Digital Disrupts: Initiate Business Process Planning

Digital Health continues to mature and clear signs indicate the market is embracing new digital health applications. Per Rock Health, $2.1B in digital health funding in the first half of 2015 is just a tick below the pace of 2014.

Wearables, Corporate Wellness and Big Data/Analytics are sectors that continue to lead the way overall for Digital Health. Signs of the market maturing are evident as well-known venture capitalists wade into the Digital Health market with large investment rounds.

What does this growth and investment say about where Digital Health is going in the future? Many will say that Digital Health is beginning to reach its zenith, but I have long contended that Digital Health is an ultra-marathon—and we’re only at mile six.

Besides the venture money that is fueling change in the Digital Health ecosystem, I see a shift towards internal moves to drive improvement. Often referred to as “Agile,” “Lean Methodology,” or “Six Sigma,” the focus on refining legacy pharma and diagnostics business processes and product development methodologies are, and should be, a major focus to begin to squeeze waste out of a system that has operated largely unchanged for decades.

To address the challenges and opportunities occurring in the healthcare industry, leadership must be prepared and able to operationalize the requirements for change to avoid being disrupted. This is why many companies slowly and often unknowingly lose momentum. They fail to change fast enough, thus allowing the marketplace and competitors to pass them by. The result: Valuable time is misspent, resources applied and money invested without the required outcomes to stay competitive, keep customers satisfied and employees engaged.

To combat this, I recommend initiating Business Process Planning. The process itself can be applied at a divisional, departmental or team level to ensure that work processes are efficient and aligned to deliver customer value with fewer resources. This can apply to product development, go-to market product launch planning or refining the interfaces between product and brand teams, for example.

A few things to consider if you begin to take on change management and business process improvement initiatives:

  • Establish End-to-End Process Maps: This is a fundamental exercise that allows you to understand your processes and analyze where efficiencies can be found.
  • Develop a Value Stream Map: This is a lean enterprise technique used to document, analyze and improve the flow of information or materials. This is a tough, but necessary, exercise because it looks at every step in a process as if it is non-value creating, which forces you to identify waste.

Process improvement projects should be taken on proactively in order to ensure a strong and stable team, department or business. It is easily within the grasp of marketing leaders to define their processes, identify waste and redesign processes to ensure your business is focused on creating customer value. If you don’t, a start-up company flush with venture money is waiting to take your customers.

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