The Right Digital Lens for Pharma

-

As I meet more people and discuss their digital ideas and strategy, I think Pharma looks at digital through the wrong lens. The question I am often asked is: “This is my business model, how can tech help?” I think trying to answer the question framed that way cannot lead to the write answers. It is simply too product-centric. It is all about me, my Rx and my brand.

Instead, if the question was to be re-framed thus: “I get a sense that it’s not business as usual. The fundamentals are changing. What should I do?”, I think business leaders could open their marketing teams to considering many more possibilities than they currently do. This would be true customer-centricity since the concern here is about how to serve the customer better in a changing environment, rather than worrying about I, me and myself.

Trying to make teams think of how to use technology in the existing business model and in the current framework can be misleading. The shift is fundamental. Do business leaders think this is understood and internalized well by everyone?

Maybe the real problem is that the shift is slow and imperceptible. Fundamental shifts creep upon us and are imperceptible until we are engulfed by it. For eg: the shift to a rental economy (I rent a car instead of owning one, I rent a home away from home, instead of staying in an expensive hotel) wasn’t felt and perceived by everyone. Yet, today, Uber and AirBnB are a way of life. Similarly, today, we can’t imagine life without touchscreens, but Nokia was King not so long ago. There are many more such examples of how imperceptible fundamental shifts have damaged the businesses of many a strong incumbent.

So if pharma marketing teams feel that fundamentals aren’t changing in the way customers behave or the way business is conducted, then probably forcing them to adopt digital won’t work. It explains why so many say “we do a lot of digital”. You don’t “do” digital. You “go” digital i.e. transform. You “do” digital if you are either forced to do it, or you don’t understand or agree with it. If you don’t feel the shift, then you probably don’t need digital. So, don’t do it.

However, if you’re worried about missing out, or that its not right to avoid digital, then maybe you feel the change in your gut, but you aren’t too sure. So look more closely. Do you know your customers really well? Or do you think you do? Are they still the same? Or are there signs that things have changed?

Once you understand and agree that the shift is indeed happening then begin to re-examine the basis of your current business model and framework. Look for areas that don’t appeal to your customers and see if tech tools can help you regain the engagement of your valuable customers.

That’s the essence of transformation:

1. Ask if you notice shifts in macro factors such as environment, customer behavior, and business basics.

2. Update your understanding of each factor.

3. Identify areas in your model/framework that is outdated.

4. Can tech help to update?

This would be the right lens through which pharma looks at digital.

 Written by:

Salil Kallianpur
Digital Brand Coach | Professor | Pharma Industry Observer

PharmaState Blog
This is a platform for people working in the pharmaceuticals industry for Discussions, Jobs, News updates, Professional Profile display space and company business pages. PharmaState DNA is having four pillars: Quality, Transparency, Innovation & Benchmarks.

Share this article

Recent posts

Popular categories

Leave a Reply

Recent comments

Business Alnavedic on History of Indian Pharma Industry
Ahmed Mohamed Elkhodragy on MACO Calculation
Jennifer Osunde on DEFECTS IN UNCOATED TABLETS
Vinod on DEVIATION
Rajib ghose on TOOLING FOR TABLETING
K. SRinivasula Reddy on Quality Agreements – PART 2
Sunil Kumar M on SITE ACCEPTANCE TEST (SAT)
Khalid on IQ Protocol
Khalid on IQ Protocol
Nagabooshanam on Calibration of Reactor
PharmaState Blog on SOP for Sampling
Swapnil Khodake on TOOLING FOR TABLETING
%d bloggers like this: