Sophisticated Customer Engagement Is Not a Nice-to-Have
but a Core Expectation in 2019. How Far Along Is Pharma?
In the age of the connected customer, traditional customer engagement must be turned on its head if pharma wants to meet the needs of the modern world. For healthcare solutions provider Indegene, who have partnered with Microsoft on life-science business applications, this necessary digital disruption is being spearheaded by technology.
Ahead of the eyeforpharma Barcelona conference on March 12-14, 2019, Sanjay Virmani, Executive Vice President of Indegene, shares, in conversation with eyeforpharma Chairman Paul Simms how pharma can build lighter systems and better data enablement by learning from the success stories of other industries.
“Our central idea is better execution of customer engagement,” says Virmani, on Indegene’s remit harnessing analytics, technology, operations and medical expertise to drive better health and business outcomes for healthcare organisations. “We think there is a significant lag between how we’re approaching and engaging our customers, for reasons which are valuable to them, not just pushing stuff in their direction.
“How do we truly engage prescribers, patients, consumers and caregivers in ways which are valuable to them? We think other industries do a far better job of that, if you think of the Googles and Amazons of the world, or outside of retail, how Real Madrid does customer engagement.”
Taking Stock of Successes and Failures
To move in the direction of class leaders, Virmani suggests taking a thorough inventory. “Where are the success stories? Where are the inadequacies? What’s holding us back? This is what we want the point of discussion to be, in order to execute better customer engagement, in spite of the specific challenges and nuances of our industry. We have heard about ‘right time, right place,’ and customer and patient-centricity for a long time, but what does it take to do personalisation right in our space?
“Then there’s the transformative aspect. Personalisation or not, we know that the way we interact with each other in society and within companies is fundamentally changing. So, with Amazon, you might not use apps to order, but use Alexa instead. What are the equivalent next generation customer experiences in this industry?” Be it omni-channel, or digital, the future is set to be filled with “more intelligent interactions, in completely novel ways,” he says.
“Finally, there’s the question of how you coordinate all of this smoothly. We’ve been talking about orchestration for a long time, but now you have virtualisation and next generation experience in the mix. We see other industries doing that, where you can go seamlessly from voice to box, to web to mobile. But what, in the life sciences and healthcare space, does that? These are some of the dimensions we would want the audience to have some good food for thought about at eyeforpharma Barcelona.”
A smarter, nimbler future
At the upcoming eyeforpharma Barcelona conference, Indegene will be part of a panel discussing ‘The Age of the Connected Customer – Global content, systems and data enablement for the new age.’ The vision that Indegene, together with Microsoft, has to achieve desired transformations comes down to lighter systems, smarter interactions and improved data management.
“Organisations are going to have to have lighter systems – things which are not as costly, complex and cumbersome to deploy,” he says. “It’s essential for things like CRM or patient engagement capabilities to be much lighter for transformation to proceed at the pace that which it needs to, or else we’ll still be talking about these things five years on.
“All the interactions which take place also need to be far, far smarter – an omni-channel approach with intelligence and personalisation. Whether it’s futuristic channels or even historical, field-based channels, there has to be personalisation in everything, which is a good thing for customers. This is how we have to approach everything – we can’t have a long roadmap, it has to be done now. Even traditional channels need to get disrupted in order for this to work comprehensively.
“The third and final thing is enablement. The way data is gathered and managed needs far more automation and far more richness, because again, we may have lighter systems, we may have personalised capabilities, but if it’s not being supplied by the blood vessels of data and content, you’re not going to get much out of that muscle.
That's our vision; a lighter system, brighter omni-channel capabilities and richer content and data. This is our concept car and how we think we can achieve the level of experience for a customer.”
He feels this is applicable across the business, not just in commercial. “I think lighter systems and capabilities are possible and we are beginning to work more extensively in the clinical side of things. When you think of sightless or adaptive clinical trials being proposed a few years ago, we thought, ‘How are we ever going to do that?’ But if you pick the right technologies and bring them together in the right way, you can accomplish this. Big techs like Microsoft and Google are showing us the way to make things more nimble.
“Using the principles of keeping it simple and intelligent, not simple and stupid, is the way to make it work. With the right partnerships, and the right thinking, our vision is that even on the clinical side, even in tough areas, it is possible to do these things now.”
Thierry Durand, VP, Omnipresence at Indegene, will be joining speakers from Microsoft, Sanofi, and Amgen to present, ‘The Age of the Connected Customer – Global content, systems and data enablement for the new age,’ at 11.20am-11.40am, Wednesday 13 March in the Blue Room at eyeforpharma Barcelona, March 12-14, 2019, at the Centre Convencons Internacional Barcelona (CCIB).