It's not about how much data you have, it's what you do with it

November 15, 2018
Nicola Hall, SVP and General Manager, Switzerland at IQVIA

It’s been argued that pharmaceutical companies have more data to deal with than organizations in any other industry. 

But it’s not about how much data you have, it’s what you do with it. While the sector has certainly benefitted from numerous advances in the collection of data, most organizations are simply not set up — structurally, technologically or culturally — to maximize the potential of these measurement riches. As a result, companies will typically use less than 10% of their relevant data in near-real-time decision-making.

At the core of the problem are the unique complexities of the life sciences industry. Companies must manage an increasing number of stakeholders and customers (physicians, patients, pharmacists, managed care, advocates, shareholders, and so on) using multiple messages via an ever-expanding array of channels — and all within a strict regulatory framework that creates barriers to information-sharing between functions. As a result, commercial operations have evolved as a series of vertical silos, incorporating sales, marketing, medical affairs, market access and patient services, each dependent on awkwardly retrofitted tools that lack the level of sophistication required to deliver meaningful, personalized customer experiences.

The lack of collaboration and data flow between these silos means that healthcare professionals (HCPs) and other customers are bombarded with duplicate or conflicting messages, with little apparent coordination or concern for their individual needs. Hence, the customer experience becomes inconsistent and unreliable, creating friction instead of loyalty and trust.

Meanwhile, companies’ ability to use data predictively and intelligently is lost. Specific missed opportunities might include: providing real-time formulary status to field reps; understanding the influence dynamics between healthcare providers and organization; interpreting HCP referral pathways within specific therapeutic categories; and coordinating the impact of medical affairs, sales and marketing activities. Not to mention being able to feed accurate data from customer interactions back into the loop so that insights may be shared and used immediately to direct future actions.

So how do we make this happen? Clearly, the solution requires a paradigm shift, from vertical to horizontal thinking; in essence, breaking down those silo walls. If this sounds like a dramatic upheaval, well, it kind of is. But a new groundbreaking strategy, called Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE) makes it possible and relatively pain-free.

 

OCE horizontally aligns and coordinates people, processes and technology to increase efficiency across all functions, channels and stakeholders, so that everyone in the organization is working with a single, consistent view of the customer, and so that each brand presents a unified front to customers. It will transform the way companies share information, make decisions and coordinate interactions with their customers.

 

OCE requires both a cultural and a technological transformation within the pharma organization. But if companies are willing to commit to a horizontal mindset, then the OCE package takes care of the IT that underpins its successful operation.

OCE is a suite of modules layered on top of best-in-class existing platforms (salesforce.com, Microsoft, Reltio, etc) that are common to most Life Sciences organizations. Crucially, this means companies can implement OCE at their own pace using the platforms they already have in place.

Once companies have prioritized which areas to adopt first — perhaps certain geographies, competitive markets or specific disease categories — they can experiment with OCE to figure out what works best for different customers, fine-tuning their approaches on-the-fly, and applying these to the broader orchestration vision.

Ultimately, by making better use of data and insights, OCE will reduce friction, increase the value of customer interactions, and offer an altogether different customer experience that will engender trust and loyalty — yielding better health outcomes and greater ROI. That way, everybody wins. 


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