At the Indegene Digital Summit 2022, industry expert, Robert Brown, Senior Vice President at Pfizer shared his experiences, best practices, and learning as he led digital transformation across Pfizer. He talked about how strategy and mindset laid the foundation of transformation, what support systems were developed to achieve sustainability and scale up the process, and how this impacted the business. The discussion was not only limited to broad strategies and foundation work, but it also dived deep into nuances at the functional level as well.
The very first thing is to create a business strategy for a digital world. The objective must not be just to do digital transformation but to create a business strategy to evolve into this digital world that we all are fully engaged. And the competitive edge lies in one’s ability to drive digital innovation across the entire value chain quickly and at scale. Getting products to market as quickly as possible is imperative in today’s scenario because (1) It is very expensive to bring a drug to market, (2) Patients are waiting, and (3) It is critical for the business to be successful in the marketplace. Implementing these principles in practice, one of the initiatives taken by the Pfizer team is, chasing a goal of three-by-three in their clinical trials function, which aims to reduce the cycle time of clinical trials by three years in the next three years. This mindset shift is the ability that will ensure the sooner availability of products to patients.
A good foundation is built on an operating model that focuses on customers and company priorities. It can answer the most basic yet critical questions, such as (1) Where to spend? (2) How much to spend? Working more horizontally is the way forward. This requires portfolio rebalancing by shifting it to strategic initiatives that cut across functions. This operating model (1) Allows you to be nimble, (2) Facilitates engagement at the proper levels inside and outside the organization from top to bottom, and (3) Allows prioritization of investments in various portfolios and ensures investment in the right places. This new operating model becomes the game changer for big life sciences organizations as many of them live in a world of verticals where functions like RnD, Regulatory, and Commercial work in silos.
The foundational work is to be supported with several initiatives.
The investment in the foundation provides the ability to scale up in an agile way. For example, once a strong foundation has been laid, one can aim to reduce time spent reviewing and approving timeframes to days and hours. In addition to this, developing agile functioning teams is equally crucial. Empower colleagues with focused learning programs and equip them with the skills that are needed in a digital world.
The ultimate goal of digital transformation is to enable quick response and drive profound business impact. Besides modernizing the working ways for people within the organization, partners, and vendors, organizations need to focus on virtual customer communications to drive impact. This means connecting to patients around the globe, no matter where they are. For example, developing diversification in clinical trials. This can ensure access to patients and getting medicines to those patients, no matter where they sit, allowing to bring the trial to the patient versus the patient having to travel to the site. This can also impact how our sales representatives share medical information with healthcare professionals.
This keynote session is filled with examples from the day-to-day practices and use cases that help in identifying opportunities, building a digital transformation roadmap, and scaling up from there.