Personalized experiences have had a major impact on our daily lives: Facebook helps users plan their weekends by providing relevant, personalized event information based on their interests and connections. Google narrows down search parameters based on an individual’s location and search history. Netflix provides movie recommendations according to a user’s preferences. The list goes on.

While personalization has changed how we consume information in our personal lives, it hasn’t changed much within our work lives. Many companies are still using the same Excel tools that they used 20 years ago. What if we could apply this concept—easy access to personalized, contextual information—to our work lives? Imagine if Ben, a pharmaceutical sales rep, used an intuitive interface that provided information just for him: the latest news from public sources; social media messaging from customers such as health systems or affiliated hospitals within his geography; background information on new stakeholders and their influence in these accounts; on-the-go appointment reminders and “flash briefings” that include bite-sized insights relevant to an upcoming interaction; suggestions for better orchestrating customer interactions based on his fellow sales reps’ previous interactions with that same customer; and suggestions for what Ben needs to do to make his engagement with the customer most effective. Ben would no longer need to spend his time sifting through hundreds of reports across multiple systems to find useful information—all of it would be at his fingertips. This new world of relevant, personalized information would arm users across the company with exactly what they need to know in order to make better decisions more effectively. Moreover, it could take pressure off of analytics teams, which are struggling to meet growing demand for data and reporting.    


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Going even further, this type of personalized solution would use artificial intelligence to learn how Ben uses the application. As it learns his preferences, it can provide Ben with specific recommendations, such as suggesting that he show a recent journal article to a client who considers published study results when making purchasing decisions. And the more that Ben interacts with the application, the more it learns what information is relevant for his business goals. Ben’s activities, like the notes that he records after his meetings in a CRM system, along with incoming data sources, act as valuable inputs and help to make predictions and recommendations that are even more targeted and relevant to Ben, or any other team member at his company.

To usher in this new way of consuming information, pharmaceutical companies should start by rethinking the end-user experience and focusing less on building specific dashboards and reports. Consider the self-driving car: It’s designed to get drivers from point A to point B in the safest, most efficient manner, using data points (traffic, environment, weather, etc.) to help them reach their destinations. Drivers aren’t focused on anything other than the car’s ability to deliver an efficient travel experience. Similarly, pharmaceutical commercial teams don’t need more technology, dashboards or heaps of data that won’t ultimately help them reach their end goal. They need a single, automated, personalized application that’s designed to improve how they use information to drive business decisions.  

As personalization trends continue to seep into the business world, pharmaceutical companies should strategize how to bring these advancements to their business teams. The consumption patterns for each of the end users is unique and requires extensive research on delivering the right user experience—a completely different way of consuming information. It also requires the integration of multiple disciplines, including user experience, business strategy, advanced data science and technology.

This change in information delivery and consumption could lead to major improvements in how effectively a rep sells, how efficiently a manager leads her team or how effectively a company executive makes a decision and develops a unique strategy that, ultimately, could provide the company with a strong competitive edge within an increasingly crowded pharmaceutical marketplace. It’s time to start laying the groundwork to disrupt current analytics consumption—the mountains of dashboards and reports—and move to a personalized analytics consumption model that can mimic how consumer applications have changed how we consume information in our personal lives.

Topics: sales force effectiveness, Sales Force, information & technology, Pharma, Commercial Operation, Analytics, personalization, AI, Impact Summit, Impact Summit 2017, dashboards, analytics disruption, reporting