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The Project: To create an online system for employees to collaborate and improve their skills.

The Payoff: Cut $375 million annually off the training budget and another $20 million in travel expenses, thanks to Web conferencing.

Picture 300,000 of the world's sharpest workers brainstorming. That's how IBM (IBM) views its intranet. The idea is that for every challenge, someone can come up with an answer. And IBM's intranet, one of the world's biggest, brings the team together, sometimes in groups of more than 1,000.

Big sessions are known as Web Jams because of the jazzlike free flow of ideas. Other Web confabs are more intimate. They pay off not only in ideas but also in reduced travel. Web conferencing alone cuts expenses by $20 million. One sign that IBM's system works: From Audi to Campbell Soup (CPB) Co., companies are asking Big Blue for help in setting up their own intranets. By Spencer E. Ante

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