Getting the basics right for OmniChannel Management
OmniChannel Management: Now we are back to a ‘somewhat’ normal. The first conference I’ve physically attended since more than two years was Next Pharma Summit ’22 in Dubrovnik. The topics are circulating a lot around omnichannel approaches, overcoming transformation fatigue and how to maintain the great work our teams have shown during the pandemic.
This article is not about re-iterating all the fantastic talks, but I’d like to pick some of the key aspects up, as it seems to resonate with how we see the evolution in the next coming months and years.
One of the most common difficulties faced by pharmaceutical companies are inconsistency in data collection. Some speakers even compared the shift of business model with the transformation that happened in the Banking and Finance industry. Well, yes let’s have a look out of our own box and see how other industries tackle similar challenges. However, I’m a strong believer in getting the basics right, before tapping into the next adventure. Precisely: are we collecting the right data in the right format? And are we processing and interpreting the data we have correctly, before making the next step in the Omnichannel evolution?
One good example is Sales Force Allocation data. Although we use CRM systems to understand how the sales strategy is executed, we have little to none consistent way to plan our Sales Force resource allocation. It seems different affiliates are using different approaches, if any.
Why is it even important to have consistency in the data collection process?
Well, when you want to get to all the fancy AI, machine learning or OmniChannel projects, the data basis should exist and also be in a clean state. We’ve also learned that Digital Transformation is 20% Digital and 80% Transformation, which implies that the Change Management aspect is the bigger load than simply implementing a new software.
Now, how does all this relate to each other. When your first goal is to simplify your sales team’s challenges and give them (cloud-based) tools which help them to get their day-to-day job done, the data-collection in a consistent & clean manner is a by-product, which helps you achieve your foundational work for your OmniChannel Management projects, while supporting your colleagues with their challenges.
In a recent project we’ve implemented a cloud-based Sales Force Allocation project within a Top 15 pharma company, in which the global team’s goal was to understand the Sales Team planning in all their affiliates, without using 1990’s methods in sending Excel-files around the globe and trying to consolidate what comes back but automate the majority of the work and providing value to the affiliates instead.
This bottom to top approach has not undergone changes since many years. These processes were tedious and inconsistent. The teams mostly waste their time in recording, reading, and analyzing the data due to multiple versions of the same data. The collected data might also be redundant. The structure of monthly reporting also differs from one geography to another, resulting into inefficiency of the teams and wastage of time and resources.
Several companies also face a challenge in communicating, collaborating, and working with multiple regional teams. The global managers are unaware of how the sales capacity is being allocated for different sales regions. The process used by global teams are familiar to the regional teams.
We gave ourselves the mandate to reverse the goal for this project and think from the end-user perspective. What does it need for the person who is asked to fill the local data, to make this process valuable? These are the three requirements we came up with:
1) Entering data should never be redundant and the time they are willing to spend is under 10 minutes.
2) They don’t want to please a global request only. They need to get immediate benefits from the exercise.
3) Starting with simple and understandable features that are almost self-explanatory and scale the approach while it’s rolled-out and feedback is captured.
In consequence we’ve designed a unique user experience and created a local and a global dashboard. The local end-user can load data into the application within ten minutes and gets immediately a dashboard showing whether their data make logical sense.
This approach came with the ‘by-product’ of a real-time global data aggregation dashboard.
This data is used to make data-driven decisions on local and global level now. Once we’ve deployed the application, we’ve created an ongoing ‘wish-list’ that captures all new features required by the end-user. We ensure the application can grow based in-market user preferences and scaling happens in a digestible pace which might differ among companies.
Our approach is perhaps not a silver-bullet for all change management challenges but putting on the end-user shoes is obviously not a bad idea. Also when we think about external end-users, which our customers always are, whether they are called Payers, HCPs or patients.
Getting the basics right for OmniChannel Management