There are varying definitions of knowledge management and they are explained fully in Goodman and Riddell’s book. Briefly, knowledge management comprises the principles and processes to aid the sharing and leveraging of data to meet business objectives. Successful knowledge management programmes can save time, resources and money. As a data-driven business, knowledge management has always been important for the pharmaceutical industry. This is particularly true today as the pharmaceutical development model evolves. As companies merge or fragment, and as a mobile workforce moves around the industry, maintenance and management of company knowledge bases is critical.
This book examines how knowledge management can enhance research and development and manufacturing activities in the pharmaceutical industry. Goodman and Riddell have extensive experience in supporting pharmaceutical development through information management and bring their expertise to the text. Applying some of the principles of knowledge management to their own book, the authors not only impart their combined knowledge but collect and document the experiences of many interviewees with relevant industry backgrounds. The book is not a “how to” guide because, for a topic as complex as knowledge management, one size does not fit all. However, it does give a clear overview of the theory of knowledge management and provides the reader with the key elements needed to create a culture that supports it.
A relatively short read, the book is nevertheless detailed and descriptive, with diagrams to aid understanding where necessary. Many readers may primarily associate knowledge management with the information technology systems used to support it (for example, SharePoint or Documentum) and although IT systems are discussed, there is not a big focus on the actual systems used, presumably because information on these would quickly become out of date. Instead, the focus is mainly on the underlying principles of knowledge management, which must be understood to enable optimal use of digital solutions.
Most usefully, the book strives to impart lessons learned from previous real-life experiences within pharmaceutical companies, with accounts provided by the interviewees. Those wanting to implement or improve knowledge management within their own companies can learn from the successes and failures of others through this text. This book will be of most interest to those managing research and development or manufacturing processes. However, the principles discussed could be applied to other areas of the pharmaceutical business.
‘Knowledge management in the pharmaceutical industry’ by Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell. Ppxiv+186 Price £70. Farnham: Gower Publishing Limited; 2014. ISBN 978 1 4094 5335 2