How To Achieve Orchestrated Customer Engagement

Many life sciences companies are just beginning to formulate or implement multichannel or omnichannel marketing strategies, automating processes that will let them communicate more effectively with healthcare professionals across a number of different channels. Even so, many companies are already thinking about the next big step in the evolution of pharmaceutical sales and marketing: Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE).

With OCE, sales, marketing and information technology are closely aligned. The three teams work together to provide customers with relevant and timely information, resources and experiences. The OCE approach to customer engagement is designed to improve the relationship between life sciences companies and their customers, and to increase efficiency across all communication channels and stakeholders while boosting ROI.

OCE enables sales and marketing to collaborate effectively—combining the automation of multichannel marketing with the human touch of traditional sales and the power of next-generation technology—to achieve improved customer engagement. It enhances the capabilities of sales, marketing and IT to increase return from every customer engagement, improving brand loyalty and outcomes, and positioning organizations to more efficiently meet commercial goals.

Organizations that want to implement OCE will need to make significant changes in critical areas: People, processes and technology.

Technology Changes

For OCE, information technology must:

  • Unchain information across vertical silos. Most organizational structures are vertical by design. As a result, system ownership and governance are also vertical. Freeing information from vertical silos requires horizontal ownership and governance structures.
  • Achieve near real-time integration. Less than 10% of data collected or used in commercial operations by most life sciences companies are stored or delivered in near real time, largely due to the limitations of last-generation technology.
  • Provide predictive insight. To improve the efficacy of predictive analytics, organizations can do two things. First, collect behavioral data from all stakeholders across all relevant channels, store it in a single location, and make it accessible and considered when making business-driven predictions. Second, predictions must be “tested” for efficacy over time so that sales, marketing and IT systems can act on them with confidence.

Process Changes

OCE requires process changes around sales, marketing, IT and customers. Sales may need incentives to collect insights or find answers to unknown customer attributes that can help marketing and technology evolve both strategies and systems. Sales will also need to learn to measure more than reach and frequency.

Customers will be more empowered, and will have to be educated on their new ability to select experiences. Finally, organizations will need to consider changing the processes that drive information ownership, consumption and maintenance.

People Changes

The evolution to OCE will rely on individuals being more disciplined, self-confident and self-directed. The aligned mix of activities and resources in OCE will empower and energize these individuals. Sales will become more entrepreneurial, entrusted with the ability to control their own outcomes. Marketing will need to measure a new set of key performance indicators. And those managing information assets and technology systems will need to value leaders with horizontal thinking over those who excel at vertical ownership.

An organization’s path to OCE begins with an intimate understanding of its markets, followed by the commitment to align sales, marketing and IT by transforming its people, processes and technology.

To learn more about OCE, download the white paper, “Orchestrated Customer Engagement” at

  • Richie Etwaru

    Richie Etwaru is Chief Digital Officer at IMS Health. Richie uses analytics and technology to help customers bridge the innovation and efficiency gap. An entrepreneur who has started several companies, Etwaru is a frequent speaker at leading technology events.


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