Knowledge-Based Outsourcing: Driving Deeper Insights - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Knowledge-Based Outsourcing: Driving Deeper Insights
Tracking, monitoring, and trend evaluation based on predictive modeling and forecasting is not enough. Companies must now do more than assess what happened and why. Enter actionable analyticsa way of making information-intensive processes more efficient


Pharmaceutical Executive


Delivering Value

The two fundamental objectives of knowledge-based outsourcing are: 1) To introduce variable cost models to support fluctuating capacity requirements; and 2) To add strategic value and perspective to the organization. In less than ideal situations, these objectives compete with one another. However, when the partner understands the industry, the stakeholders, commercial functions, data sources, and the type of insight required to make business decisions, the two objectives can be met without conflict.

The transition to outsourcing relationships will involve some level of disruption around the processes being streamlined. What may initially seem like loss of control can mask pathways to more intellectual leverage of internal resources. Another potential issue is the training required by partners who lack the necessary domain expertise (when, in some situations, those employees who would have been the ideal mentors are now gone). Underestimating the amount of oversight and project management required for the transition could lead to disappointing results.

Four Markers of Success

To effectively deliver value to the organization through knowledge-based outsourcing:
1. Work with your internal stakeholders to create a strategic plan and associated roadmap, ensuring that what you envision will fit their needs.

2. Determine which internal support structure and outsourcing approach will best serve the company depending on the diversity of its portfolio, the number and size of products in each therapy area, the stage of products in their lifecycle, and the company's growth prospects. (A "Vertical Brand Model" aligns resources to high-potential brands; a "Shared Services Model" pools the resources for users across commercial operations, business intelligence, and managed markets to tap into various services as needed. A hybrid approach combines features of each.)

3. Engage partners that know the industry and can deliver value through domain expertise while also offering scalability and the means to drive larger cost savings.

4. Employ risk management strategies around the transition, and share success and learning across the organization.

Commercial operations in the future must position themselves as quality, high-performance teams that service stakeholders with a high return on their investment. This can only be achieved via a well thought out overall strategy that includes outsourcing in a way that is more than a budget-trimming exercise.

With the right outsourcing model and the right outsourcing partner—one who is intimately familiar with the workings and needs of the industry—pharmaceutical companies can enjoy the benefits of cost variability, realize efficiencies in their information-intensive processes, and arrive at insights faster. And it all, of course, is a means to another end: agility and innovation that will help companies re-establish a positive growth trajectory and sustain long-term profitability.

Tim Kelly is Vice President, Offerings and Development, IMS Consulting and Services. He can be reached at
. Chris Nickum is Vice President and Global Practice Leader, Commercial Effectiveness, IMS Consulting and Services. He can be reached at


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