Q&A with Anna Beth Lindenmeyer
Change is constant in the pharmaceutical industry. Everything from how we care for patients to who we partner with to deliver that care is evolving. That’s leaving many manufacturers in a position of seeking better, faster, stronger support from service partners, even if that means moving their program to a new vendor. The days of selecting a service provider and putting the program on auto-pilot may be, at least temporarily, behind us.
At Archbow, we’re engaging in an increasing number of service provider migrations – meaning that we’re helping pharma clients move from one vendor to another – across many patient service program types (HUB, PAP, Copay, etc.) We sat down with Archbow team member, Anna Beth Lindenmeyer, to learn more about service provider migrations and why this trend is more pronounced than ever.
Archbow Consulting: Service provider migrations tend to have a lot of moving parts, sometimes making it hard to keep all stakeholders aligned, informed, and engaged. In your experience, which communications practices have the most impact on the success of a service provider migration?
Anna Beth Lindenmeyer: Engaging all relevant stakeholders with appropriate insight at the right time is key to the success of a migration – ultimately, those experiencing the change will determine its success. That’s why it is crucial to identify the appropriate degree of educating these audiences on why the change is taking place and making sure they understand “what’s in it for them.” A transition is most likely to benefit key stakeholders with some form of increased service, quality, functionality, etc. Sharing the why typically secures support for present and future engagements. The more informed stakeholders are, the better they can engage and share.
AC: Because we manage so many migrations, we’re often able to identify patterns, anticipate problem areas, and offer preemptive solutions. Can you name a common mistake migration teams make and recommend how things could be done differently?
ABL: Regardless of project type, time is always of the essence. While some decisions and changes can be made under time restrictions, a service provider migration should not fall within this category. Project management and planning are essential for a successful migration, and all engaged stakeholders should have visibility and accountability for the project’s milestones. These milestones should be thoughtfully interdependent. Experience tells us that the most successful migrations have built-in flexibility between milestone completions to account for inevitable delays. A flexible timeline is not unrealistic if the scope of the migration has been designed with realistic goals and expectations.
AC: Why do you think so many companies are migrating service providers now?
ABL: Reasons for change often vary by service type, but we certainly see some common trends across the industry: perceived value and price. If a customer is motivated to decrease spending, they are likely not receiving the quality of service they are expecting. Where pricing is a contracting component, the value of a service provider and their product(s) is built over time and certainly influenced by the relationship between the client and customer. When perceived value is high, price becomes less important.
However, with competition high and continuously increasing, it makes sense that service provider pricing strategies are a critical factor in winning new business and securing existing business.
AC: What advice do you have for manufacturers who are thinking of migrating service providers?
ABL: For starters, if there’s any chance you should stay with your current service provider and improve performance, operational optimization should be pursued. However, if it’s definitely time to make a move, ensure you’ve done these two things at a minimum: 1) level-set expectations and timelines with internal stakeholders; and 2) hire a consultant or team member who has deep experience with migrations to manage the project for you.
The team at Archbow has worked with and for industry leaders for decades. We’ve provided strategic direction, project planning, and front-line support for countless migrations. We’ve been a part of innovative solutions and experienced the impact of bumpy transitions. This experience has taught us what to anticipate, how to formulate realistic expectations, and where to find the right fit for teams needing a change. Contact us today to put that experience to work for you.
Before joining Archbow Consulting, Anna Beth supported both new drug launches and established blockbusters in roles working in HUB operations, account management, strategy, and analytics. Her work across multiple therapeutic areas has spanned everything from specialty to retail to buy-and-bill. Today she enjoys helping Archbow clients explore new ways to engage with patients at different points along their journey. Read more about Anna Beth here.