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Successful outsourcing can provide pharma companies with high-value, cost-effective analytics. But there are many challenges to overcome, write Ram Moorthy and Dharmendra Sahay.
The debate over whether to outsource or offshore analytics remains widespread among executives today. Successful outsourcing or offshoring models provide an increasing number of pharma companies high-value, cost-effective analytics. But there are many challenges to overcome, including coordinating work across partners in dispersed locations, creating work accountability and protecting intellectual property.
In this article, we share ideas and insights based on our combined 20 years' experience providing these services to some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. We’ll use a case study that describes high points, though we are the first to admit the journey is never as smooth as explained here. Still, we hope it helps companies that seek better ways to deliver analytics. Case study: new cost-effective analytics model for a mid-size pharmaceutical company For more than 15 years, a mid-size, international pharma company has engaged our firm to assist with business analytics. Typical reasons for outsourcing analytics included: • A need for objective outside analysis • A lack of internal capacity, infrastructure/tools or skills to do the work • A need to meet seasonal/peak demand for specific analyses, and • A desire to tap into the right innovation and expertise. As a result of market-driven cost pressures and pending patent expirations for some key products, the newly appointed leader of commercial analytics at the pharmaceutical company faced a difficult assignment. The challenge was to implement - within nine months - a new model that delivered analytics at significantly lower cost without impacting the business. This meant supporting inline products and providing critical analytics for several impending product launches.
The vision was to create a lean internal team that would provide strategic insights to the sales force and brand teams, while outsourcing most of the detailed analytics to a cost-effective partner. Currently, the internal analytics team spent much time struggling to organize and analyze data and coordinate across outsourcing vendors. The team provided high levels of service to its internal business customers, who had come to expect quick responses for ad hoc requests. The challenge was to drive change within the internal analytics team and “make it stick” with internal business customers. Bringing about change required the right execution:
Through this process, the company put in place an integrated partnership model that provided customers appropriate service levels while achieving cost goals. The internal team retained responsibility to interface with business customers, generate strategic insights and ensure that analytics supported business needs. The bulk of data management, modeling and analytics work execution was outsourced to partners with strong service level agreements governing quality and turnaround times. Management publicly communicated its support for the new working models and its expectation for internal teams to support it as well. Since stakeholders were aware of the trade-offs and bought in early, this made it easier for them to accept the new ways of working. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but clearly defined working models and transparency of communication made the journey easier all around.
About the Authors
is a principal with
in Los Angeles. He has more than 15 years of experience addressing strategic sales and marketing issues in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical supply industries. He is a co-author of T
he Power of Sales
is a managing principal with ZS in New York City. Over the last 15 years, he has worked extensively with pharmaceutical companies in building commercial analytics capabilities with a global delivery model. He is a co-author of The Power of Sales Analytics. ###