Case Study: Siemens ShareNet: Building a Knowledge Network

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In response to industry demands, Siemens underwent a major corporate restructuring in 1998; among other changes, a new department was established, the ICN or Information Communications Network. The ICN created ShareNet, an information network readily accessible through any web browser, to take advantage of the knowledge gained from the company's 156 years of experience and the current talents the it has to offer, and make these information available 24/7 for any Siemens office anywhere in the world; to enable real-time exchange of information among the company's numerous international sites; and to ultimately increase sales. This paper presents a case study of ShareNet; how it is affected by the industry landscape; its internal concerns; and how it can transcend the issues raised against it.

Company Background

Siemens started as a small precision-engineering workshop in Berlin; established in 1847 by cousins Werner and Johann Georg Siemens and Johann Georg Halske, its initial line of products include wire insulation, warning bells for railways and electrical telegraph systems.

A series of technological breakthroughs helped the company expand its product line and achieve meteoric growth; after World War II, Siemens played a pivotal role in the reconstruction of Germany, and began their expansion to other countries. As of 1998, Siemens boasts of a 416,000 strong workforce in 190 countries; with sales of over 60.1 billion Euros; and a widely diverse catalogue of products ranging from electrical and medical engineering, telecommunications networks and gadgets, and even consultancy services in fields such as finance, real estate development, and insurance.


New Competitors, New Customers

Towards the end of the 1990s, established companies like Siemens began losing out to start-up companies in the telecommunications industry; these companies were offering innovative products and services and the market welcomed them with open arms. But these companies tailored their...