Dynamics of Change
Pharma is increasingly using the cloud to get its sales messages across to physicians, hospitals, and patients. "Being able
to connect with a patient or an HCP in a variety of different venues that the target chooses—on a mobile device, through an
interactive experience at a convention, or an interactive sales aid delivered by a rep in the physician's office—the ability
to change the sales dynamic from a monologue to a dialogue has a lot of benefits for pharma," says Matt Collins, director
of interactive development at healthcare ad agency AbelsonTaylor.
Agencies like AbelsonTaylor are deploying branded websites through the cloud, and cloud service providers are working with
their healthcare clients to develop cloud-based mobile applications designed specifically for sales reps in the field, to
make the sharing of accurate and vital information in real-time the rule, rather than the exception. "One of the features
in our products is a very comprehensive way to ensure that sales representatives only talk about relevant products. When they're
talking to a physician, they should only talk about products that are relevant to that physician's specialty; there are certain
products you shouldn't talk about to a pediatrician, for example," explains Peter Gassner, CEO of Veeva Systems. In this way,
says Gassner, cloud-based technology helps keep the reps compliant and efficient.
"One of the major benefits with the solutions we deploy for the sales force is ease of use. We incorporate direct reps and
feedback into the process, but the primary aspect of it is how they access the systems, and how easy it is to get to the information
that is most important to them," agrees Martinez.
Some companies are even looking beyond convenience for sales forces, at how cloud technology can really help position and
leverage a brand. "You have the brand teams, the marketing, the franchises that can leverage it to generate campaigns, and
this is all connected," explains Henry. "All these use cases can be connected in the commercial setting. So a doctor signs
into a portal; he requests medical information. He wants to enroll in a Phase IV trial. He wants more information about a
new product. He wants off-label information about a drug. All that information can reside in this cloud platform."
"We have a very large pharmaceutical company that is using a mobile sales force empowerment tool and leveraging the cloud,
and their sales forces are absolutely ecstatic. What we've done is made them more effective and made their jobs easier," says
R&D in the C-L-O-U-D
While leveraging the cloud for sales and marketing may seem like the most obvious use for pharma, there's some benefit to
be had in R&D as well, even if it just means more seamless communication for pharma companies internally, across the office,
across the nation, or across the globe. "Using the cloud for the initial stages of experimenting and building the drugs that
the pharma companies are working on makes a lot of sense, because they can get to information that other scientists are using
and sharing out there," explains Joe Doyle, interactive services director at healthcare marketing agency HCB Health.
"R&D is now very collaborative, both inside and outside the four walls of the company," says Gassner. "So the nice thing with
a cloud-computing-based system is you can easily give access to people inside and outside your company. So, for example, if
you have specific research agencies that are collaborating with your research department on a document, a policy, or a procedure,
in a cloud-based system it's very easy to share this information."
Greg Henry calls cloud computing for clinical trial management "obvious." "In the distributed environment of a clinical trial,
you have multiple centers across multiple countries all generating patient information, tracking the payments to the physicians,
screening patients, enrolling patients, creating case report forms, and submitting safety reports," he says. "We've developed
solutions that include patient recruitment, site qualification, the actual management of the trial as it's active, and the
closeout of the trial."
"If you look at the clinical trial landscape, it's an extremely fragmented landscape that is really ready for somebody to
come in and offer an integrated platform to pull all these applications together in one place and to provide access across
the industry," says Naimoli.