Why Process Excellence Will Underpin Next Generation Pharma

Organizations across the planet are grappling with how to fundamentally re-invent themselves, and at an ever-increasing pace of change. But few industries face the challenges of Pharma, which may traditionally have been seen as conservative and slow-moving, but is set to undergo a rapid revolution driven by a stark new competitive landscape.

As McKinsey, not given to hyperbole, summarised it last month:

“This dramatic situation requires Big Pharma executives to envision responses that go well beyond simply tinkering with the cost base or falling back on mergers and acquisitions… A bolder, more radical approach to Big Pharma’s operating model must become a realistic planning scenario.”

A Wake-Up Call For Big Pharma – McKinsey Quarterly, Dec 2011

It’s an exciting time to be working in process management and in Life Sciences. Because whichever you look at the challenges facing Pharma, the answers most often link directly to process excellence.  

It’s not just that a true process management platform can enable and orchestrate all the actors involved in transformational change. It’s fundamental to success in other ways too:

Collaboration. It’s the ideal governance framework for the collaboration with third parties that will become increasingly common.  

Outsourcing. It’s the ideal service management framework for a world where blends of shared services, outsourcing and multisourcing will be far more common. 

Performance Improvement. It’s the ideal framework for Lean and Six Sigma initiatives, for sustainable change, and for continuous improvement.

But is this possible – what is a true process management platform? For my money, it has to:

  • provide integrated and holistic views of end-to-end processes, in the language of the business (not IT-speak)
  • integrate process with documents, KPI metrics, risk and controls, quality and compliance,  training and task support 
  • provide the collaborative framework and governance that enables process stakeholders to drive performance improvement
  • deliver process to the desktops and smartphones of people doing real work – through Storyboards and a personalized ‘intelligent operations manual’
  • be truly ‘the way we work’ – not an artificial construct owned by IT or Quality.

I do feel extraordinarily lucky to be joining the Nimbus-TIBCO Life Sciences consulting team at this time.  Visionary clients, bright colleagues and huge potential.  And they pay me for it.

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