Think local, deploy globally

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Tim White
Tim White

Deploying digital frameworks across large pharmaceutical organizations is a tricky business, and sidestepping internecine turf battles and efficiency-sucking sour grapes requires securing local buy-in first, as Lundbeck's Tim White attested on the second day of eyeforpharma's Barcelona 2013 conference.

White, global director and head of customer interaction management at Lundbeck, related to industry delegates his experiences in implementing a global multichannel strategy at Novartis, where, until a few weeks ago, he spearheaded global digital commercialization. The idea was to standardize a multichannel platform whereby the global division would directly feed all content and information down to the local teams.

“The CEO stood on a stage and presented the project, saying ‘This is going to change the way we do business,” recalled White. “It all seemed very robust.”

But there was a small problem: the plan was not being adopted. “Individual countries were going against the strategy,” said White.

It seems local brand managers, typically proud of their efforts and hungry for recognition, were demoralized by the plans to bypass them. Agency partners, too, were irked at having been cut out of the content loop and even began pitching different systems to the local brand managers. As a result, not much was happening.

“We had reps waiting around with iPads and nothing to load onto them,” said White. “We were stuck at stage one.”

White and his team had made a mistake. “We had forgotten the simplicity aspect,” he said. “We built this incredibly complex system but we had forgotten the local level. It's the market that drives how we interact with our customers.”

So they wasted little time in meeting again with stakeholders, realizing “this was the beginning to solve the needs.” Soon after, version two appeared – again, a standardized framework, but with the flexibility to download content at global, regional and local levels.

Although White didn't stay at Novartis long enough to offer delegates any robust results, he said the new platform appeared to be “very successful”, particularly in southern Europe and Scandinavia.

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