Improving Knowledge Management: Best Practices for Biotech and Pharma Companies
Some people claim that what you don't know can’t hurt you. At Research Solutions, we disagree with this way of thinking. Instead, we align with the wisdom of Ben Franklin, who said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
But investing in knowledge is not so simple.
To illustrate the complexities, think of knowledge as the oil of the research industry. Knowledge, for example, must be mined, processed, refined, packaged, discovered, protected, delivered, consumed, shared, stored, remembered, cited, and retrieved. We may not buy it by the barrel, but a smooth-running research organization requires that it flow just the same. And like oil, we all want it at the best possible price and with the greatest convenience.
Challenges of Knowledge Management
When it comes to the scientific, technical, and medical (STM) knowledge embodied in scholarly journal articles, figuring out how to get your hands on the right content can be downright puzzling. That's true for small to medium sized biotech companies and large pharmaceutical corporations alike.
Consider for example, this case study:
BIAL, Portugal's leading pharma company, initiated an improvement initiative to drive the success of its knowledge management system.
A key objective of BIAL’s knowledge management strategy was to make access to content fast, easy, automated—and independent of anyone in document management. Previously, the company's document delivery process was manually intensive and single-threaded through a mediator. That system made it difficult to scale up, and BIAL had no way to capture the vital business information associated with its actual content usage.
Moving to a more automated approach to document delivery, BIAL deployed Article Galaxy Enterprise, which removed barriers to access. Armed with the platform’s literature management tools, BIAL’s knowledge workers spend less time preparing statistics and trying to understand user behavior, because all the needed data is just a few clicks away.
BIAL Group’s Dr. Teresa Silveira believes that retaining knowledge is a critically important—and often overlooked—piece of the knowledge management puzzle:
"The company invests a lot of money in highly skilled professionals because BIAL´s scientific collaborators have knowledge that is valuable to the organization. Whenever people order a journal article, that activity also constitutes a part of the investment.
"But what happens when somebody leaves the company? How does BIAL ensure that it captures the knowledge that those people take with them? How does BIAL retain their thoughts, ideas, the fruits of their collaborations? In the absence of such a process, the person taking their place has to start from scratch.
"But what if BIAL could actually transfer those knowledge bases to new people coming into the organization? That person would then be able to open the libraries of interest, and at minimum discover the key collaborators, the shared bibliographies, the comments and annotations added to that content, and everything else that goes with it. It would be like following a story: no matter who comes or goes, there would be a continuity.
"This is why I emphasize the fact that if a company wants to be a strong performer, the focus can’t just be in terms of information access, but also on managing the knowledge of all their collaborators."
You can find the complete BIAL case study here.
Improving Knowledge Management
We consulted with two of the industry's top knowledge management experts to get their insights on how biotech and pharma companies can
- Search, discover, acquire, and manage STM knowledge in new and powerful ways
- Ensure copyright-compliance without jumping through hoops
- Stay current on the research needed to support new products and monitor for safety
We compiled these insights into a white paper: Solving the Knowledge Management Puzzle in Biopharma. The paper offers concrete guidance on how companies can elevate their knowledge management systems—to improve performance, spur innovation and discovery, and gain competitive advantage. Click here to download the white paper.