David Logue, a managing director in Accenture's Life Sciences practice and commercial lead for Europe, says internal collaboration is key if pharma companies are to get the most out of digital marketing.

PT: How would you describe pharma’s use of digital currently?

DL: From our vantage point across the industry, we see a lot of innovative experimentation in parts and most organisations are still working hard to fully embed digital into their efforts. Digital is increasingly being seen as more than an additional channel, and as a way of thinking how to build better customer engagement and meaningful dialogue.

PT: Recent research by Accenture suggests there are internal issues with collaboration as one of the barriers in providing true digital solutions - why is this?

DL: Pharma marketing organisations are often set up with a dependency on colleagues in the technology function to deliver digital experiences. Furthermore, marketing organisations tend to have a global, regional and local element which can add another layer of complexity and distance between colleagues trying to achieve an end-to-end outcome. Where we see the best results is when organisations have complete alignment on objectives, are enabled by strong collaboration tools and fuse different functional teams to achieve those goals.

PT: Why is internal collaboration important for digital to be successful?

DL: Where digital is most successfully exploited is when customer experiences are seamlessly fulfilled. It shouldn’t matter what channel a customer chooses to engage through, the experience must match their expectations and be aligned with all other channels. For this to occur, pharma organisations need to enable unhindered internal collaboration across their brand teams, IT, compliance and commercial leadership.

PT: How should companies promote internal collaboration more?

DL: Internal collaboration can be promoted and adopted through encouraging mutual benefit, incentivising the right behaviours and rewarding successful outcomes.  A comprehensive programme explaining the success that results from open collaboration can pay dividends when shared glory is recognized across teams.  In particular, sponsorship from senior leadership can often tip the balance on how an organisation’s culture manifests itself and collaboration becomes the default way of working.