The Organization: In 1978, when biotechnology—a branch of science where biology meets engineering—resided in the realms of science fiction for most ordinary mortals, Biocon had already started its journey with biotech in a rented garage in Bangalore.
With a seed funding of Rs 10,000, the company is now worth a whopping Rs 3,000 crore, and has become a force to reckon with in the pharmaceutical industry. Biocon remains faithful to innovation and addresses the global challenges of affordability and access to healthcare.
The Business Case: Biocon’s business model demanded dynamic integration of field-level activities of medical representatives (MRs). Toward the end of 2012, the company was on the lookout for a solution that could provide it with the capability to integrate multiple functionalities and streamline business needs. “The customized tool then was being effectively used by 400 MRs. At a 1,000 MRs, the system slowed down, and with another 500 MRs it stalled,” says Radhakrishnan G., VP-systems, Biocon.
The problem was further compounded by the absence of flexibility in handling multiple functional requirements. “There was no pre-defined tour program configured on it. For instance, during travel, medical representatives had to calculate expenses and allowances manually. Also, the system wasn’t mobile compatible and worked only on PCs and laptops,” says Radhakrishnan.
The old system also didn’t contain details of doctors. “The information and accessibility to doctors in real time is crucial for effective functioning of MRs. Its absence resulted in unproductive visits to the doctors office,” says Radhakrishnan.
The tool stood as a stumbling block as it lacked offline flexibility. The capturing of daily field reporting was fractured and unevenly distributed. The system was rigid and couldn’t meet the evolving business requirements.
“We were looking at a mobile-based system that could upgrade and optimize existing functionality, and help us customize the system to suit our business requirements,” says Radhakrishnan.
The Solution: To overcome these challenges, Radhakrishnan had to find a solution that would make the lives of MRs at Biocon easier. Therefore, he zeroed in on a vendor to deploy a mobility-based CRM system on the cloud.
As a result, SMART (sales management and reporting tool) came into being—a SaaS-based app that provided a seamless, and integrated solution. The new application helps the company integrate details like leave requests, notifications, visits to doctors, and calculation of expenses. It captures other vital information that empowers the MR to be more effective.
The app can function on all devices with java compatibility on multiple OSes. “The tool is user-friendly and flexible. It gave us the much-needed value and scalability,” says Radhakrishnan.
Also, the new application ensures collation and updation of interactions in the server for reference. It also helps MRs to connect better with doctors.
“It is very important for MRs to establish a personal bond with doctors. With this app, one can get information on past interactions with a particular doctor,” says Radhakrishnan. The SMART app does not need a smartphone. “Even a Rs 1,500 phone can serve the purpose,” says Radhakrishnan.
The push and pull data, based on the SMART interface works perfectly both online and offline, and even on low bandwidth.
The Benefits: The duration of the project from ideation to go-live was three to four months. It went live on May 2013. Biocon has benefited from the improved communication with business units, and achieved faster decision-making capability and higher productivity.
Customer satisfaction and the compliance level of reporting has dramatically improved. Also, SMART got integrated with the existing ERP within three to four months of its deployment, and has been able to scale up to a strength of about 1,500 MRs.
And with the app, Biocon has added another feather to its cap.
Madhav Mohan is trainee journalist. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
The tool is user-friendly and flexible. It gave us the much-needed value and scalability.