Four recommendations to kick-start the digital transformation of your market access processes

Written by Darren McBride

Darren McBride shares his experience of digital transformation in pharmaceutical and biotechnology market access, and makes four recommendations for those who are keen to drive change.

What is involved in your role as Chief Technology Officer at PRMA Consulting?

Essentially, I help companies shorten their time to market access and achieve business efficiencies by adopting new technology.

To do that, I meet directly with clients and support their user experience of the PRMA Consulting suite of digital applications. I drive best practice and knowledge sharing across companies, by maintaining the flow of insights between clients, our expert consultancy team, specialist IT services, and executive leaders.

Right now we are seeing an unprecedented uptake in our digital applications, which are helping to transform the market access processes of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Our specialist cloud computing is supporting their competitive advantage, and it’s a very exciting time for us and the profession.

How do clients perceive this digital transformation?

I see a combination of caution and energy, and that’s understandable.

There is caution because of the perceived risks and challenges posed by change. At the same time, there is recognition that cloud applications, process optimization, machine learning, and decision support are significantly contributing to revenue. I am witnessing a growing appreciation of new technology as a strategic asset within market access.

How can organizations manage the challenges involved in digital transformation?

As a team.

Digital transformation is as much about people and culture as it is about technology. It reaches every part of an organization, and needs to be brought to life and contextualized by the whole leadership team. This helps make digital transformation meaningful and achievable for every employee.

What top-line recommendations for successful digital transformation can you share?

I’d start with considering four important aspects of change: the need, the plan, the ability, and the approach.

Appreciating the various needs for change is vital. Specific reasons need to be fully understood; this can be the internal use and perceived value of technology, and understanding how digital technologies will underpin the commercial strategy.

“Building a plan for change helps you clearly communicate the gap between where you are now and the vision of where you want to be.”

Understanding the business culture and its ability to change is key. Internal users must be invested in the transformation, a hard ask when they may be experiencing doubt and uncertainty because they do not know how the change may affect them. Demonstrating understanding, empathy, and excitement for the vision will build your supporters and advocates.

Selecting the right approach to digital transformation for your organization is important, as this informs the planning and delivery. Incorporating user, brand, process, and technology factors provides a basis for a successful program.

Digital transformation can be challenging but the rewards are more than worth it. I’d encourage any market access professionals who are keen to find out more about partnering with PRMA Consulting to read some of our case studies and get in touch.

So what of the digital future for market access?

Industries have changed enormously in the past decade. The way they engage with IT and culturally adopt forward-looking practices has been transformative. I urge pharmaceutical and biotechnology business leaders to add digital transformation to their agendas. Technology is progressing; embracing its challenges and opportunities is one vital way to drive your business forward.

PRMA Consulting is an independent consultancy solving some of the most challenging pricing, reimbursement, and market access issues facing international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies today.

Our tailored services include a suite of digital applications that transform market access processes. These dynamic applications enable clients to unlock and optimize product value from early development through to successful country HTA submissions.

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