Taren Grom, Editor
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With an estimated $40 million spent in 2002 on CRM products and services, CRM is becoming the leading driver of technology spend and strategic technology focus in the pharmaceutical industry. Industry experts, however, who spoke with PharmaVoice say more often than not, CRM technology projects fail to be rolled out on time and on budget. Many systems do not meet the needs of pharmaceutical companies for a whole host of reasons, including the lack of clear objectives for the project, a lack of executive sponsorship, no defined up-front metrics, too much emphasis on technology, and not enough attention paid to the processes and organizational realignments that are involved in a CRM project. “Failure is a relative principle,” says Roddy Martin, VP, industry strategy research at AMR Research. “Statistics show that CRM has had failures in achieving business value from sizeable IT investments. But, if we rephrase those statistics to be a large portion of CRM technologies are immaturely deployed, that it is a fair statement. If the organization is not ready for a CRM initiative and it puts a software application in place, it’s likely to fail when the investment doesn’t result in measurable business value. Most CRM applications have been deployed around salesforce automation concepts. But there is much more to improving margins and revenue in an organization than just salesforce effectiveness. Companies are not leveraging the customer-facing demand driven supply-network context to improve business margins and revenue. And that’s because CRM has turned into a big data-capturing and process automation application rather than having strong analytics to guide salesforce representatives and supply-chain segmentation in the right direction.” According to researchers at Gartner Research, pharma companies that implement multichannel CRM processes and technologies will gain a competitive advantage, outpacing their competitors who are only focused on salesforce automation. Beyond the traditional salesforce applications, enterprises will leverage technology to link joint marketing partners with other virtual team members, field sales reps, and medical scientific liaisons. But they caution that technology is only an enabler and shouldn’t be used to compensate for not having the right people and processes. In fact, Gartner researchers say by 2005, selling organizations that effectively bring pharma-wide knowledge to the point of physician/customer contact will increase the impact (i.e., prescription writing) by as much as 15%. Leading enterprises will reinvent their sales processes to enable their selling channels to quickly incorporate in-depth pharma-wide knowledge into unique physician/customer situations. Those in pharma, however, say vendors still continue to want to sell big holistic CRM data warehouse solutions, which are high cost and take a lot of time to implement. In an environment where change is significant, this isn’t always what they’re really looking for. “It’s not just about selling us more software,” says Robert James, VP, information technology, sales and marketing business systems at Novartis. “It’s about helping us drive toward, or enable, our business objectives. And those are very two different things.” “One of the problems that companies have faced in terms of their CRM deployment is around adoption,” says Lubos Parobek, senior project manager at iAnywhere Solutions. “They’ve rolled out systems with the goal of trying to get marketing, inside sales, outside sales, and service to enter data into the system to form a single view of the customer.” Taren Grom Editor Lubos Parobek From our customers’ viewpoint, they’ve made an investment in CRM but they’re not getting full CRM ROI because they simply are not receiving the quantity or quality of information that they expected from the field salesforce. Customer Relationship Technology