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Ashfield Answers

Strategic counsel for a global healthcare sector in an ever-present state of flux

How strategy can make or break

Maintain business advantage by creating a strategy that is quickly and effectively adapted

Uncertain times, pressurised budgets and competitive intensity place a premium on strategy. In such situations, not only is it critical to build a solid strategy, but also to have confidence that the strategy can be quickly and effectively adapted to maintain advantage.

With the ever-increasing complexities associated with product and portfolio commercialisation within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and medical devices sectors, a careful balance of strong insights, creative exploration and pragmatic decision-making must be applied in designing strategies that will deliver the desired outcomes. In the optimal combination, creativity and pragmatism help companies to accurately frame opportunity, uncertainty and risk, evaluate potentially diverse strategic scenarios and define strategic directions and success measures with high astuteness and confidence.

At the core of powerful strategy is defining what a product, portfolio or indeed company will do, why, and for whom it matters. Whether the business objective is to optimise strategic partnering, product launch, disease area and portfolio strategy, or radically change R&D innovation, the fundamental challenge surrounds defining the unique value being offered in terms of enterprise, purpose and potential. Successful strategy development and value proposition creation is a cocktail of deep and broad understanding of customers, their assets, and possible market futures, as well as rational prioritization of critical issues including  competitor activity and identification of trade-offs through risk:benefit analysis.

At the end of the day, strategy is about the actions taken and the changes realized. In reality, even the most astute and well-informed strategic plans can be blunted in the absence of the necessary commitment and action of the people involved in and affected by them. Strategic leadership provides the bridge between the strategy development and disciplined implementation of the strategic initiatives. The most effective strategic leadership relies on the consistent monitoring of strategic implementation, the ability to quickly identify the moment things are straying off-course and the decisiveness shown putting in changes to ensure the desired outcomes are still achieved.

Our experience shows that the most impactful strategic solutions integrate from start to finish the needs, motives and perspectives of internal and external parties to generate truly customer-centric and actionable solutions. The premise here is that people are ultimately the key means to successful and enduring results. Specific and shared ownership towards the desired results must be established from the outset and maintained throughout the solution process. Beyond building commitment to delivery of the changes defined by the strategy, a customer-centric strategic framework naturally fosters greater challenge of the status quo, full exploration of alternatives, and enrichment of insight and ideation. Furthermore, in a prevailing environment of differentiate or die, these attributes can present the springboard for discovery of unique or higher value and true innovation.

So, is it  strategy alone that can make or break? Unquestionably, a well-designed strategy should flow without ripple into successful execution because it is designed with both implementation and the future in mind. However, if powerful strategy is the starting point, then powerful execution is the means to the end, and poor or tardy execution can definitively make or break.

With this in mind company's looking for strategic partners should seek those that are skilled and experienced in navigating the balance of developing and implementing strategy that is both creative and pragmatic. The business impact of seamlessly seguing from powerful strategy development to powerful strategic execution should not be underestimated, and partners that offer integrated and market-leading services for innovative strategy development and confident decision-making will prove to be invaluable to the successful growth of a company's business.

Brought to you by:

Gemma Pfister, SVP InterPhase Consult, Ashfield Commercial and Medical Services

28th July 2014

From: Research, Sales, Marketing



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