Culturing Relevant Data at Johnson & Johnson

A $47 billion company's data archives can be tricky things to command, especially for the CIO of one of its multibillion-dollar divisions.

When the CIO of a $3 billion unit of Johnson & Johnson decided to make knowledge management a priority, he knew he was in for a classic corporate battle of the old ways versus the new. In Ethicon CIO Zackarie Lemelles case, the old ways won.

While managing the IT needs of some 8,300 employees with a barely $90 million technology budget, Lemelle knew that his having a 118-year-old $47 billion corporate parent in J&J was both a blessing and a curse.

Its a blessing in the vastness of people and resources that his parent could offer him, but a curse in that mining such an ocean of data is expensive, time-consuming and difficult.

"The good thing about Johnson & Johnson is that, no matter the problem, someone somewhere here has already done it," Lemelle said. "Its just a matter of finding it and stealing it shamelessly."

The classroom version of knowledge management today typically envisions a huge data warehouse where all files, memos and design plans are all stored and analyzed.

All employees, contractors and freelancers are to write debriefing memos on every project and pour it into that database so other employees can benefit from the knowledge.

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