Can you handle a KM reboot? User feedback & the KM experience in a pharma company

Updated: May 29

What would you do if user feedback suggested that your KM team was more in love with their solutions than the user experience, would you go into denial or take it as an opportunity for a reboot?


Read: Transform Knowledge Management: discover your ah-ha moment


Knowledge management user experience

I do a lot of work with Knowledge Management change initiatives, and one of the biggest challenges facing KM teams today is defining and realising the KM value proposition.

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As an advisor, my KM experience inside an organisation usually starts with a KM team that's frustrated with resistance or failure:


"People just don't get it..."

"People don't have time..."

"It's the culture around here..."

But how many KM teams hold a mirror up to themselves to find out if they are the ones creating the resistance?


The following data is from a global KM team in one of the world's leading pharmaceutical brands. In scoping conversations, the Director positioned the KM function as world-leading. However, KM was struggling with engagement and involvement with its programmes.


When I hear things such as this, I immediately become curious about whether the KM team is in love with its solutions or user challenges and opportunities? I also want to learn more about the KM team's collective beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent (BASKET), and limiting factors that might contribute to a negative user experience, indicated by the lack of engagement and involvement.


To help, I use a benchmarking approach to explore opportunities in the gaps between value perceptions, delivery capability and user experience.

What would you do if you received the following data from 33 Knowledge Management Associates and Leads from six regional hubs, and a sample of 155 users (project co-ordinators & managers)?


Collapsed data sorting: critical shortfall (1-2) | Performance Challenge (3) | Optimum Performance (4-5)


Q1: "You look for value in KM products, processes and services."

Value perception: 18 of 33 (55%) stated this is not or only moderately important in their role

Performance perception: 21 of 33 (64%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (critical shortfall to performance Challenge)

User perception: 70% rated this as a critical shortfall or Performance Challenge in the KM team


Q2: "You accept user feedback in a constructive manner."

Value perception: 11 of 33 (33%) stated this is not important in their role

Performance perception: 18 of 33 (55%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (Critical Shortfall to Performance Challenge)

User perception: 79% rated this as a critical shortfall or Performance Challenge in the KM team


Q3: "You seek opportunities to overcome barriers among users that may impede results."

Value perception: ALL team members stated that this is highly important to their role

Performance perception: 18 of 33 (61%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (Critical Shortfall to Performance Challenge)

User perception: 76% rated this as a critical shortfall or Performance Challenge in the KM team


Q4: "You make it easy for users to collaborate in the delivery of new KM solutions."

Value perception: 9 of 33 (27%) stated this is not important in their role

Performance perception: 18 of 33 (61%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (Critical Shortfall to Performance Challenge)

user perception:

User perception: 90% rated this as a critical shortfall or Performance Challenge in the KM team


Q5: "You use metrics to measure and show the impact AND results of KM initiatives."

Value perception: 18 of 33 (55%) stated this is not or only moderately important in their role

Performance perception: 29 of 33 (88%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (Critical Shortfall to Performance Challenge)

user perception:

User perception: 77% rated this as a Critical shortfall or Performance Challenge in the KM team


This data is from 2018. The initial response from the KM team was shock, denial and blame.

However, this team benefited from exceptional leaders with high emotional and social intelligence levels, fuelling a growth mindset.


The team went on an 18-month development journey that stripped KM back to the user experience and the delivery of meaning and value. The team adopted a fresh approach to creating change embedded in applied influence and keeping users engaged and involved in the process from need-benefit analysis to design, delivery and performance management.

Fast forward to 2020 and see the impact a KM reboot can have.


Data from 38 Knowledge Management Associates and Leads from six regional hubs, and a sample of 111 users (project co-ordinators & managers)?


Q1: "You look for value in KM products, processes and services."

Value perception: All team members stated that this was highly-important to their row

Performance perception: 33 of 38 (87%) rated team performance between 4 and 5 (Optimum Performance)

User perception: 80% rated this as being at Optimal Performance (score of 4-5)


Q2: "You accept user feedback in a constructive manner."

Value perception: All team members stated that this was highly-important to their row

Performance perception: 31 of 38 (82%) rated team performance between 1 and 3 (critical shortfall to performance challenge)

User perception: 89% rated this as being at Optimal Performance (score of 4-5)


Q3: "You seek opportunities to overcome barriers among users that may impede results."

Value perception: All team members stated that this is highly important to their role

Performance perception: 32 of 33 (97%) rated team performance between 4 and 5 (Optimal Performance)

User perception: 91% rated this as being at Optimal Performance (score of 4-5)


Q4: "You make it easy for users to collaborate in the delivery of new KM solutions."

Value perception: All team members stated that this is highly important to their role

Performance perception: All team members rated team performance between 4 and 5 (Optimal Performance)

User perception: 91% rated this as being at Optimal Performance (score of 4-5)


Q5: "You use metrics to measure and show the impact AND results of KM initiatives."

Value perception: All team members stated that this is highly important to their role

Performance perception: 32 of 33 (97%) rated team performance between 4 and 5 (Optimal Performance)

User perception: 84% rated this as being at Optimal Performance (score of 4-5)

You and I can interrogate the data and its meaning, but it is hard to dispute its meaning and value to the team and the organisation. Importantly, as a snapshot, the data hammers home what can happen when a KM team embraces a reboot that focuses on shifting from falling in love with themselves to falling in love with their users.

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