This is the second of a two part blog series about the 4th Life Science Knowledge Management Summit, attended by myself and my colleague, Gretchen Nadasky.

In this blog, we take a look at another discussion presented at the conference on how Knowledge Management is being used within Life Sciences organizations.

An extremely interesting presentation was provided by Joe Horvath, PhD and Head of Global IT Systems-Quality at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Horvath stated that KM is about helping knowledge flow where it currently does not. The concept of knowledge flow is huge in the KM world right now, and given that perspective, he notes that semantics are critical. Centralized data management is a key piece of bringing together a diverse user base and information (data/files/other) from multiple content sources and processes.

Dr. Horvath’s focus was on how to work with IT to make a KM project a success. Anyone who has lived the life of both a functional KM Lead and an IT Support Lead for KM programs can understand how important this is.

Too often, KM business teams march into the technology elements of KM with preconceived notions about the applications they want, what those applications should do, how they should work, and how the business will control the supporting tools.

Dr. Horvath makes some key points:

  • KM is about people, not technology – though KM does not scale well without technology
  • Start small, plan for success with your IT team
  • Recognize and respect the role differences between process owners (typically business users) and KM System owners

Another key message: Work effectively with your IT team. Have a clear frame of reference relative to roles, investment reviews, the SDLC process, and company standards. Don’t bring IT in at the middle of your effort. Be a partner, not a customer is the best takeaway. This perspective is important, because KM Practitioners generally have very strong opinions on the role of IT in KM projects, and more often than not the relationship between business roles and IT roles can be needlessly adversarial.

You can read more about this topic and other interesting articles in a fine book about KM in Life Sciences, A Lifecycle Approach to Knowledge Excellence in the Biopharmaceutical Industry written by Nuala Calnan, Martin J. Lipa, Paige E. Kane and Jose C. Menezes (2017). The book contains a chapter contributed by Dr. Horvath titled, “Working with the IS/IT Function to Setup Your Knowledge Management Project for Success.

Read the case study:  Structuring Unstructured Content for Knowledge Management


Author.Gretchen.Nadasky.Image.2016.pngCo-authored by: Gretchen Nadasky 

Gretchen Nadasky is an Associate Director, Corporate & Enterprise at Paragon, part of CGI. Gretchen develops information management strategies and deploys tactical solutions that deliver high-level business performance. Transforming information processes, leading organizations through change, and building a foundation for sustainable growth, are at the core of Gretchen’s diverse skills set. Gretchen provides leadership, deep subject matter expertise, and strategy development to guide clients through digital transformation and has developed a proprietary method for gaining broad support for new initiatives. Gretchen earned a Masters in Information Science (MSLIS) from Pratt Institute in New York City while working as a corporate archivist, metadata analyst and web-preservation specialist.