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Overview of knowledge management

With the advent of new technologies, a greater amount of data needs to be sourced, stored and maintained. Over the past couple of decades, the discipline of knowledge management has come into focus and has become a critical asset within all industries.  


The concept of knowledge management began within the management consulting community. After the emergence of the internet, organisations quickly realised that it was a wonderful tool that could make information easily accessible and distributable among geographically distant units of their organisations. As a result, consulting organisations began disseminating principles and techniques of knowledge management with other organisations. With each new advancement in communication and learning technology, the possibilities for knowledge capture and distribution expanded. The term knowledge management was first utilised by Peter Drucker in the 1980s. However, it was only recognised as a discipline in the early 1990s.

What is knowledge management?

Knowledge management is a vital tool of any organisation. The term knowledge management is broad and can mean different things to different people. Some specifically define it as a collection of management practices and techniques that are used by an organisation to distribute information, expertise and intellectual capital. These strategies and procedures are designed to identify, obtain, structure, value, control and share an organisation’s intellectual assets to enrich its performance and also its competitiveness. It plays an essential role in many administrative activities, such as solving problems or coming up with new ideas. Knowledge management has four types of success factors: human-oriented, organisation oriented, technology-oriented, and management processes orientated.

Broadly, knowledge management consists of:

  • Content management – making the organisation’s data and information available to members of the organisation through portals, etc.
  • Expertise location – involves acquiring the knowledge that you need from the right expert.
  • Lesson learned – attempting to capture expertise and make the knowledge accessible.
  • Communities of practice – individuals sharing interests and discussing problems and best practices.

Knowledge management in pharma and biotech

Knowledge management within the pharmaceutical and biotech industry is equally as valuable. It can improve productivity in the mist of an increasingly complex research and development process. It allows the sharing of data and information between different parts of an organisation and also the sharing of expertise with partnering companies. Knowledge management also helps companies explore the different ways technology can be used to generate new knowledge from big data.

In recent years, technology has had a big impact on management. It has inspired the development of robust software platforms that harness knowledge management strategies. Knowledge management software continues to evolve to meet the new demands and challenges that arise. Knowledge management trends that are emerging, such as cloud-based software, are focused on meeting users where they are. Moreover, the utilisation of machine learning methods within knowledge management has increased compliance and reduced operational costs.

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Make sure you register for D4 Global, where Etzard Stolte will be discussing the automated knowledge management methods being used at Roche.

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