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Social Media and Life Sciences

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While there has been a lot of discussion about the FDA’s view of Social Media I wrote last month about Gearing up IT for Future Growth. IT must become more relevant in supporting the business and this new way of ‘collaboration.’ In last month’s blog post I spoke of how IT can be a catalyst for the business. There is a conflict in all this since IT budgets are constrained between maintaining the current IT landscape and investing in these new areas.

To get a better view on this dilemma I suggest you read this blog post on The Next Wave of Technology Led Business Gains written by a colleague of mine. His blog post is entitled Sadagopan’s Weblog, January 8th, 2012. In this article he describes the issues that benefit the business and yet prove challenging for IT.

Being a ‘social enterprise’ to me is all about the connections between your end customers and the products you sell. Within Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices investments have been made in the areas of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to help business process improvements and adoption for example: sales reps taking orders and processing quotes. Technology is providing opportunities to improve the ways in which companies can rapidly gain insight into the use of a medication or device.

Integration is the key in all this since the business is using social media tools to quickly gather up this data and transforming this into relevant information. Today I am working with several companies that are looking to improve their business processes via upgrades and ‘smarter’ deployment of this technology. The challenge is to ‘connect’ the output of social media for improved clinical trials or insight into existing device performance (via call center data and complaint tracking).

We are not quite there yet in ‘integrating’ social media with back office systems. Tools are being introduced to ease the ‘listening’ and ‘gathering’ of this data. I believe that Life Sciences companies would benefit from a better ‘collaboration’ with their patients and consumers of their products. As I see this progressing in the market I will offer an update to this blog post.

Thanks,

Jim

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The Need for Storytelling

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What does ‘storytelling’ have to do with leveraging technology for improving Life Sciences processes? In today’s rapidly changing world of technology you owe it to yourself to learn about and practice the ‘art of storytelling.’ In this blog post I want to give you a summary of why it is a vital skill to learn and practice, some basic do’s and don’ts, and a great reference on this topic.

Why it’s vital to hone your ‘storytelling’ skill

Selling technology is more difficult these days because of the way your audience process information. You’ve got more competitors looking to compete for the same business. Companies continue to ‘innovate’ and how do you offer these new ideas to the market?

Throughout your career you’ve learned to become an ‘expert’ in a given technology. Ask yourself what distinguishes you from your competitor who happens to be in the same field? I’m in IT services where success does not always mean that you have the lowest rates/cost. I constantly receive feedback that while the competition has the best price they fail to deliver on improvements to the business. Can you tell a story around why your company can do a better job delivering the same IT service?

Basic do’s and don’ts

When we prepare for bid defense or engage with a net new client I’ve often discussed how many slides we should use in a typical presentation? Many of you have ‘off-shore’ resources that can do a wonderful job in applying graphic skills to improve the look of a presentation. So here are some basic things to look out for that will hopefully improve your delivery of your ‘story.’

Do’s

  • Go through a process of gathering ideas and developing a timeline for your pitch.
  • Know your audience – who are you selling to….
  • Manage the time to deliver your message.
  • Practice your timing. Your slides should be a reminder to the audience of your topic.
  • Finish early and look to engage in a Q&A.

Don’ts

  • Do not use your presentation as a document. I’ve seen off-shore resources offer lots of text on each slide (simply move this to your notes section).
  • Avoid the use of small fonts on your slides.
  • Resist the temptation to develop your story in PowerPoint. Use a drawing tool (Visio) or Word to outline your ideas. If you collaborate with your team make full use of posit notes to organize your presentation.
  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations, and do not take for granted that your audience is ‘technically’ at your level.
  • Read the text from your slide. I know this is basic presentation training. Yet I’ve seen too many presentations where this continues to happen.

Recommended reading

A few weeks ago I posted on my LinkedIn Reading list a book entitled: resonate by Nancy Duarte. The author dissects ‘storytelling’ from content through delivery. What Distinguishes this book are the examples she uses to illustrate key points. I find myself referring to this book to prepare for various presentations.
I highly recommend this book.

Thanks,

Jim

Fresh start in 2011

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By now everyone has gotten past their New Year’s resolutions and is picking up where they left off last year. So thinking about my

Fast start...

 first blog post for 2011 I would like to cover the following areas:

  • A look back at 2010
  • Maintaining momentum in 2011
  • The focus for the year

Reviewing 2010

The nice thing about blogging is that you can go back and see how you’ve progressed throughout the year. In last year’s blog post: Upgrading for 2010 I had worked on a business plan to startup a new Life Sciences practice for an IT services company. I covered the five focus areas last year by writing about the following topics:

  • Social Media – from the use of these tools to deriving ‘value’
  • Cloud Computing – producing a white paper for my employer
  • Drug Development
  • A three-part series on Aligning Life Sciences and IT – covering how to leverage information technology; Mobility and Innovation and the Business Process
  • Innovation and Outsourcing
  • A book review on ‘selling’
  • Patent Expiry

Unfortunately the business plan was not approved, and I moved to another opportunity to do business development for an IT services company. This challenging role now has me advising clients on the best use of IT within Life Sciences and Healthcare. This opportunity came by way of my network, and for that I can thank Robert.

Maintaining Momentum in 2011

I continue to focus on the use of social media tools. So I am thankful for my LinkedIn network and my followers on Twitter. I have come across lots of folks with the same interests and challenges for the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry. There are tons of creative people with new ideas for solving today’s business problems. In 2011 I want to carry the momentum started in 2010.

Karl Rove and Jim, 14Dec2010

 

I am also very grateful for my co-workers, coaches and mentors who have helped me transition into my new business development role. Towards the end of 2010 I started to see success in driving new opportunities for my company by aligning IT to improve businesses. Along the way I’ve met many interesting people. I had the chance to attend an industry meeting for Medical Devices and speak to Karl Rove the former aide to President Bush. Politics and Healthcare are very intertwined and for 2011 there continues to be changes.

 

The Focus for this year

I plan to enter 2011 by expanding on last year’s topics. How do I combine my interests with the tasks of being a business development executive? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. Leveraging Twitter to cover the following areas:
    #pharma – how is clinical development, social media, and regulations impacting this segment of Life Sciences?
    #mHealth and #mobility – the use of mobile devices will impact healthcare throughout the world.
    #hcsm – how to best leverage healthcare social media?
    #healthit and #it – what is the impact of IT on the organization?
    #personalizedmedicine and #genomics – will genomics have an impact on healthcare in our lifetime? (I’m currently waiting on results of my own genomics that has to do with ancestry.)
  2. Business process improvements in the areas of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM); Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).
  3. Clinical Development and Analytics
  4. Cloud computing
  5. Mobility
  6. Mergers & Acquisitions
  7. Globalization

In case I forget to add Marketing and the use of Social Media to further drive IT services opportunities. I will be more involved in our website and the use of the social media tools.

I continue to have a personal interest in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry. Last year I saw the impact of ‘personal health records’ for my brother who is a kidney transplant survivor. I’ve have friends succumb to diabetes, and parents who are aging. How will technology help to improve the lives of these people? Will this be something I will see in my lifetime?

 

January Snowstorm for Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA

So like the snow storms on the East coast of the US. As of January 2011 there are more storms this year than last year. We are starting 2011 with a lot of momentum.

Thanks,

Jim

Deriving “value” in today’s world of Social Media

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The focus on this article is to help you find “value” through the use of social media tools. The idea came to me when I read the Community Pharm post entitled Hindsight Is 20-20 But Foresight Is Critical. In this article, the main idea was on the Pharmaceutical brand manager’s focus on budgeting. I want to discuss ways in which this budget can be applied to activities that ultimately add ‘value,’ and how you can find ways to apply social media tools to drive revenue your products.

In setting the context for this discussion: I have the task of starting up a new business unit. So along with the usual business plan and strategic sessions that go into creating a new practice we need to find ways to promote our product and services. Most of us will also go through a process of creating a marketing plan. What I want our Marketing group to carry out is to:

  • drive revenue and specifically top-line revenue
  • create a positive image for our products and ultimately our company
  • help us understand the market and our customers

We’ve elected to merge the use of social media tools into our plan, and began a search for how to do use these tools. One article that I found helpful was 12 Reasons to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business by Pam Dyer.

She provides both growth information as well as twelve compelling reasons to use social media to grow your business. I would also recommend bookmarking these sites:

So now you know the how to use social media. Now let’s get back to the brand manager and his budget. The obvious question is what business models to invest in when your focus is on Healthcare? A good friend of mine Andy De (http://www.andyde.com/) has an article entitled: Will Social Media find “Meaningful Usage” in a Healthcare Context.

He proposes a ‘strategy framework’ around six business model scenarios for social media and healthcare. Of the six models our company has embarked on the business model scenario E. You see we offer IT services and solutions for Life Sciences and Healthcare. We have a keen focus on the “mHealth” market (also called “telehealth”). What is your focus/business model?

Our next steps are to start with tools such as Twitter, and Blogging, along with LinkedIn to create awareness around a set of products and services within Life Sciences and Healthcare. Your plan will be different. Our goals are set-up to allow our company to get accustomed to the use of social media tools. So far taking small steps has helped us evolve our company as we break into new markets. We have allocated budget for this activity and the value will increase over time. Do you have a story to tell about the use of social media for you company? Community Pharm (http://cp.pharmalive.com/) is a site for sharing such ideas. Let us know if this article was of value and if you want us to present relevant topics.

Thanks,
Jim