POV: Digital Transformation

Harbinger logo 5.28.14The hurricane has hit the Biopharma industry. While many organizations are working hard to define the new model in Biopharma marketing/sales and customer engagement, the struggle is an uphill one against culture, history and a highly regulated environment.

As cyclonic and tumultuous as trends are in the industry, it is also an opportunity for true Digital and Multi-channel Transformation to occur and help re-frame the Biopharma business model in a more efficient and effective ways that can save money create smarter KPI’s and deliver greater ROI.

Recently, a former VP of Sales for a billion dollar drug said to me, “We all know the Pharma model is broken…” But when I probed what that meant and what she thought should be done, this 20-year sales veteran could only shrug. She could identify the problem, not the solution. Her shrug spoke volumes:

  • More treatments crowd the market and struggle for uptake and differentiation…
  • Patients and HCP’s are harder to reach and engage with.
  • It is a time where change is the new norm…
  • Where over 40% of all new Brand launches fall below projection, and often do not recover…
  • When patients are being told they are in control but still abandon upwards of 20% of Rx at pharmacy…
  • Where patients still demonstrate abysmal adherence despite their self-interest in staying healthy…
  • When everyone is talking “outcomes” yet the doctor-patient conversation is still somewhat broken.

All these challenges – and many more involving payers, pharmacy, PBM’s, and the entire healthcare eco-system – also create great opportunities.

To be successful, Digital Transformation must be carefully planned, envisioned, organized, implemented, measured and optimized. In fact, Digital and the Big Data promise are not the hammer that finally solves that nail problem  – the hammer is best used by a crafts person who can bring to bear the depth of experience, shaped by both success and failure, to assure the smartest planning begets the most flexible solution. You don’t start by buying the hammer. You start by building the plan and then choosing the best tool.

The integrity of any Digital Transformation has to be based upon true, valid, Insight – across a variety of axis. You need to know the role the enterprise can play from a staffing and infrastructure perspective. Additionally, you need to know the short, mid and long-term Vision for what is being implemented. Clients do not need a solution, they need a strategy first.

Then there is the world of our customers – patients and doctors. The new Sales Funnel looks more like a pretzel now, how do we address this? Insight into their met and unmet needs.

I take great pride in “helping”. “Helping” for me is the nuance of intuition based on deep experience, of understanding the roles and responsibilities of different people at different levels in an organization and aligning them as best as possible to a shared Vision. “Helping” has a strong pragmatic aspect: planning and executing in a way that balances the needs of the company and shareholders to those of the customer.  It is not about giving in to the new world of the empowered customer, but engaging in a mutually beneficial way. Digital can do that.

Let me leave you with some insights on where things are heading, or need to head:

  • “Beyond the Pill”: creating value-add services for the patient and practice are critical, but it has to be an enterprise initiative.
  • Patients are People: we need to be with them on their Journey. In doing so, we have to use all of our collective knowledge of science, content, support of all flavors both emotional and financial, to move them along and keep them healthy.
  • Experiences: we need to move from static thinking to crafting each “experience”, each interaction with the company or Brand, to one of relevance and satisfaction.
  • Biopharma needs to move out of its castle and start making partnerships and coalitions with other players in the healthcare eco-system. (Janssen, Merck and Sanofi are among those trying.) This also allows for mobile, Apps and tele-health partnerships.

In conclusion, I revel in thinking strategically but with the right balance of innovation and pragmatism – innovate but measure! This is true “Help” in a time of change.