On Wednesday 22nd June, PharmiWeb Solutions and Microsoft brought together a senior group of sales and marketing professionals, to discuss how software and e-business based solutions can deliver competitive advantage for the pharmaceutical organisation.
“In planning for this event, we were keen to avoid the usual traps of either speaking techno-babble, or failing to focus on business issues, and so I hope with our range of speakers that we were able to draw attention to how the practical application of technology-based solutions can really deliver compelling business benefits”, commented Paul Hartigan, Managing Director of PharmiWeb Solutions. “As a Microsoft Partner with particular strengths in the NHS and Pharmaceutical markets, our customers and prospects are asking us with increasing urgency to learn more about what is possible in the real world. In response, this is one in a whole series of events we have planned to increase the level of awareness of the possibilities that both we and Microsoft can deliver” he added.
The format of the event brought together senior managers from leading corporates such as Merck Sharp & Dohme, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, but also smaller companies, such as the highly interesting recent start-up Zoobiotic, which specialises in the breeding and supply of maggots for clinical usage (they also have the best strap line we’ve seen for ages: “The World’s Smallest ‘Surgeons’”).
PharmiWeb Solutions and Microsoft: The Event
Following introductions, the first speaker, Brian Painting (NHS Relationship Manager, Microsoft UK) gave an overview of the way in which Microsoft sells to the NHS, to allow the audience to draw a comparison between Microsoft’s top-down strategic approach, and the way in which PharmaCo’s market to the same organisation. As Paul Hartigan later pointed out, as Microsoft is selling software, not drugs, this might not seem like a particularly valuable comparison, however, both Microsoft and PharmaCo’s are engaged in highly competitive markets, where advantage can be gained by a move away from commoditised products, to those with a high value add, and with the NHS being Microsoft’s largest account in the world, Microsoft can demonstrate real success in achieving this, despite a relatively small account team.
Brian was followed by Simon Holloway, Senior Industry Architect for Microsoft EMEA. Simon has responsibility in EMEA for positioning Microsoft’s ‘Digital Pharma’ vision. Simon pointed out in his presentation that Microsoft Digital Pharma is in essence a range of solutions, built on a Microsoft platform, and delivered by an eco-system of partners, all designed to enable PharmaCo’s to gain competitive advantage throughout the complete product life cycle from discovery, through manufacturing to launch and beyond. Simon went on to provide an outline of a particular application of this vision, relating to how a PharmaCo can leverage the investment it has made in its CRM system, by exposing the data that resides in it in an intelligent way, for both the sales force and the customer.
Thought Leadership for Big Pharma
To provide an ‘insider’s’ point of view, Pharmiweb Solutions invited Dr. Patrick Reid, Global e-Business Director at AstraZeneca, to provide his perspective on e-business and Big Pharma. Careful to preface his presentation by explaining that the content reflected his own views, rather than those of AstraZeneca, Dr. Reid rapidly captured the attention of the audience when he highlighted some revealing characteristics of the industry, such as:
- The global pharmaceutical industry lost around 40% of it’s market capitalisation between the end of 2000 and the middle of 2002
- The sector has lost nearly €400bn of value over the past 4 years
However, he did go on to expound the positive drivers for the industry, and explained how an effective e-business strategy can help a pharmaceutical organisation build on these industry drivers, increasing ROI and reducing costs.
Following Patrick’s presentation, Paul Hartigan, and Colin Williams (e-Marketing Director) of Pharmiweb Solutions presented some examples of the practical application of their solutions. Paul highlighted solutions that Pharmiweb Solutions had developed in the mobility space – both for NHS and PharmaCo environments. Paul explained how the linkage of mobile devices with web-based applications could empower mobile workers, and increase productivity dramatically. Colin focused on some of PharmiWeb Solutions’ recent e-Detailing roll-outs, looking at both design and build, and also marketing and measurement. He cited a recent project where 54% of GPs had expected to increase prescribing of the product being e-Detailed, with 64% having taken the e-Detail at home.
After a lively round table discussion in which delegates aired their views concerning the potential benefits of software and e-business solutions to the pharmaceutical industry, all that was left was the prize giving! Delegates had been entered into a free prize draw, with the lucky individuals receiving a copy of Office 2003 from Microsoft, the latest multimedia Hewlett Packard Pocket PC, donated by Pharmiweb Solutions, and a state of the art MP3 player, the Toshiba Gigabeat, provided by Pharmiweb Solutions partner, Toshiba UK.
The session ended with an informal networking lunch, where delegates mingled with the PharmiWeb Solutions marketing team, and partner representatives from Microsoft and Toshiba.
Coin Williams summarised “I think that this has been a tremendous event, and indicates how seriously the industry is looking at integrating e-business into their mainstream sales and marketing activities - and achieving real business benefit from it. We certainly look forward to our next event in December, and I would encourage anyone interested to register early as interest is already high!”
Following on from the success of our 1st event, we would like to invite you to our 2nd summit on Wednesday 7th December 2005 that will expand on what was discussed then and bring you up to date on the latest thinking and developments in this fast moving and exciting environment that is changing how pharma does business. Individuals interested in registering for our next event should email Colin Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact details, quoting ‘December event' in the subject line.