Philip Martin, founder and CEO of Cora Systems in Ireland, explains why his company is ideally positioned to help the pharmaceutical industry increase efficiency and save costs through their agile, flexible and intuitive project management software solutions.
“Along with tech improvements, incredible new complexity in how the industry operates has come at the same speed.”
The pharmaceutical sector is undergoing profound change, especially when it comes to companies and how they manage their project portfolios. The management of projects has changed significantly in the past two decades. People used to write beautiful to-do lists and stick them on the office wall. The minute they were up they became outdated, of course. Now there is a better way of doing things, but along with tech improvements, incredible new complexity in how the industry operates has come at the same speed.
Every morning, senior program managers have to battle with issues like the patent cliff, regulatory compliance and deviation or overspend challenges. In the past, companies used to accept losses of a couple of million dollars but with cost pressures mounting, cost-effectiveness and controlled product development are now critical issues. As we have seen in Ireland very clearly – where my company is headquartered and nine of the world’s top 10 largest pharma corporations are based – having shared services offices, for instance, brings about economies of costs.
The senior management teams in large pharmaceutical corporations – like their peers in other industries – are paid to make decisions. If the right information is in front of them, they’ll make very good decisions. If they have a lack of information or wrong information in front of them, they’ll either make lucky decisions or incorrect ones. With the right information, their profitability could increase by 40 to 50 percent
Effective project management software solutions eliminate that room for error and chance. It’s a nettle that has to be grasped. It’s vital that decision-makers have the right information about projects at their fingers tips. What projects are in danger? What projects should be guillotined? Where do you need to allocate resources?
If you have a single source of truth for project, portfolio and program information, there won’t be any discrepancy amongst the project team as to what their actual project figures are, of what the project actual delivery date is. Senior management will know exactly what’s going on. Financial people can make projections around cashflow, around project expenditures because they have this single figure that they know is correct – and that has been consolidated from other systems – to base their assumptions on. Now you can make better business decisions based on that information.
In a changing environment, it’s imperative to be nimble. When it comes to installing a software system for managing projects, it’s necessary to incorporate a huge amount of configurability in your system to adapt to your business processes. A software product’s success is only 40 to 50 percent dependent on the characteristics of the technology itself; the other piece of the puzzle is the people using it.
Each pharma business is unique. A lot of staff will have very refined and streamlined processes that work well for them. There is no point in a software vendor or management consultancy dictating to a pharma organization about how they should organize their business. They shouldn’t be asked to change the way they work to suit a technology system. That would be poorly received and ineffective, and rightly so. The key is to make your software system fit around your existing processes.
Increasingly, for instance, pharma companies need help with portfolio planning. A software solution is typically used to manage ongoing projects, but the real problem, particularly for a pharma company, is to ensure that they have the right projects in the pipeline to begin with. Are there projects that have been brought in without due diligence because it is someone’s pet project? Should we go ahead with them and risk not funding another project with far higher potential for success?
Cora Systems – which has rolled out dozens of projects globally to clients like Allergan, Amneal, Astellas, Elanco, Indivior, Ipsen, Servier as well as powering the biggest change transformation project in the history of the Irish state – provides its clients with a developed selection criteria to evaluate this decision using concepts like the efficiency frontier so companies can trust it to take responsibility of both the pre-planning, and the actual control and management of a project.
What we provide is vital to the supply infrastructure of these biopharma companies. All their projects can be managed, viewed and planned on our system. We not only provide coverage of normal, day-to-day tasks and projects but also collate all that information to a portfolio level for the companies to do both micro- and macro-analysis.
Written by Philip Martin, founder and CEO of Cora Systems