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Being a Part of Healthcare Digital Transformation in Japan

10 Jan 2022

When I joined in 2020, I was employee number 5 at Indegene, Japan. And what an exciting year it has been! I never expected to change jobs during the pandemic, but when the opportunity came along, it was too good to pass. Indegene’s reputation as a leading company in the healthcare industry, especially at a time when technology was going to be key to pharma’s success, was my reason for joining.

In my career journey, Indegene has been the third stop. I have worked in this industry from the time I finished university. In Japan, we start job hunting when we are in the fourth year of university so that we can start working as soon as we graduate. I chose pharma as I felt it was a way to contribute to something that positively impacts people’s health. In my first job, I started as a medical rep. Everyone who wanted to be in Sales had to start there, which, when I look back, was an invaluable experience. Talking to doctors gave me the opportunity to understand what they are thinking, what they want from pharma companies and where they are struggling. After 2 years as a medical rep, I moved to Sales Promotion for the Asia Pacific and was responsible for managing sales revenue, new product launch and supply chain management. This was a great opportunity for me to learn about global business, project management and the product launch process in pharma.

When I joined Indegene, I was assigned to a digital content project as liaison manager between us and the client. I was responsible for overall project management ensuring quality control and being the interface between the client in Japan and our IT and Production teams. It was a new experience for me to do project management and produce digital content. I had to understand new tools and platforms and how to interface between teams from different cultures. Our Japanese clients are very particular and this means my job was to give precise instructions to the team in India. I learned that detailed schedules, day-to-day tasks and timeline management were significant for a project manager. If expectations are not set right, people end up working overtime, which in turn affects productivity.

We are building our team in Japan. It is an exciting time because, on one hand, we are like a start-up but on the other, we have the experience and knowledge that come from the last 20 years of Indegene.

Pharma, in Japan, is a very big industry. We have a large ageing population and the reliance on healthcare is very high. And with Covid-19 and the need for digital transformation, Indegene’s role is much needed and sought after. For those considering a career in pharma, this offers an opportunity to be part of enabling healthcare organisations be future ready. We have ready access to lessons learned from working with clients in other markets. Hence, we can bring the best practices to Japan and help Japanese pharma clients match up to best in class.

I have been able to learn from my colleagues whenever I am up against something new. I have had the chance to learn about content transformation in digital, digital asset production, salesforce effectiveness and new business development. That kind of learning happens nearly every day. Indegene has also brought me the opportunity to work with people across the world; it has opened a window to other cultures. I would never have tried yoga on my own, but here, I have signed up for the online yoga sessions and am enjoying it! There are other events that are new and novel for me, like the Fiesta and Virtual Olympics. And these are unlike anything I have experienced at a workplace.

To those who are exploring a career with us, come if you are proactive and independent and yet enjoy a collaborative environment. When I work on business development, I am backed by the global account team. We work closely together, but everyone must be able to think independently for us to succeed at what we do here.

If I must sum up my year at Indegene, I feel a lot of pride in being here, to be able to stand for the high standards that Japanese clients demand and to leverage the vast knowledge and experience that Indegene brings. To be able to do this has been very fulfilling.


Kanako Komagata
Kanako Komagata