eBusiness promised to revolutionize the way pharma companies worked, shattering conventional ROI metrics. But while eBusiness has shown its value, the industry now recognizes it is part of business as usual, not a new paradigm. Companies are now set to treat mBusines investment with the same, less starry-eyed, attitude.
A recent conference considered the role of eBusiness and mBusiness in pharma sales and marketing.
At the recent Eyeforpharma conference, e-Sales and Marketing USA 2002: From Mobile to Wireless, numerous phama industry executives spoke about their experiences with eBusiness and mBusiness projects.
Just a few years ago, the Internet promised to revolutionize the way pharmaceutical companies did business. eBusiness groups piloted projects aimed at improving efficiencies across the value chain. Then came mobile, with promises of efficiency and superior returns on investment. Salesforce automation and point of sale marketing were two popular applications of this technology, in varying pilot projects.
Not everything that was promised has materialized. Although eBusiness has opened up new possibilities, many of which have been successful at driving business objectives, delegates at the conference pointed out that there has so far been a lot more ‘I’ than ‘R’ in the ROI equation. Companies often had to train their vendors regarding the intricacies of pharmaceutical business, and examining various new ROI metrics.
Conference delegates and speakers’ mood has changed from earlier eSales and Marketing conferences, becoming far more pragmatic. eBusiness is business as usual – it’s no longer an experimental pilot project, but rather an important channel for conducting business. As a result, people now realize that the same rules apply to measuring the ROI of eBusiness as do to all other sales and marketing activities.
The learnings from eBusiness activities are now set to carry over into mBusiness. No longer are pharmas willing to train vendors: those that want to succeed will need to understand pharmaceutical business and not try to bend it to the shape of their applications.
eBusiness has matured and shown its value. But lessons also point to the importance of channeling that value – evaluating eBusiness opportunities and incorporating them into the larger objectives of the company, rather than continuing with independent experiments.
Related research: Datamonitor, 2001: Handheld Applications: Reaching Physicians at the Point of Care