How Are Data Silos Breaking Customer Experiences? What Can You Do to Fix It?
Pharma organizations are increasingly leaning on personalization to provide a winning customer experience to healthcare providers (HCPs). Personalization often depends on a large amount of information, including HCP demography, prescription behavior, patterns in digital interactions, channel affinities, and more.
However, pharma organizations often struggle with managing this data given the siloed nature of the data systems existing in their organization. Data on HCPs are generally available across 6 or more systems including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, sales call records, digital asset management systems, website, social media feeds, and alerts from electronic health records.
As these data systems operate in silos, they restrict the flow of data across the organization and create barriers to information sharing and internal cross-collaborations. As a result, pharma companies do not have a holistic understanding of HCPs and their preferences, leading to ineffective marketing decisions, broken customer experiences, and poor product growth.
How Are Data Silos Born?
Figure 1: Primary causes of data silos
Cultural causes: siloed sales and marketing departments
Pharma companies have historically encouraged a culture of siloed departments, with their sales and marketing teams operating as separate business units with no cross-functional collaboration. This culture of separation also influences the way each department interacts with HCPs and how it manages the data generated from those individual interactions. The result is that the data generated by each department are kept private, restricting organization-wide visibility into the overall HCP journey and creating inconsistencies in engagement plans.
Technological causes: siloed tech stacks and third-party vendors
When departments work in silos, they also tend to support their operations using different technology platforms and tools such as spreadsheets, marketing campaign management tools, customer relationship management tools, and more. Most legacy systems are not designed to easily share information, resulting in different ways of storing and managing the data across each platform.
Additionally, marketing teams also collaborate with third-party vendors who run their email campaigns and webinars. Many of these vendors store information in siloed data systems, making data sharing all the more challenging and directly limiting the company's understanding of its HCPs.
How Are Data Silos Hurting Pharma Organizations?
Figure 2: 4 common ways how data silos impact pharma organizations
When sales and marketing operations are siloed, pharma organizations are challenged with aggregating and analyzing the data produced by each department. They have to navigate between multiple sources of truth that will duplicate or contradict each other at some point. Making sense of all the HCP data carefully and accurately is not only crucial but also time-consuming, ultimately delaying the decision-making process.
As data are being stored separately across tools and technologies used by sales and marketing departments, it creates redundancies in storage systems. This leads to increased costs in purchasing duplicate tech stacks and analytical tools for each department.
Poor customer experience
The lack of a centralized system of data limits the insights available on customer preferences and needs. This makes it difficult for pharma companies to accurately identify and target HCPs, understand their preferences, predict the Next Best Action, and design personalized engagements in near real time.
Take away valuable time from data scientists
More silos mean more time taken to compile and regulate the data. A recent study showed that data preparation alone accounts for about 80% of the work of data scientists1 , taking up most of their bandwidth and reducing the time spent on the actual analysis of data to extract critical HCP insights.
How Can Pharma Organizations Break Data Silos?
Data silos do not resolve themselves without top-down change. Pharma companies should encourage cross-team collaboration across the organization. They can do this by implementing strategic company-wide projects that require and encourage both sales and marketing teams to collaborate more and share data seamlessly for improved HCP experiences.
An all-in-one platform is essential to eliminate data silos. Cloud-based data warehouses or data lakes are proven ways to consolidate and unify large volumes of data sets and extract insights about what HCPs want most from a brand—all while not compromising data privacy, availability, and security. A unified platform also keeps teams and departments aligned and on track to hit HCP satisfaction goals while also saving a considerable amount of time spent on data preparation.
Pharma companies should ensure that their data warehouse is built on an open architecture that welcomes seamless integration with external data systems used by both sales and marketing teams. Centralized tech stacks significantly reduce costs relating to redundant or duplicate tech purchases. They also offer better knowledge and control of the data, enabling pharma companies to make better business decisions.
Siloed data are not healthy data. When data are stored across multiple disconnected repositories, they become inconsistent and the quality of data suffers, ultimately not adding any real value to business decisions and diluting the customer experience. By breaking down these data silos and allowing data to flow freely through a unified platform, pharma companies can optimize internal processes, reduce costs, and improve HCP engagements through effective personalization tactics.