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Going fully digital

Building a commercial content supply chain
Robot eye

In today's life science industry, a deluge of new clinical data, new channels and new regulatory requirements have combined to challenge even the most experienced companies. Keeping track of every commercial asset at each stage in its life cycle, while maintaining compliance across all channels, is becoming increasingly difficult. New digital channels are changing the way the public engages with the medical world, altering expectations of how the life science industry markets its products. In particular, these channels demand a continuous flow of communications, resulting in an explosion of digital multichannel marketing.

Commercial asset management is further complicated by a growing demand for worldwide brand alignment and expectations of cost savings through content reuse. Campaigns are increasingly global, requiring marketing assets to be shared, distributed and repurposed across international locations, each with a unique regulatory backdrop that may slow approval and time to market.

But the biggest challenge to the efficient and compliant use of commercial assets is the multiple discrete systems that many companies still use to manage their marketing campaigns. Digital content supply chains are slowed down by isolated silos and inefficient workflow processes, which stifle collaboration, restrict creativity and limit visibility. In contrast, fully integrated digital supply chains deliver significant benefits in terms of content approval and asset control.

Multiple systems hinder content management
About 41% of life science companies still use paper-based processes, while 60% rely on email to manage various steps along the commercial content supply chain, according to the Veeva 2015 Life Science Commercial Content Management Survey. With 89% of companies using multiple systems to manage content, there is a danger of a serious breakdown in the management of commercial assets.

Roughly half (52%) of respondents in the study have automated review and approval. Yet many identified capabilities they lack, which, if addressed, could improve speed to market and compliance. For instance, 85% of respondents said they lack the ability to report on content status and process bottlenecks, while 75% reported missing global digital asset management (DAM) systems. Meanwhile, 60% said they couldn't simultaneously distribute content electronically to multiple channels. Respondents also reported that they lack key capabilities for compliance, including visibility into where claims and content are in use (81%) and an audit trail to manage commercial content throughout its life cycle (49%).

Only a small fraction of those surveyed (6%) maintain modern infrastructures that support the full digital supply chain to manage commercial content. However, this group reported better satisfaction with speed to market and compliance capabilities in general. They also use fewer systems overall, which reduces handoffs and break points.

Understanding the digital supply chain
What exactly is the digital supply chain? In the life science industry, it encompasses multiple touch-points and includes all of the stakeholders and departments involved with the creation, sharing and approval of digital content. It is important to remember that all departments that 'touch' a digital asset, at any stage in its life cycle, will impact its potential time to market. Therefore, it is important to integrate all departments into digital asset management workflows from the onset. These departments include core marketers, commercial managers and medical, legal and regulatory (MLR) teams, but also encompass creative agencies responsible for finessing content and designing the way it is presented.

Deploying a unified end-to-end system that supports the full digital supply chain can yield a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased ability to share marketing content across multiple channels and markets 
  • Reduced overhead costs associated with the development and adaptation of marketing content and promotional materials 
  • Decreased time and effort required for content to be approved, published and repurposed
  • Improved control over both the distribution and withdrawal of content from the public domain.

Driving new efficiencies at Sanofi Pasteur MSD
One of the companies benefiting from going fully digital is Sanofi Pasteur MSD, a European joint venture between Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccine division of Sanofi) and Merck (known as MSD outside the US and Canada). The company standardised globally on an integrated, cloud-based multichannel CRM suite and commercial content management solution. With the combined system, the company centralised content production and provided local regions with the ability to adapt content to meet specific regulatory or cultural needs. And because the content management solution is in the cloud, its global agencies have easy access to promotional assets, which further streamlines development.

Sanofi Pasteur MSD previously required upwards of nine months to bring approved commercial content to market in many of its largest markets. Since rolling-out its new commercial content processes and technology, the company expects to cut the time it takes to release commercial content by at least a third. In addition, the company projects it will save time in the MLR review of content. In the first year of use, Sanofi Pasteur MSD projects that it will decrease the number of hours spent conducting MLR reviews from 795 to 494 - a 38% reduction. And in years two through five, the company forecasts that number to improve to a 50% reduction annually. Sanofi Pasteur MSD also projects overall efficiency gains of 17% in year one and 33% annually in years two through five.

A single end-to-end [digital supply chain] system can speed content to market

Developing content faster in order to continuously refresh its digital channels for improved customer engagement was the impetus for adopting an end-to-end commercial content management system with digital asset management. However, Sanofi Pasteur MSD expects additional benefits. The company plans to implement centralised control with a complete audit trail, putting brand owners in the driver's seat and ensuring that they are accountable for where and what purpose an asset is used. The company also expects improved compliance with a system that ensures distribution of only the most up-to-date, approved content direct to the field via its CRM solution. Additionally, it can retire expired assets immediately so outdated materials are off the market, thereby reducing risk.

“With our new digital asset management system, we have a single promotional content master library where local product managers can access, search and find what they need quickly,” says Alexandre Gultzgoff, Sanofi Pasteur MSD's deputy director of IT. “The gain is amazing. We expect a return on investment in less than six months due to content reuse alone. As important, we can see what asset is being used where, when and why for greater control.”

It's time to go fully digital
The life science industry needs to recognise that outmoded ways of working and the continued use of multiple systems impact content quality, reduce speed to market and hinder compliance.

To keep up with the accelerated pace of digital multichannel marketing, companies need integrated solutions that do away with the patchwork approach of the past. A single end-to-end system can speed content to market, while carefully controlling both the distribution and withdrawal of that content from the public domain. The solution should manage each task along the digital supply chain and give the company visibility across channels and geographies.

By adopting a fully digital approach to commercial content management, companies can dramatically reduce the time it takes to develop, approve and disseminate content globally.

Article by
John Chinnici

is VP of Global Vault PromoMats at Veeva Systems

16th August 2016

From: Marketing

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