The Three Cornerstones of Pharma Digital Transformation

November 3, 2020 Scott O'Connell

COVID-19 made leaders across industries rethink how they do business. The pandemic accelerated the tech trends already in motion, such as digital care delivery and interactive patient experiences.  

Like many industries that urgently pivoted to “keep the lights on” solutions to protect their workers and customers from unnecessary contact at the outset of the pandemic, pharma companies are now reassessing their stop-gap solutions.  

With consumers' heightened desire for convenience, choice, and connectivity, more pharma CIOs are working closely with healthcare leaders to develop lasting digitally augmented care models beyond the confines of brick-and-mortar locations.  

Elderly woman wearing navy-framed glasses smiling looking at healthcare offerings on her white laptop

To enable cloud-based care and loyalty-building experiences, pharma companies need to reassess their IT infrastructure, patient acquisition methods, engagement models, and nurture strategies. By addressing the three critical cornerstones of a pharma digital transformation, they’ll have a framework for asking themselves the following questions: 


  • Do I have the right IT foundation and pharma technology to weather an unprecedented market?  
  • Can I move with agility to seize opportunities? 
  • Do I have a resilient, secure infrastructure for telemedicine and other forms of virtual care? 
  • What are my current cloud capabilities? Where are the gaps?  
  • Do I have the right marketing technologies to create hyper-personalized, cross-channel patient experiences? 


  • Am I using my data to its full potential?  
  • Do I have the right talent to analyze vast volumes of data coming from IoT sensors and wearables?  
  • Do I have a strategy to synthesize disparate data into a single source of truth?  
  • Am I aware of the full benefits of API-led innovations?  
  • Are there areas where I can introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to streamline operations and unlock insights?  

Business Strategy   

  • How can I apply advanced analytics, visualization, and other emergent technologies to interpret data in multiple views?  
  • How can I democratize data and knowledge across my organization?  
  • How can my organization better engage patients throughout the product and platform delivery lifecycle?  
  • How can my organization integrate patient feedback into healthcare innovations that reduce costs?  
  • What digital life sciences investments should I be making now?  
  • What new business models will I need to explore to respond to increasingly diverse patient segments?  
  • How can I target patients with different needs and abilities on their preferred channels while reducing costs? 

Challenge #1: Fragmented Acquisitions  

If you've acquired virtual care companies, there may be opportunities to consolidate your IT pharma technology stack and optimize costs. You may also find new ways to tap into data and insights across the businesses operating under your brand banner through API-led innovations driven by MuleSoft.  
Although there isn't a single technology that can help you provide frictionless virtual care, there are solutions that can reduce operational complexities and integrate your data and systems to increase patient convenience and cost-optimized quality care. 

Using AI, APIs, and multichannel marketing technologies, pharma companies can provide hyper-personalized experiences and create more value at every touchpoint.  

Challenge #2: Disconnected Patient Experiences  

Today’s consumers evaluate products on multiple channels and devices, expecting the transition from Web to mobile to social media to be seamless. Pharma companies that want to reduce patient acquisition costs and create loyalty-driving experiences, need to simplify onsite navigation on desktop, prioritize web accessibility (especially as they serve patients with disabilities), and respond with multiple content formats to appeal to diverse patient segments.  
From optimizing search to integrating grayscale testing into their design workflows to involving patients in user testing and feedback, the opportunity to create personalized, unified experiences is manifold.  

Having a multichannel marketing hub and connected patient experience ecosystem enables you to gain more visibility into acquisition costs, brand interactions, and behavioral trends. When your analytics, content creation, and sharing tools are connected, you can respond to patient needs with ease, and experiment more intelligently with AI.  

Salesforce Community Cloud, combined with the power of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and its suite of solutions, can provide pharma companies with more visibility into how their customers engage with their brands and content across channels.  

Based on engagement rates, pharma marketers can leverage behavioral insights and patient preferences to personalize how they speak and connect with patients across their websites, portals, forums, emails, and in person. 

Innovate with an Analyst-recognized leader 

At Appirio, we specialize in helping businesses move forward with confidence through our"Art of the Possible" approach. From digital strategy to IT infrastructure to customer relationship management, our Salesforce and pharma domain experts help companies beginning their digital transformation find simple, flexible, and convenient solutions to complex issues. 

Recognized as a leader in the Everest Group’s Life Sciences Digital Services PEAK Matrix Assessment 2019, Wipro, our parent company, a digital transformation solutions provider, augments Appirio’s strategy, design, Salesforce, and integration expertise to provide even greater value to pharma companies in their digital transformation journeys. 

“Life Sciences enterprises expect their service providers to have strong digital and Life Sciences consulting skills to enable digital transformations. Wipro’s success in this market is due to its strategic acquisitions, skills and continued evolution of its value proposition to align to market needs.”- Abhishek Singh, Vice President, Everest Group  

Ready to Start Your Pharma Digital Transformation?  

To survive and thrive in today’s uncertain world, pharma companies will need to be agile, patient-centric, and responsive, and that starts with: 

  • Modernizing your IT infrastructure and pharma technologies. 
  • Becoming an analytics-led, AI-infused organization. 
  • Embracing dynamic experiences and hyper-personalized patient communications. 

Explore the potential transformation options for your organization, get in touch with an Appirio Pharma Digital Transformation expert.  


Putting Patient at the Core

About the Author

Scott O'Connell

Scott O'Connell is the Senior GTM Manager of Appirio's Health and Life Science vertical. He is an experienced marketing professional with a successful track record of helping companies bring products to market, improving their brand awareness, and fostering customer engagement.

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