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Preparing a Large Complex Organization for Growth

Client: A large pharmaceutical and biotech company

What we found: While the commercial organization had grown rapidly, it had done so organically and without an overall strategy or architecture. Every brand team and function had its own homegrown system and process. Niche systems were everywhere and there were multiple versions of the same data and little integration of information between brands. With several new drugs expected to launch in the coming months, more growth was right around the corner. The client wanted to implement a three-year, multi-million dollar initiative to deploy a variety of new processes and systems, including SFA, case management, marketing resource management, employee portal, and more in order to align standard data and processes across the organization.

What we did: Harmony Management Consulting worked closely with the client team that led the rollout of the initiative to commercial businesses. We provided change management, training, post deployment support, and project management oversight. In doing so, we leveraged our five-step Organizational Change Management process to develop robust deployment and change management plans. We also designed and conducted training for all teams and assessed and managed stakeholders.

The Result: The project was implemented on time and on budget – with a high rate of user adoption. The organization was able to accommodate the growth it had anticipated, while keeping expenses within budget.

Analysis: Effective scalability requires an organization to answer three basic questions about its data:

  1. What needs to be kept distinct and customized for each function and brand team?

  2. What must we standardize and centralize?

  3. What can we outsource?

However, getting these right and building consensuses around them is probably the single most difficult and important operational task that executives must face.

While data strategy is usually the most effective starting point, it is often ignored until the end. This is unwise, since it will help determine Reference Data, or what data is required to manage centrally (sales data, customer data, product data, and more). Data strategy will lay down the governance process for acquisition and upkeep of this data, and will be the basis for collaboration, automation, and analytics across the enterprise. Understanding which activities should be standardized though the use of enterprise systems becomes much easier from this point.

Getting the operations right, however, does not automatically guarantee scalability or efficiency. Changing organizational behavior is equally necessary and this can be a difficult pill for people to swallow. Standardization will call for solutions that optimize the whole but that may be sub-optimal for individual functions, and will require adherence to processes where none may have existed in the past. Standardization is not what brought the organization its early success and, in fact, it almost suggests a lack of entrepreneurial spirit. However, it is vital for scalability.

Furthermore, collaboration requires the sharing of information and processes, which are not exactly the hallmark of the silo-ed organization. Therefore, leadership must engage in a systematic program of change management that targets the implementation of new and different behaviors that the future will require so that the multi-million dollar investments in new systems begat the promised results.

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