The pharmaceutical industry is growing day by day due to increasing demand for its services and products. Urbanization, opening of new markets, growing ageing population and increased number of new diseases make the industry thrive. In fact, it’s one of the few industries that saw growing profits during the economic crisis caused by the global pandemic.
However, pharma is still facing major challenges these days. They are caused by technological advancements and digitalization of the market, changes in consumer behavior, as well as growing competition. In order to address these challenges many pharmaceutical companies are adopting digital collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams. They help them stay efficient and adapt to the changing way of work that is impacting all the industries around the globe.
In this article we will show you how Microsoft Teams can improve collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry and help pharma companies enhance their performance.
Trends in pharmaceutical industry
Pharmaceutical industry is undergoing major transformations these days. From working exclusively pharma companies are gradually shifting towards collaboration and partnerships with their competitors. Slowly but steadily they are now introducing technology at every stage of their lifecycle: from manufacturing to selling.
Let’s briefly outline the key trends in the pharmaceutical industry that impact how pharma companies are operating today.
Introducing new technology
New technology is being gradually introduced in all the healthcare organization, including pharmaceutical companies. Those who fail to do so in time, risk being left out and lose the increasing competition.
New software is used to control and organize the manufacturing process, logistics, administrative work and communication.
Additionally, major pharma players are now collaborating with high-tech companies for fostering research and enhancing their productivity with automation.
Many pharmaceutical companies start using Microsoft Teams to digitalize and safely store important records regarding their patients and company’s administrative information, tackle operational activities and manage the staff.
The growing need to tackle complex chronic or incurable conditions puts a lot pressure on the pharmaceutical companies. It forces them to look for partnership with other industries and, above all, with competitors.
The need to share knowledge between experts and find treatment for complex diseases fueled collaboration between pharma giants and is now shaping the new reality for the industry.
These partnerships, in turn, require the use of collaboration tools that ensure effective communication and confidential information safety.
Changing patient needs
We live in a consumer society, and it has now started to take its toll on the pharmaceutical industry. These days patients require more personalized approach to their healthcare, demanding more advanced treatments that are currently unavailable.
Therefore, pharma companies are now making a shift toward patient-centric approach in developing new products. This requires direct collaboration with healthcare institutions and patients themselves. To do so, they will need to deploy a new approach that will help them build relationships with their direct consumers.
Collaboration challenges in pharmaceutical industry that can be addressed with Microsoft Teams
Studies suggest that the modern pharmaceutical industry is underdelivering notwithstanding the increasing number of emerging pharma companies and growing competition in the market. This is why, as previously mentioned, the new trend of seeking partnerships both within and outside the industry.
This need for collaboration introduces a great challenge for pharmaceutical companies as it requires sharing of intellectual property and knowledge.
In order for this collaboration to work, parties need to meet each other halfway and accept some compromises that will involve certain loss of control. Trust is key in maintaining these relationships functional and efficient.
The use of the right communication and collaboration tools can help the organizations address this challenge and establish trusting partnerships that will benefit all the stakeholders.
The market pace in pharmaceutics is accelerating. And even though pharma companies are creating partnerships, they still need to keep up with the market trends, technological advancements and consumer demands to stay independent. Being efficient and thinking beyond traditional market tools is key to being competitive.
Considering that Amazon is actively increasing it sales in over-the-counter medicine, pharmaceutical firms need to take quick step in addressing the competition from the online retail giant.
Which takes us right to the next challenge.
Online pharmacies existed before the Covid-19, but never have they been so popular as in 2020. Forced to stay in confinement or follow movement restrictions, many payers now prefer to do their shopping online, even when it comes to buying medicine.
This has revolutionized the industry. Now in order to stay in the market, pharmaceutical companies need to make sure their products are also available virtually, which creates a great administrative challenge. Patients’ records and prescriptions have to be stored and processed online, forcing pharmaceutical firms to adopt new software solutions.
With many restrictions that the world is facing these days due to Covid-19 pandemic, virtual meetings have become a new norm for many industries across the globe, including pharma. In order to avoid face-to-face contact as much as possible, pharmaceutical companies and increasingly resorting to digital solutions to have virtual calls with hospital workers and patients. That brings a new challenge of how to conduct an efficient online meeting without losing on quality of communication and delivery.
All the pharma companies around the globe are limited in their practices by compliance regulations. Many firms are experiencing growing pains when they approach market approval as these regulations can be different depending on the country or region/
Lack of written procedures on quality, production and process control is one of the common reasons for non-compliance. But even if they do exist, sometimes companies fail to follow these procedures. However, this problem can be resolved with Microsoft Teams.
Each pharma company needs to have a document with clear and easy-to-execute procedures that will serve as a roadmap for quality. The procedures should be reviewed and approved by the operational and quality control units. Then they need to be regularly updated and easily accessible by the members of the staff.
Doing so requires effective communication and collaboration, distribution of responsibilities and tasks and supervision of execution.
Communication with patients
With increasing importance of patient-centric approach in the pharmaceutical industry, it’s vital to constantly engage with patients and efficiently follow their journey during medical trials. Storing all the records and navigating through documentation becomes a challenge, on top the need to effectively onboard new patients and check on their progress.
How Microsoft Teams can help pharmaceutical companies improve collaboration
Microsoft Teams offers numerous capabilities that can help pharmaceutical companies address collaboration challenges. This, in turn, will increase their productivity and give them more time to focus on the patients, fostering research and development.
Pharmaceutical companies can benefit from Microsoft Teams by sharing documentation such as patients’ records and compliance procedures among others, distributing tasks and working on them together right in Teams, organizing audio and video conferences with team members, as well as with patients and partners. This way your staff will always stay up-to-date and in touch with the right people even when working remotely.
A pharmaceutical company can encompass a myriad of departments – formulation, research and development, manufacturing, dispensing, pharmacy, quality and control, marketing, and others. For each of your department you can formulate a different team in Microsoft Teams and enhance their collaborative process.
Here are some of the Microsoft Teams features that pharmaceutical organizations can benefit from.
From clinical trials to entering new markets: improve your collaborative processes
Each team in a pharmaceutical company will need to work on multiple projects that require different sets of action from different individuals. To keep your teams structured and avoid leaks of confidential information, you can create different channels where your team members will discuss specific topics without the need to create a new team. For example, for a Research project team, you can create the following channels:
- Clinical trials
- Product formulation
- Drug development
- Audit and compliance
Keep your team up-to-date
In each of your channels you can add tabs with files and apps relevant for the channel’s purpose. It can be product’s formula, product development documentation, patients’ information and records of clinical trial, as well as industry-specific apps.
Formulate quality, production and control procedures
Lack of written procedures is one of the key reasons for failing to comply with market regulations. With Microsoft Teams you can coordinate all the required team members in order to formulate these procedures using Planner. Afterwards, you can share the document as a tab in General channel of corresponding teams to ensure easy access to these guidelines.
Assign tasks and manage your projects faster
You can divide responsibilities and assign tasks for your different teams with Planner. This way you help your staff better organize and prioritize their work. They can create their own tasks, set deadlines and assign specific team members to deliver. Additionally, you can monitor the progress of their implementation.
As pharmaceutical companies are partnering with their competitors to tackle industry’s challenges, securing sensitive data becomes especially topical. Collaborating without compromising privacy and security is key, and Data loss prevention (DLP) can help organizations ensure that.
The DLP policy allows to prevent sharing of sensitive information by deleting a questionable message and not allowing to open a document that may contain sensitive information by external users.
Stay in touch with the right people
Microsoft Teams is a perfect platform for private and team communication. You can share various files both in chats and in channels. Afterwards you can add them as tabs, collaborate and update in real time.
Additionally, you can chat during meetings. This is especially useful for sharing notes, links and any other information during a conference call.
You can create a specific channel in your team where you will post important information for the whole team. To makes sure they instantly receive notification of a new post, instruct your staff to turn on notifications for this channel.
In its settings, choose Channel notifications and select All activity. This way, all your team will receive a notification of any new posts created in that channel as if they were tagged. Moreover, they will get notifications for all replies to posts in this channel.
Connect, share and brainstorm
For pharmaceutical companies keeping in touch with colleagues, partners and patients becomes easier with Microsoft Teams.
You can add external members as guests in your channels or simply send them in invitation via email. You will then need to grant them permission to join the call and start the conversation.
Additionally, you can record your meetings and get the script of the conversation, which can be especially beneficial for patients’ follow-ups and clinical trials. Afterwards, you can share the recording and the script in your teams to keep everyone updated regarding the discussions.
If you need to give a presentation or share other important information during the video call, then you will find Share screen feature very useful as well. If you choose Application sharing, you will share only specific window instead of the entire screen.
Microsoft Teams Templates for pharmaceutical companies
Creating a new team manually each time a new project comes up can take a lot of time. It could be spent more productively by working more closely with patients, product development, research, etc. And this is where Templates come to the rescue. They allow you to pre-build teams, set the right structure, include channels and tabs that will later on be copied in new teams.
Let us demonstrate you how advanced templates by SalesTim can help you improve collaboration at scale in your organization.
Advanced Templates by SalesTim
We have identified three repeated business scenarios of a pharmaceutical company that can be translated into Microsoft Teams Templates. We will show you how with SalesTim you can get the best out of Microsoft Teams Templates in the following three examples.
Every clinical trial requires coordination between doctors, a case manager and a pharmaceutical supplier to better serve patients’ needs and ensure their safety.
In this business case, a pharma company can resort to Microsoft Teams and create a Trial platform template. It will allow to organize teams and increase their productivity.
In order to ensure continued treatment of trial patients you might want to include a Human trials channel in your template, where you can add as a tab an Excel spreadsheet with a list of clinics participating in the trial. This way your pharma reps will be able to easily contact the clinics and reach out to doctors.
To calculate the amount of medication needed for continued care, you can add a Clinic Analysis Power BI tab. Once you input the prescribed dosage of medication and the number of patients, it will give you the results you need.
You can also add Planner as a tab to specify steps on gathering information about clinics, drug trials and clinic analysis.
Once you set up all the necessary channels and tabs in your template, you can rest assured that new teams will automatically clone all the information added to the template with pre-configured apps and tasks.
Your end-users will be able to create a new team from the template just in a few clicks.
Large pharmaceutical companies produce hundreds of medications and constantly develop new ones. After conducting clinical trials comes the product launch stage which requires gathering all the trials data. In order to bring a new drug to market, the pharmaceutical company needs to coordinate activities between the government and its legal, financial and marketing departments.
This is a repetitive process with similar steps required each time. To make teams creation less time-consuming, let’s create a Product Template and include all the channels necessary for coordinating the work of different divisions.
The channels may include Executive Management, Launch, Packaging and Labeling and Trials.
You can include a pre-built Excel spreadsheet as a tab to let your staff easily navigate through the data and add the necessary information in a structured way. Try adding Power BI tab in the same channel to allow your teams build visuals to display trial results data.
Add Planner in the Launch channel and include all the steps your teams will need to follow to successfully launch the new drug. You can separate the tasks according to the departments that will be responsible for different elements of the product launch.
In the Packaging and Labelling channel, add a PowerPoint draft presentation of company’s packaging and labelling as a tab. This will facilitate the work of the team and give them a structure to work with. Additionally, you can add documents with deliverables of past projects to help your teams get ideas for inspiration.
Expanding product area is an integral part of big pharmaceutical companies. The process requires aligning sales activities with the territory where the organization is planning to sell. It includes thorough analysis of the market and coordination of business objectives. Microsoft Teams can help facilitate this process, and Templates will make your collaboration faster and more efficient.
Instead of creating a new team from scratch each time you assign your sales reps to a new territory, you can create a Sales Reps template. Add all the required channels, documentation and tabs with files and apps that will make your project kick off way faster.
Create a Sales Representatives Template and build relevant channels.
For example, Global Sales Representatives for communication among sales reps; Sales Data for the research and analytics; Marketing materials for preparing a marketing campaign and Region for sharing final quotas and territory assignments. The possibilities for new channels are countless and will depend on your company’s business needs and activities.
When a new team is created from the template, users will be able to modify the channel’s name and specify the details.
In the Sales Data channel, you can create a Research and Analysis Assignments tab with Planner and add all the necessary tasks with specific step for creating a quota and assignments. Add relevant documentation in the Files tab that will be useful for your teams.
You can also add a tab with Power BI to help align all the data and make visual representation of a team’s work.
These scenarios are constantly repeated in the pharmaceutical industry. By using Microsoft Teams templates you can increase your teams productivity, better organize teamwork and enhance communication with both internal and external stakeholders.
To sum it up, here’s a list with the most important capabilities of advanced Microsoft Teams templates by SalesTim:
Tabs with files and folders at the template level
Upload all the necessary documents and folders at the template level. This way you’ll ensure everyone has an easy access to them and the ability to revise and update documents in real time.
Create written procedures and instructions and add it as a tab in corresponding channels to ensure compliance.
Tabs with apps, including Ready-to-Go Planner
Pre-configure all the necessary first- and third-party apps at the template level. This will save your team members the time required to log in and navigate through the content.
Organize your team by creating repetitive tasks in the Planner. It will be automatically cloned whenever a new team is created from the template.
Microsoft Teams Governance
You can structure your teams’ work and organize your digital workplace through such capabilities as Naming convention, Approval Workflow, and Audience Targeting.
You can also protect your corporate confidential information data and patients’ records by managing private channels. This will allow you to restrict the access to its files only to limited number of people in your team.
This feature can be useful if you need to communicate with external stakeholders. This way you will avoid information leaks when granting them permission to enter your teams.
Native Templates capabilities
Templates by Microsoft Teams allow you to set the structure of future teams by pre-building channels with tabs and apps. This will save your users valuable time and allow to surface the right applications necessary for specific teams.
However, these apps will not be pre-configured. Users will have to log in and navigate through them in order to find the right information.
Native capabilities of Microsoft Teams templates are limited. In order to empower the use of Microsoft Teams in your organization, you might need to find more advanced solutions.
Depending on the Templates solution that you choose, you will get different Templates capabilities. You can learn more about Microsoft Teams Templates here.