Significant Challenges Persist Around Executing Digital Strategies Successfully.

“A survey from Graphite clearly shows the pharma industry’s challenges as it tries to transition to a digital strategy. “Teams are struggling to measure the impact of digital solutions, limiting the scope for continuous improvement. Problems such as the misalignment of metrics with strategic KPIs, internal data silos, and the late setting of metrics are widespread. The issue of data security and privacy also presents one of the most significant sector-wide barriers to digital innovation.” “A survey from Graphite clearly shows the pharma industry’s challenges as it tries to transition to a digital strategy. “Teams are struggling to measure the impact of digital solutions, limiting the scope for continuous improvement. Problems such as the misalignment of metrics with strategic KPIs, internal data silos, and the late setting of metrics are widespread. The issue of data security and privacy also presents one of the most significant sector-wide barriers to digital innovation.”

“The biggest challenge in working with pharma clients is the budget. They don’t seem to grasp the importance of becoming more digital, even though research has shown that people increasingly use the Internet to help make healthcare decisions. Product websites are often considered” necessary,” but they want an excellent functioning website without doing digital-specific research and industry best practices like usability studies. “The biggest challenge in working with pharma clients is the budget. They don’t seem to grasp the importance of becoming more digital, even though research has shown that people are increasingly using the Internet to help make healthcare decisions. Product websites are often considered “necessary,” but they want an excellent functioning website without doing digital-specific research and industry best practices like usability studies.

Respondents also spoke of the significant internal barriers caused by organizational structures, mindset, and culture, with silos impacting access to insights that could be used to enhance effectiveness and preventing knowledge-sharing that could lead to joint innovation.

Graphite

Graphite says, “The biggest barriers to sector-wide innovation in the next five years are data security, regulatory frameworks, and collaboration: 37% said that robust data security and privacy would be crucial for digital disruption, and 20% highlighted a need for collaborative partnerships.” That is a HUGE issue. The digital tactic implementation processes are often held up by regulatory and legal people who don’t understand FDA guidelines and IT people who want to protect their territories. When one client decided to host their product website externally, their IT managers threw a fit. They convinced management that they had to audit the external hosting company, resulting in a three-month delay.

Here’s another nugget. “User experience is crucial for the success of digital solutions: 99% believe that user experience design is highly important for the success of their digital products, and many are focusing on solving challenges in this area to improve impact.” Focusing? Try climbing Mt Everest in shorts and flip-flops. When I dive into analytics, find content that’s not being used, and subsequently recommend its removal, I’m often overruled. Website analytics can clearly show where people are going on your website and what’s important to them.

Finally, there is this insight. “Internal structures, mindset, and culture create silos and impact digital success: 58% of respondents believe that internal structures within their organizations create the biggest barriers to digital transformation and adoption, and 38% believe it’s mindset and culture.” That is a vast understatement. DTC marketing has always been about TV first, even though people are tired of viewing so many pharma ads and seldom act on them.

It’s hard to fathom that pharma remains their worst enemy. Digital talent often leaves pharma companies because the constant pushback is tiring and draining. Management does not understand the importance of digital marketing.