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Part II: What’s Triggering Your Pharma Digital Transformation: Top Down Mandate or Ground Swell?

The most important distinction to make when it comes to understanding what’s triggering digital transformation in your organization is to recognize whether this is a top down initiative or a grassroots movement. The reason this is important is because what you’ll need to make the digital transformation journey in each scenario is vastly different.

It’s not a stretch to liken this to the decision to take a cruise around the world or sail around the world yourself. In both cases you’re after the same destination. You’re traversing the same waters. But what you’ll need to make the trip (the right gear and supplies, sustenance, know-how, support, and spirit) and the elbow grease involved in getting you there is grossly different.

Digital transformation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Wouldn’t that be nice? Something triggers it. In the pharmaceutical industry, these triggers can take many forms. Executive mandate or individual vision, as we discussed above. Other triggers are upcoming or failed audits, data breaches, automation initiatives like those in the “Shift Left” realm, contract expiration, expansion, or customer satisfaction (CSAT or NPS) ratings.

In this article, we’ll focus on the top down or individual vision triggers.

But first let’s define the difference between triggers and drivers:

  1. Triggers are events that happen internally or externally to an organization that require change.
  2. Drivers are the goals that result from these trigger events.

For example, if a vendor contract is up for renewal, your company is “triggered” to reevaluate that relationship. The goal, or driver, of that reevaluation could be to cut costs for next year’s budget.

Executive Mandate

Sometimes, change starts at the top. Bringing in a new senior executive can trigger organizational change. New management means a renewed focus on efficiency, customer experience, patient safety, security, and almost always – revenue.

If your digital transformation is spurred by new leadership, congratulations! You have the best-case scenario. Momentum at the top creates inertia. The wave is here – you just have to get yourself upright on it and stay up. You’ll start by assembling a team with stakeholders from data, operations, compliance and legal, system owners, application owners, knowledge owners, technologists, and analysts. Your digital transformation team will create an innovation roadmap that will assess where you are, define where you want to be, and make a plan for how you’re going to get there.

Individual Vision

If you are the change agent at your company, hats off to you! You know there’s a way to work smarter, and you’re brave and bold in your desire to make a difference. It’s exciting to think that your vision might trigger sweeping transformation across your organization. The flip side is that not only isn’t the wave here yet, but you must manifest it!

This path to Digital Transformation isn’t for the faint of heart, but the good news is it can absolutely be accomplished. Start by bringing in a team of varied perspectives (some subset of the Digital transformation team mentioned in the Executive Mandate section above). The difference in the dialogue on this team vs. the executive mandate, is that instead of jumping into discovery around the solution, you’ll work to define the opportunity or problem statement.

Opportunity Definition Formula

“Digital transformation will help (your audience)... 

Define your audience. Who are they? What are they trying to achieve? How do they measure success? Are they internal or external? In pharmaceutical, this last question is critical, because your approach to digital transformation in each scenario will be vastly different (we’ll cover that in a future blog).

“Overcome (obstacles they most frequently face)... 

Here define what stands in the way of the role you articulated above and success metrics not being as high as they should.

“So they can (experience this tangible change like automation of this series of tasks) to realize these (measurable benefits).

Articulate how life and/or their job will be easier, more effective, more cost-efficient?

Once you have the blanks filled out, put them together.

“Digital transformation will help (your audience) overcome (obstacles they most frequently face) so they can (experience this tangible change) to realize these (measurable benefits).

As you’re brainstorming each of these, the more ideas, the better. The wave gets higher and higher with each perspective you bring in. Once you’ve gotten it all on the board, group like ideas. Prioritize them – as a group. And begin tackling the one that rose to the top.

This co-creating mindset is like gold to fleshing out your vision, and it gives each member of this team skin in the game. Enter: inertia. The first couple you tackle will hopefully give you results you can then socialize with leaders in your organization who may want to ride this wave with you and your Digital Transformation team. Enter: momentum.

If either of these triggers – executive mandate or your individual vision – is driving your digital transformation journey and you need help navigating what to do next, we’d love to put our heads together. We offer a Digital Transformation Deep Dive for our pharmaceutical clients where we can cover how to…

  • Reconcile innovation and compliance agendas
  • Mitigate bot and adverse event (AE) intersection
  • Understand conversational intention (deep dive on AI, NLP, machine learning and more)
  • Ensure content accuracy with AI-ready knowledge management
  • Build a Proof of Concept customized around your use cases

If you’re interested, just drop your name and email here, and we’ll be in touch.

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