We caught up with IQVIA’s SVP global technology solutions, Tal Rosenberg, at the 2018 eyeforpharma Barcelona conference as the company announced the EU launch of its Orchestrated Customer Engagement product, which aims to harmonise pharma's interaction with customers

What is Orchestrated Customer Engagement?

'Orchestration' is a new category of technology, and the OCE product is a commercial platform that connects sales, marketing, medical and other functions to harmonise interactions with customers. This enables life sciences companies to build trust and optimise performance in a way  not possible with legacy point solutions such as CRM and  MCM tools.

What are some of the ideas behind 'Orchestration'?

There’s a continuum with different types of orchestrated use cases – for example technology can play a big role in speeding up clinical development, or speeding up patient recruitment as well as execution of your trials. And while each one of those use cases stands alone there’s some continuity between them, so we’re leveraging technology to be the horizontal connective  tissue, if you will, between all of them. That’s our philosophy and vision.

If you think about how technology evolved within pharma it began as point solutions that were aligned to functional departments which ended up becoming functional silos, and we want to break those silos with the kind of model we’re working on.

We have the privilege to work with everyone from emerging biopharma to mid-sized companies to large companies. Emerging biopharma companies are innovative, they’re creative, they’re young in their spirit and they’re doing it for the first time, so they don’t really have the chains of legacy platforms and processes – and they’re thriving because of it. Then you go to a larger customer and it can be much more difficult because everyone’s just thinking about their own silo. But I think they’re starting to realise, as well, that they need to evolve, because they’re all looking for a better way to engage with their customers, and while everyone’s been saying it, very few are actually doing it.

In the past, when people had to rely on point solutions, technology wasn’t so much an enabler. In fact, if anything, it was a barrier. Today we’re hoping that the technology and the capabilities we can bring to an organisation will help trigger and enthuse different ways of thinking about commercial models and how the company is engaging with consumers. You might never have thought about ordering a car service on your phone before technology like Uber came along, for example. Business needs lead innovation, and I think more and more we also see that technology capabilities can give people new ideas about how they can do things differently. So we’re trying to light that way, but luckily our customers are also getting younger – I’m getting older and they’re getting younger! – and while ten years ago it was difficult to convince doctors and the reps to even use our tech, now that’s how they live their lives – everything is on a smartphone.

Are people in the industry receptive to this messaging?

People are receptive, but ultimately, technology shouldn’t replace one-on-one talking with customers. What I’ve learned in the last year since we’ve been taking this to market is that the value proposition is actually different for each customer – for some of them it’s changing customer engagement, for some of them it’s breaking down the silos, for others it's commercial attractiveness.
So generic messaging helps us get through the door, but when you sit down with a customer the value proposition has to be slightly different from one to another and we need to adjust the configurations to their specific needs. It can’t be a cookie
cutter approach.

What does the future of this approach look like?

I think that eventually Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE), our commercial platform, is going to turn into Orchestrated Patient Engagement, with a focus on how you connect those two concepts, especially when patients are becoming far more educated. When my wife goes to a doctor she knows exactly what she wants – she’s read about it, she’s talked to friends about it. Patients are so educated now that you need to think about how you engage with them before they even come into the clinic and how you keep them on the therapy.

Tal Rosenberg was speaking at the 2018 eyeforpharma Barcelona conference in March