Pharma’s digital future

Digital service delivery helps a global pharma company meet the changing needs of customers and stakeholders

The pharma industry is undergoing significant digital transformation. With conventional business models no longer sufficient to meet patient and clinician needs, pharma companies are having to change how they do business — and overhaul their digital and IT capabilities to match.

At Boehringer Ingelheim we are doing just that. With 50,000 employees working in the pharmaceutical and animal health space, we are one of the world’s 20 largest pharma businesses. Working with ServiceNow, we are implementing new systems to meet the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders.

How pharma is changing

One of the greatest disruptions digitisation has brought to pharma business is a shift in focus to broader health services and solutions, rather than just drug creation.

As part of this process, patients are now being given more information about their illnesses and their treatments, allowing them to play a greater role in their own healthcare. And with preventative approaches to healthcare on the rise, they’re more willing to do so.

For the pharma industry, this shift has resulted in a massively expanded target market. While pharma companies still need to speak to professional audiences — doctors, hospitals, and wholesalers — we also need to engage more with end consumers. That requires a new approach to digital services.

We need to provide intuitive platforms that patients can navigate easily. The user interface must be similar to the applications they use in their daily lives.

A platform approach to service delivery

Boehringer Ingelheim can’t meet the needs of our diverse audiences simply by replacing existing systems with newer versions. We chose a more radical, future-focused approach that allows us to offer relevant, brand-new services to all our customers while keeping up with the rapid pace of change.

The result? A bespoke, “one-stop shop” solution, created by ServiceNow on the Now Platform, that offers us the scale and flexibility needed to meet the requirements of all our customers, internal and external.

The platform has allowed the company to connect even more support organisations to the system.

Scaling through partnership

The new platform is also much easier to use, which caused employee demand for digital services to skyrocket. With the previous system, we had to program a lot of the technology ourselves. Now we have an out-of-the-box rate of more than 80 percent.

After we launched the platform internally, we received far more internal inquiries than we expected. Many other departments now also wanted to load their information onto the platform. With the scope of the project expanding rapidly, it became clear we needed a solution to help us scale.

To bolster the long-term viability of the platform, ServiceNow built a road map to assist with prioritisation and value management. This close partnership has been incredibly valuable. With ServiceNow, we have a partner on our side that can coordinate our strategic needs and influence the further development of the platform.

Tech for the future

As digitisation progresses, we’re not just facing cost pressures. We also need to enable new business models with the right technology, and ensure we keep up with the rapid development of digital products.

In this environment, it’s important to think nimbly and act flexibly. ServiceNow’s solution is built with flexibility in mind. It uses chatbots powered by machine learning and natural language recognition. And because it’s built in a no-code environment, the solution is incredibly simple to use, tweak, and change as the situation on the ground develops.

That means the business is ready not just for what’s happening today, but for whatever the future holds