IQVIA takes a new approach to managing pharma’s customer engagements

Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE) breaks down functional silos in commercial operations

After signaling its direction in a number of announcements in the past year—specifically a tight integration with cloud-based platforms—IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS) has unveiled what it considers to be a new approach to IT systems for empowering pharma sales and marketing teams: Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE). The product stresses enterprise-level integration of diverse functional silos, such as medical affairs, marketing and call centers, and the intention is to expand this to include R&D activities and regulatory compliance—a “molecule to market” goal. Another theme that IQVIA stresses is that OCE will be a “platform of platforms,” integrating other companies’ IT solutions where clients desire them.

Richie Etwaru, chief digital officer at IQVIA, notes that OCE is the result of a multi-million-dollar, three-year development program, and that the capabilities of OCE go well beyond what pharma companies are currently doing with customer relationship-management (CRM) tools. “CRM are systems of record, recording what has been done,” he says. “OCE is a system of engagement and anticipation,” reacting in near-real time to what is going on with customers across the enterprise.

Starting with and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, IQVIA has built “personas” for sales, marketing and other commercial ops functions; information is meant to flow seamlessly between each of these personas as needed. IQVIA has also developed three embedded capabilities: ADA artificial intelligence (for recommendations and predictive analytics); the Lexi API connector (to enable APIs for other IT solutions to be easily linked); and the Apollo user-interface resource (to enable user interfaces to be designed with functionality comparable to the best consumer-oriented software). Although each of these resources is branded, it’s not clear whether they are optional parts of an OCE implementation, or simply built-in features of the solution.

Conceptually, OCE mirrors what numerous industry analysts have been saying about the evolving sales process in life sciences—that sales reps need to act as concierges, bringing information, support functions (such as call centers) and digital communications to healthcare providers based on the latter’s needs. OCE, at the enterprise level, should allow this orchestration to be managed internally better.

IMS Health (prior to the merger with Quintiles) had had several CRM offerings, notably the Mobile Intelligence solution acquired from Cegedim in 2015. Presumably, OCE will have a ready market in the pharma companies using those existing CRM solutions. A first customer was also announced at the OCE introduction on Dec. 12: Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Pierre Fabre S.A. That company will “migrate all of its current CRM users to OCE” under a seven-year agreement, according to IQVIA. At the public rollout of the new platform, IQVIA said little about its extensive (and popular) resources in prescription sales data, patient records, master data management and other data offerings, but those could prove to be a differentiating feature of the platform.