iSpeak Blog

How Knowledge Management Enhances Organizational Performance

Thomas Carganico
How Knowledge Management Enhances Organizational Performance

Knowledge management is a vital tool for sustaining competitive advantage and improving performance. It is the conscious process of acquiring, analyzing, storing, and disseminating information related to products, manufacturing processes, and components.

Knowledge sources include:

  • prior knowledge (in public domain or internally documented)
  • pharmaceutical development studies
  • technology transfer
  • process validation studies during the product lifecycle
  • manufacturing experience and innovation
  • continual improvement, and
  • change management activities.

Knowledge management allows organizations to spread critical information held by specific individuals or teams across business areas and practices, enhancing levels of expertise and improving efficiencies organization-wide. In life sciences, rich, deep, and open information sharing is of overwhelming importance. Communicating information to knowledge workers at large is precisely what knowledge management does.

Data is shaping our new world

Peter Drucker once pointed out that the pharmaceutical industry was an information industry – not manufacturing or even a health industry.1 Since then, the production of data has raced beyond anything he could have imagined.

I have found, now more than ever, that true institutional knowledge is developed as the result of common knowledge, and that systematized information sharing and transparency are fundamental to the growth and performance of the organization.

The more we share knowledge, the more added value each item can bring. Known as “the density effect”, when many people collaborate in exchanging information, the group as a whole achieves better results. This is because knowledge management enables organizations to make decisions more efficiently, encourages an organizational culture of learning, and drives and facilitates continual improvements to data integrity and product quality, resulting in increased patient safety.

Staying ahead of the curve in the digital age

Exponential amounts of data are being produced and retrieved from management systems, equipment, workers, products, organizational communications, and much more. Because it is an increasingly valuable asset, it’s critical to have processes and tools in place for mining, processing, and analyzing the data obtained from these sources.

In our highly regulated environment – where data and data integrity are massive assets for the business – knowledge management improves performance organization-wide by preventing repeated missteps, guiding product development, and sharing internal and external feedback. By accelerating business decisions, it can also give a company a crucial advantage in a highly competitive industry.

Driven by the pandemic, digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at organizational and industry levels. At the same time, the density effect has taken a knock as people meet less often than they used to in the past.

Virtual work sessions, in my opinion, are not the same as in-person discussions. That is why digital transformation is critical. The pandemic proved the efficacy of digital platforms in connecting knowledge workers to one another, and how the assimilation of knowledge can be enabled through digital solutions.

Transforming the employee experience

Research by Deloitte2 reveals that the digital workplace is all about employees’ ability to do their job by collaborating, communicating, and connecting. The goal is to forge productive business relationships within and beyond natural workgroups and to enable knowledge sharing across the organization.

Accelerating digitalization can result in a happier, engaged, and satisfied workforce. Breaking down communication barriers positions the organization to transform the employee experience by fostering efficiency, innovation, and growth.

People feel more intrinsically part of the company as they can play a proactive role in decision making and contribute to company growth. The results include lower staff turnover, greater attraction of top talent, and an enhanced corporate reputation – all of which lead to improved profitability.

iSpeak Blog posts provide an opportunity for the dissemination of ideas and opinions on topics impacting the pharmaceutical industry. Ideas and opinions expressed in iSpeak Blog posts are those of the author(s) and publication thereof does not imply endorsement by ISPE.

  • 1Drucker, Peter F. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 1985, Harper & Row. NY, NY.