Original Research

Research as a service offering of knowledge management firms in the fourth industrial revolution

Lucian T. de Koker, Tanya du Plessis
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1178 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1178 | © 2020 Lucian T. de Koker, Tanya du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2019 | Published: 11 June 2020

About the author(s)

Lucian T. de Koker, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tanya du Plessis, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is primarily based on innovative new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things, which is generally considered as a driving force behind recent global changes. This revolution is reshaping economies, the global landscape and business ecosystems. The 4IR is disrupting the status quo of traditional business operations.

Objective: The research objective was to determine how a newly-developed information and knowledge management framework can be used as an enabler for knowledge management (KM) firms to successfully conduct business in the 4IR, further establishing if new innovative services are required for KM firms in the 4IR.

Methods: Qualitative research methodology was used to select business cases, and critical case sampling was used for the selection of interviewees. Structured content analysis was conducted on the business cases, and in-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with the interviewees.

Results: The result was the development of an information and knowledge management framework that can be used as a new 4IR enabler by KM firms. The research elaborates on a new service offering that was developed specifically for the KM firm, namely Research as a Service.

Conclusion: Knowledge management firms need to adapt their existing business frameworks, business models and commercialisation lifecycles, to ensure that the business is prepared for successful business operations in the 4IR.


Keywords

fourth industrial revolution; information and knowledge management framework; knowledge management firm; Research as a Service; business models.

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