Oskar Möbert, vice president of Veeva OpenData, discusses how standardizing customer reference data and systems organization-wide can help biopharmas scale globally and become more agile in their business.


Data quality can make or break an interaction with a healthcare professional (HCP). Reps with access to accurate customer data deliver treatment insights quickly and capture interactions thoroughly. Harmonizing global customer data also puts commercial goals within reach: scaling product launches and leveraging AI for analytics.

Industry-wide, we’ve made progress in solving part of the data fragmentation problem by reducing tech stacks. Thanks to decades-long technology consolidation efforts, commercial teams now spend less time using multiple software systems to serve customers. However, harmonizing customer reference data across the enterprise is an elusive goal for many. Data still sits in silos across systems, departments, and local markets.

While nine in ten commercial data leaders see customer reference data as a global strategic asset, 57% say their organization needs an efficient data governance model or the right data foundation to support goals. These challenges remain despite the availability of technology to leverage accurate customer data months or years before a launch, for example, or to segment and target customers across channels and geographies precisely.

It’s easy to imagine how poor, fragmented data impacts customer satisfaction and field productivity. But, you can also quantify the value of standardizing it, based on Veeva’s experience with customers: Assuming a EUR 20 million investment in a global data-unification initiative, reducing data preparation by even 50% could lead to EUR 8 million savings.

Unifying data requires a strategic approach that centers people, processes, and technologies around providing the highest value to customers. That requires a commitment to acquiring high-quality data and harmonizing it globally.


First, acquire better data

As we harness more data from different sources, we need to connect the dots and ensure that it’s serving us instead of preventing us from reaching the right HCPs and their patients. You can have the very best software on the market, but if you populate it with poor-quality data, you’re limiting the benefits of the investment.

Using better data in a connected organizational structure allows scalability and agility. For example, reps gain speed when requesting and receiving data change requests in hours, not days.


Unite and harmonize data sets

Inconsistent data across countries and data silos between teams lead to a disjointed customer experience. Each part of the organization records customer interactions differently in different places. But, when sales, marketing, and medical teams can work together seamlessly, you present as “one company” to customers. More importantly, customers have a common identifier in the global system. Unified customer reference data ensures a consistent, shared definition for data elements across solutions. These elements may refer to entities — people, organizations, brands, and products — or values, such as HCP types, specialties, and disease and therapeutic areas. Agility means instantly accessing data showing one HCP in multiple roles — as an investigator working in the clinical area, a KOL talking with medical affairs, and a prescriber interacting with the commercial team, for example.

Think of harmonization as a vehicle to deliver data better. It does so by connecting all of the information necessary to create a superior customer experience. For example, a rep conducting research can look at one source to find stakeholders across the complete healthcare landscape, allowing teams to accelerate early market access work in countries before launch. In addition, a robust data foundation will support implementations like AI that require good data to work well.


Global data enables targeting and segmentation enterprise-wide

There are other considerations for harmonizing data. One is establishing a structure to easily apply consistent customer reference data across global markets to scale analytics. A study found that data preparation and other repetitive tasks account for 80% of companies’ time in analytics projects. Imagine you seek to create a global report reflecting all field team visits with oncologists last year. However, in your system, every country’s definition of oncologists differs. The task would require you to repeatedly rebuild your report because each country’s underlying data structure differs.

Global segmentation and targeting efforts also benefit from high-quality, unified data. Using different data models across countries or regions causes friction in business applications. For example, parsing data organization-wide would require pulling reports from the systems used in each country you’re targeting and then standardizing the data terms. A global data model aligns necessary fields and pick-list values using one global identifier. You save time, money, and resources, allowing the business to operate more nimbly. That agility, for example, provides for the use of analytics across markets.

Essential initiatives lie before you — from advanced analytics to enabling your field teams. Globally harmonized, enterprise HCP data ensures simplicity in your IT landscape and helps achieve goals while advancing the mission to deliver treatments to patients faster.


Learn why and how Bayer committed to unifying its global customer reference data.