By Leilani C. Latimer
Vice President Global Marketing, Partnerships & Commercial Operations
Expectations around insights – your customers want value and they want more
At the most recent eyeforpharma conference in Philadelphia, panels of experts agreed that the focus on value is driving the need for major transformation of the pharmaceutical industry. Data and derived insights are at the heart of this transformation – or at least, they need to be. The industry’s key stakeholders have great expectations around how increased engagement and value will be delivered. This is a strategic shift; the way sales and marketing teams use data to make short and long term decisions needs to change dramatically, given the pace of change in the industry. Looking at other industries’ transformation, in particular with regards to customer expectations, commercial teams in pharma must deliver better solutions, and prioritize what is most important to its key stakeholders and customers.
How can this transformation be accelerated? Many companies have initiatives underway, but not many have full-blown, cross-enterprise strategies for the longer term. Are their teams and stakeholders aligned around how to to leverage data, machine learning, and AI? Have KPIs been aligned with technology and data initiatives to measure and manage performance? Here are three key approaches that must be included in any successful plan for a digital future.
- Accelerate and expand your data strategy
Data is an asset, but it can also be an operational headache. Everyone wants to talk about the data, how complex it is, which data sets to use, how to clean them and connect them. Pharma companies are still struggling to make a business case for investing in foundational data management platforms, when this should be top of mind for C-level executives. Innovative companies who are early adopters have not only invested in a big data strategy but have also created roles such as Chief Digital Officer. What this demonstrates is that data is the beginning, not the end. Pharma companies need a holistic and cross-enterprise approach to data purchasing, integration, management, and analytics so that the organization is aligned from top to bottom, and across the lifecycle of its single or multiple brands. The business case for having a clear and comprehensive data strategy starts with the customer experience, and what is necessary to deliver that in an efficient and valuable way.
- Consumerize your commercial approach
Patients today have easy access to data and information regarding their treatment pathways and alternatives. They can “shop” options for healthcare institutions, organizations, centers of care and providers, but the experience is still extremely complex, confusing, and far from the consumer experience they have with other services such as travel or financing. For pharma companies, there is a gaping opportunity to turn these research channels into a valuable information channel, where the “consumer” can make sense out of the information, and compare alternatives quickly and easily. Granted, the intervention of an expert care provider is still a necessary part of this process, but many of today’s complex analytics can be delivered in a form and medium that people can easily interpret and use.
- Tackle new technologies
Part and parcel of pharma’s transformation efforts is the company’s approach to technology, which includes determining how best to make use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies. 10 years ago the industry was human driven – one person had to look at, and interpret the data. The industry can no longer rely on human-guided efforts to connect, disambiguate, and update the multiple, disparate, and complex data sets that are now necessary for decision making. Today we have opportunities to be machine-led and human-guided. We can take advantage of the spectrum of solutions and techniques offered by new AI technologies, and the expertise of expert Life Sciences-focused data scientists and analytics experts. The expertise of leaders in pharma who can design internal and customer use cases can be democratized across an organization with machine-learning, predictive insights and alerts for business users with actionable next steps. Zephyr Illuminate is leading the way in this space, providing relevant, real-time insights to commercial teams in Pharma, based upon hundreds of aggregated data sets from public, internal, and vendor data sources.