Survey: Pharma CIOs, CMOs should collaborate more for digital

By Aditi Pai
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Doctor ReportMore collaboration between chief information officers (CIO) and chief marketing officers (CMO) at pharmaceutical companies could lead to more optimized use of digital technology, according to a survey from Accenture.

Accenture interviewed 22 CIOs and 24 CMOs from pharmaceutical companies in eight countries that were bringing in at least $5 billion in annual revenues.

While 91 percent of CIOs at pharma companies said their companies need more alignment between marketing and IT departments, just 58 percent of pharmaceutical CMOs agreed with this statement. This is a discrepancy of 33 percent between departments. The average discrepancy between marketing and IT in other industries was just 14 percent, according to Accenture. 

“The reasons for the difference include traditional structures, cultures and sales representative-led commercial models,"Anne O’Riordan, senior managing director of Accenture’s Life Sciences industry group said in a statement. "The industry faces a period of rapid change marked by digital advances, new expectations from health care professionals and patients, and a dominant outcomes-based reimbursement environment. This requires CMO-CIO collaboration to increase as patients and healthcare providers move more aggressively into the digital world.”

The survey also found that there was a "lack of a common vision for technology and understanding" between CIOs and CMOs. Some 67 percent of the CMOs said they did not view IT as a strategic partner compared to 50 percent of CMOs surveyed in all industries.

“We suggest key steps to closing the gap between pharmaceutical CIOs and CMOs, including establishing a vision and set of common objectives for marketing IT that leverage the power of digital and unifying around the customer and patient experience,” O’Riordan said. “They should also integrate customer/patient-focused skills throughout the company, and focus the IT agenda to empower marketing to exploit digital technologies.”