Technology a Stumbling Block for Pharma Firms in their Digital Transformation Journey

It’s a fast-paced marketplace out there for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies. Keeping up with the pace of change is a constant battle, but having an efficient knowledge management system in place can give you a head start.

A new study found a correlation between having a sophisticated knowledge management system and better organizational performance. Unfortunately, the survey found pharma lags non-pharma organizations in knowledge management, with just 38% of pharma reporting “mature” or “expert” standards, versus 68% for non-pharma.

Accelerating growth and performance

In an 80-page report, research and consulting leader Best Practices, LLC examines how integrated and effective knowledge management systems can drive performance improvement across a company, its brands, business units and core functions. The study engaged 60 leaders from 45 companies, with pharma executives acting as the primary respondents.

The report said that high-performing knowledge systems “are like living organisms with integrated parts” that include the following 5 pillars:

  • Structure and leadership
  • Culture and incentives
  • Processes
  • Technology
  • Staffing and training

Best Practices used the five pillars as a framework to analyze how organizations across different industry sectors are managing knowledge to promote collaboration, develop greater market insights and support superior performance of new and in-line products.

The study discovered that within a company, technology and management that actively support knowledge sharing are key to creating a strong knowledge sharing culture. According to Best Practices, having a standardized knowledge management process is a leading indicator of how well a company handles its information and resources.

Here are CCC, we know this to be true. Recently, my colleague Jill Shuman wrote about how many large work places have no formal plan for capturing institutional knowledge. This leads to inefficiencies in cost and productivity.

The study also suggested that automation can help accelerate knowledge entry and curation, improving timeliness, user uptake and standardization across the enterprise.

Alongside technology, the other major drivers of a strong knowledge management organization are ample staffing levels, and an organizational structure that supports collaboration, according to the study.

Bringing knowledge management back to the forefront

We’ve previously discussed how knowledge management fell out of many organizations’ thinking in the early 2000s. This is for various reasons, which include the technology to support KM having failed to realize its potential; or rather, companies have hindered its potential by operating in corporate environments where people choose not to use the online reference platforms available to them.

But, knowing there are bottom-line benefits to be found by implementing a more systematic approach to knowledge management, pharma companies have good reason to ensure they have all five pillars in place and that they’re nurturing each stem.

How does your knowledge management system stack up to best practice? What, if anything, is missing?

Explore Copyright Clearance Center’s solutions for information and knowledge professionals. 


Author: Ryan Clark

Ryan Clark is a strategic client director working on partnerships between CCC and commercial clients. Ryan has been with CCC over five years and has worked in rightsholder relations and business development prior to joining the strategic client group. Ryan enjoys spending time with his family, and following Bruins hockey and Ireland rugby in his time away from work. 
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