In 2015, a survey by Accenture found that two-thirds of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the pharmaceutical industry did not consider collaboration with their chief information officers (CIOs) as an important strategy. In the past, CMO/CIO collaboration was not a central focus as these two roles hardly ever coincided – CMOs generally focused on marketing technologies while CIOs focused on IT.
Pharma CMOs and pharma CIOs think differently. In the survey, CMOs and CIOs showcased a 33 percent point gap in their rating of analytics as a top driver of integration. CIOs in pharma rated analytics at the very top while pharma CMOs rated analytics closer to the bottom. However, emerging technologies are influencing how much success pharmaceutical companies can attain when they are able to leverage Big Data and analytics more efficiently. As healthcare becomes more reliant on data-driven technology, pharma CMOs need to collaborate with pharma CIOs – or risk falling behind.
Why is there a Need for Pharma CMOs and CIOs to Collaborate?
Pharma CMO/CIO Collaboration Can Turn Big Data into Big Profits
With the rise of emerging technologies in the form of medical devices and apps, healthcare is quickly transitioning from medicine-centric to patient-centric. Modern-day medical devices and apps are increasingly being created and developed with Big Data in mind. These tools have the ability to capture medical data and transmit this information directly to pharma companies in real-time.
The global volume of data is growing at a rate of at least 40 percent per year. If pharmaceutical companies are not equipped to use this data to their advantage, they risk falling behind their competitors. To edge off competition, pharma companies are investing heavily in “smart” tools that can connect patients directly to pharma. A strong collaboration between CMOs and CIOs comes into play because both parties need to agree on a fixed strategy for turning rising volumes of Big Data into big profits or big growth.
Pharma CMO/CIO Collaboration is Important as Organizational Growth Depends on Strategic Marketing Efforts
One major goal of every successful pharmaceutical company is to acquire profits or project growth. A clear marketing strategy will drive organizational growth. However, companies have to leverage data efficiently in order to choose the right marketing strategies. Research shows that companies that are more data-driven in their business operations are 5 percent more productive and 6 percent more profitable than other companies in the same field.
Successful pharmaceutical companies today recognize the need for using data to drive business strategies. Companies already spend $50 billion annually on Big Data and analytics capabilities. Therefore, if CMOs can work together with CIOs, they will be tapping into a strategic partner who already knows the specifics of what Big Data can do for organizational growth.
Why is Pharma Behind Other Industries in CMO/CIO Collaboration?
Differing Priorities between Pharma CMOs and Pharma CIOs
CMO/CIO collaboration is significantly lagging in the pharmaceutical industry compared to other industries that use marketing technologies. Different priorities for CMOs and CIOs most likely has slowed down collaboration between both parties. A report showed that most CIOs think their organizations need more marketing/IT collaboration, while most CMOs don’t see this collaboration as strategically important. Other industries are shooting for better CMO/CIO collaboration, for example, the insurance industry only shows a 3 percent divide between CMOs’ and CIOs’ thoughts.
Healthcare Regulations and Compliance
The slow drift forward toward pharma CMO/CIO collaboration could also be due to hindrances from healthcare regulations and compliance, which increases the difficulty to use customer (patient) data for digital marketing efforts. For example, a section of the Sunshine Act legally requires pharmaceutical companies to disclose “any direct payments or transfers of value to physicians and/or teaching hospitals of $10 or more.”
At the same time, regulations themselves are promoting collaboration. The GDPR in the E.U. is a prime example. Penalties for failing to comply with GDPR regulations will be in the millions of dollars. Marketing will have to more closely involve security and IT to avoid massive penalties.
Lower Level of Digital Adoption in Healthcare
Another challenge that hinders collaboration between pharma CMOs and CIOs is the lower level of digitization in healthcare compared with other industries. Pharma companies have adopted digitization in terms of processes, but there is still room for improvement in adopting digitization that focuses on patient needs.
How Pharma CMOs and Pharma CIOs Can Collaborate Successfully
Pharma CMOs and pharma CIOs must first understand their roles before evaluating and tackling how their roles can be interwoven. Both parties should be equally responsible for the strategy and execution, including the use of tools and technologies.
A partnership approach will more effectively leverage the strengths of both the marketing and IT organizations.
CMOs were once known for growth, marketing, and promoting, but CIOs can partner with them on this front.
Pharma CMOs have the gargantuan tasks of growing their companies, marketing brands, and promoting products. However, CMOs need to recruit the help of CIOs in order to turn massive amounts of accrued data into meaningful information, which will in turn lead to increased revenue.
Additionally, CMOs in pharma often use IT to focus on improving the patient experience with a brand; 67 percent of CMOs do not see how they can use IT as a strategic tool. Pharma CMOs can use the help of CIOs to use IT to develop business strategies.
CIOs were once recognized for turning new technology into revenue, but CMOs can partner with them here as well.
Pharma CIOs use IT to create streams of revenue. They tend to see Big Data and analytics as key tools that marketers can use. Unfortunately, less than 50 percent of pharma CIOs do not understand marketing goals and objectives. Therefore, CIOs need to recruit help from CMOs to figure out how to translate the data into growth initiatives.
What Makes a Successful Partnership Between Pharma CMOs and Pharma CIOs?
- Pharma CMOs need to define business goals and use cases of any data/analytics initiatives provided by pharma CIOs.
- Pharma CIOs need to share information with pharma CMOs on requirements and cost analytics.
- There needs to be shared vocabulary (and expectations) between pharma CMOs and pharma CIOs. Marketers and IT employees each speak their own languages and expect different levels of detail. For example, marketers tend to take technical information and simplify it for easy consumption while IT professionals tend to flesh out information to include every detail.
- Pharma CMOs and pharma CIOs need to jointly utilize the right tools. RxDataScience offers pharmaceutical executives the right tools. We ensure that pharmaceutical firms and healthcare organizations seeking solutions to specific business initiatives in sensitive data and data science have access to our high-quality analytics-as-a-service and consultation resources.