Knowledge management has been interesting to pharmaceutical companies for a long time. In the 1990's Monsanto and Novartis were well-known for their efforts at taking advantage of the intelligence of their people to come up with the next great innovation. Both companies were also looking for innovation across varied disciplines. Now the focus seems to be on stemming brain drain, moving scientists away from paper and enhancing the use of online tools.
PharmaManufacturing.com has a recent article that talks about some of the needs from today's perspective, Pharmaceutical Knowledge Management | Brain Rein by Doug Bartholomew. The article highlights work at AstraZeneca and Baxter and has an interesting definition of KM from Jim Murphy at AMR:
We define knowledge management as a company’s ability to benefit from the experience and expertise of its people,” says Jim Murphy, knowledge management analyst at AMR Research, an IT research firm in Boston. “It’s a way for companies to retain this information, document it and transfer it to somebody else.
Technologies highlighted range from in-house projects at Baxter and AstraZeneca to SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. The article touches on electronic lab notebooks, wikis, and the problems of email for information (and knowledge) sharing. There isn't much discussion of how all these technologies build upon people connections to make KM happen. But it's interesting to see it discussed.