optimization.

Green Procurement:

Businesses should also adhere to green guidelines while making purchasing decisions. E.g. they should register only those suppliers who are aligned with their own green vision. EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is a procurement tool promoted by Green Electronics Council. It has established a clear set of criteria and guidelines for vendors to design and manufacture green products. Vendors can register their products with EPEAT if they fulfil the criteria. It also helps companies to evaluate and compare computer related products and equipment based on green criteria.

Companies can also define their own green purchasing policy with purpose, scope and procedures. They can employ independent third party agencies to monitor the suppliers (Patra and Nath, 2014). This will also encourage suppliers to go for green manufacturing.

One of the immediate benefits of Green IT is cost saving. Adopting energy efficient measures saves huge amount of money for the organizations and is one of the main drivers for adopting green principles.


Mann, H., Grant, G. and Mann, I. (2009). Green IT – An Implementation Framework. AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 121 Available at: [Accessed 5 Jun. 2016].

Mittal, P. and Kaur, N. (2013). Green Computing – Need and Implementation. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Engineering & Technology, 2(3), pp.1200-1203.

Patra, C. and Nath, A. (2014). Green Computing – New Paradigm of Energy Efficiency. International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management Studies, 2(11), pp.533-542.

Saha, B. (2014). Green Computing. International Journal of Computer Tends and Technology, 14(2), pp.46-50.


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