The vital journey to ‘becoming digital’


Those pharma firms that successfully develop their “Digital DNA” first will be at a competitive advantage. In becoming digitally mature, organizations will be able to move with the times with greater ease, while providing better experiences for both their employees and their customers.

As Garth Andrus, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, puts it: “When game-changing technologies combine with the right DNA, the sky’s not even the limit anymore.”

As it stands, however, there are not too many companies who can say they are “being digital”. In a recent study by Facebook and Deloitte, most of the marketing organizations surveyed said they are still at the stage of “doing digital” rather than “being digital”.

Here’s how the study defines “doing digital” and “being digital”:

·        “Doing digital” – using digital technologies to make incremental improvements to the status quo, but not yet weaving digital into their DNA.

·        “Being digital”- actively weaving digital capabilities into their business, operating and talent models.

In terms of marketing specifically, the study revealed nine Digital DNA traits that are present in digital organizations – six for “doing digital” and three for “becoming digital”.

‘Doing digital’ traits:

·        Dynamic skill requirements. Bringing in skills that can be used in a variety of ways to tackle new challenges and circumstances.

·        Agility. Being able to adapt quickly to unexpected changes in the marketplace.

·        Fluidity. The ability to move with ease from one situation to the next.

·        Constant disruption. Being able to identify what disruptions are important, and then having the capabilities and culture to respond.

·        Real-time and on-demand. To be able to make changes in real-time, and provide information and services on-demand.

·        Fail early, fail fast, learn faster. Not being afraid of failure – quickly learning from mistakes.

‘Becoming digital’ traits:

·        Continuous ecosystem disruption. Operating as an ecosystem, which enables them to constantly reconfigure themselves to ongoing societal, technological and market shifts.

·        Increased customer involvement. Actively engaging with customers to improve the organisation.

·        Intentionally collaborative. Collaboration across the entire ecosystem to deliver and improve experience for customers and employees alike.

At the moment, marketing organisations often don’t have enough Digital DNA to be able to call themselves a digital company.

According to the study, nearly half (46%) said they are currently unable to manage unplanned change without it slowing them down. A similar number (48%) said they don’t believe their digital skills training is effective. While 51% said they are being held back by traditional hierarchies that revolve around formal roles and levels. Even more damning, 41% don’t believe their company culture supports digital adoption.

Andrus acknowledges that the path to digital is a long one – those digital traits are not going to form overnight. But it is well in the interests of pharma firms to begin the journey.