What are some of the top priorities of CIOs today? Are the interests and focus of CIOs at pharmaceutical and biotech companies different than other industries?
Currently, many of the top priorities for CIOs are centered on digital transformation and customer experience. For the first time, Pharma IT has really had to shift its attention to think about the far end-user/customer.
There is a growing need for collaboration between IT and marketing. While many industries are finding innovative ways to bridge this gap, Pharma still seems to be lagging or, at the very least, struggling to catch up.
At this point, it's up to the CIO's to market IT to rest of the organization and really show what a strategic asset it could be - not only for business innovation, but to better connect the brand to the end-user and prove the ROI of tech investments. To be successful, CIO's and their IT teams need to be both tactical and strategic. They especially need to start working more cohesively with all departments throughout the business: marketing, operations, finance, sales, etc.
Looking ahead at 2016 and beyond, are there any emerging trends or innovations that will impact the Life Sciences?
One of the biggest trends is the use of predictive analytics to gather data that increases speed to market, or creates products generated out of data that better predicts consumer behaviors. I think pharma is starting to make strides in this already, and that executives are realizing the importance of finding creative ways to not only integrate predictive data, but deploy the best methods of analysis to drive brands forward.
Another trend is the intensifying focus around customer centricity. Right now, this seems to be happening around patient data and the evaluation and planning on how to use such data.
In the future, how do you see social media playing a prominent role in customer data capture? Are there companies that have started to explore this successfully?
Most CIOs really care about leadership, business strategy and innovation. There is a lot of conversation around the use of cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) providers, but when it comes to social media, Pharma still has a lot of "social anxiety." Historically, Pharma has considered social media to be something that marketing should deal with, but in reality it can be a profoundly useful data-collecting machine. What a lot of companies are struggling with, is how to leverage communication points through social media to better position their brands. There are amazing things starting to happen from companies like Merck and GSK, but all around this piece of the puzzle is still in flux.
As we move forward, I think Pharma will step up to the plate and really start doing things worth watching. For example, using social media to explore adverse drug effects, or gathering other insights from customers and using those touch points as data generators. In addition, we might see more pharma using social listening tools to penetrate into new product areas and new audiences.
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