DT founders’ update: A transformative year

By Dennis van Rooij and Tim van Tongeren

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a strategy consulting firm rooted in the digital transformation of the life sciences sector, 2021 has been a year of rapid growth for us as we helped pharmaceutical companies achieve customer experience excellence.

The industry has faced another very challenging pandemic year, with the huge levels of disruption wrought by COVID-19 continuing to challenge pharma to act faster and execute better across clinical, medical, and commercial operations.

Tracking this, our research team uncovered a range of benchmarking data and unique insights. Here are some of their standout findings:

  • Some improvement in digital excellence at Commercial Operations. Despite the tremendous strains from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2021 State of Digital Excellence in the Global Pharmaceutical Industry report found a slight upward trajectory among the companies surveyed. However, it was only a small increase and processes, internal communication, and ‘behind-the-scenes’ capabilities like CRM and other marketing technology all need to improve further.
  • Medical affairs increasingly defines HCP omnichannel experiences. These teams must change how they think about and execute medical education, seek scientific advice, and engage with communities to discuss scientific advances and medical progress, whether customers want it virtually or in-person. In Building Digital Capabilities in Medical Affairs for a Post-COVID Multichannel Reality, we examined how to plan for this digital excellence in pharma medical affairs.
  • Many clinical trial sites remain reluctant to integrate digital technologies. Surveying 6% of all the global actively recruiting trials for the first installment in our new twice-yearly Clinical Trial Digital Tracker, we found tech adoption was low, despite the huge opportunities presented by virtual and decentralized clinical trials.

As we tracked those and other pharma trends, we also contributed to the future ready healthcare discussions taking place at the 2021 Indegene Digital Summit. This saw our pharma consultants lead a number of thought-provoking sessions.

  • A road map for building a CX-centric organization. Principal consultant John McCarthy’s panel addressed the changing nature of structures and roles needed if pharmaceutical companies are to embed customer-focused thinking right across their organizations. But the conversations also noted that these changes are not just about new roles, but how they work together.
  • Excellent CX enhances positive customer perceptions. Aneta Geistová, senior customer experience consultant, discussed our most recent CXQ® study of healthcare professional preferences, and the importance of focusing on the three key customer experience (CX) traits of relevance, simplicity, and trust.
  • Four ways to recognize a broken experience. Director of our CX practice Hannah Price’s panel brought insights from experts at Bristol Myers Squibb, Galderma, Sanofi, and Pfizer on how to increase share-of-voice in a customer-centric way and why digital acceleration requires change management to address some of the risks to CX success.

There’s more information about this year’s Indegene Digital Summit here.

Meanwhile, the last 12 months have seen our company expand in a variety of other ways. We’re proud to now be actively working with eight of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies, helping them to take control of the digital disruption that is all around as they work on large-scale digital transformation projects.

  • Rapid and ongoing international growth. Throughout this year we’ve been hiring – and continue to recruit – in London, Princeton, and Bangalore across our core capability areas of Digital Strategy & Transformation, Customer Experience and Commercial Strategy. This expansion also included the launch of our Co-Commercialization practice. When we started the year with 12 consultants in Europe, we end 2021 with 37 consultants.
  • A single global team. Our Bangalore-based consulting group grew from three to seven people as we found the right mix of talent and qualifications. Consequently, we’ve been flexibly hiring highly qualified people from all over India, with the close working relationships among all our colleagues around the world giving projects a ‘borderless’ feel. There were also new propositions in commercial, clinical, and medical. Just as one example, our customer experience (CX) offering added new training and maturity assessment capabilities, as well as a series of ways to drive the CX agenda, prove its value, design journeys, and build a CX culture.
  • New central London offices. Hybrid working was the norm during the Autumn, when we began a considered, gradual return to the office for our London-based staff, who have access to new, and very central, quarters in Holborn. While we are now following the UK Government’s guidelines and have reverted to working-from-home, we hope it will be possible to get the UK team together again in their new space soon in 2022.
  • Supporting our teams throughout their personal and professional journeys. Our HR team undertook a thorough review of their policies, taking a forward-thinking, inclusive approach to parental leave and creating an even stronger benefits offer for colleagues that kicks in from the day they join DT Consulting.

Now, as we head into 2022, the demand for a digital-first clinical, medical and commercial strategy is set to keep growing stronger as these teams increasingly look to their customer experience colleagues as their ‘Northern Star’.

As they do so, DT Consulting will continue to help pharma companies act faster and execute better in order to take advantage of all the available business opportunities.

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