ShiftCentral / Pharma CI Conference 2015: The importance of embedding CI in a company’s culture

Pharma CI Conference 2015: The importance of embedding CI in a company’s culture

Competitive intelligence is a well-established addition to just about every pharma company’s strategic toolkit but, perhaps due to the clandestine associations of its name, it manages to operate mostly under the radar. At the 2015 Pharma CI Conference in Parsippany, N.J. on Sept. 10-11, practitioners, initiates and service providers for the CI functions backing many of the drug industry’s most powerful players - including Merck, Pfizer and Novartis - were front and center to share best practices, discuss industry innovations and challenges, and meet their peers.

Notable presentations and events included:

  • Michael Rowe, Allergan’s Executive Director of Corporate Strategic Intelligence, described how corporate intelligence involves analyzing and disseminating information, providing deep dives and anticipating the information needs of the leadership team;
  • Merck Executive Director and head of strategic business intelligence, Dr. Alfred A. Reszka, chaired a keynote panel of CI experts at companies outside the pharma industry. Participants highlighted the importance of scenario planning, having solid CI infrastructure and aligning different sources when providing insight; and
  • Pfizer’s Director of SPS Competitive Intelligence, Jessica Swartz, hosted a roundtable discussion on the role of CI in a world of information overload, in which participants shared best practices on how to filter out the noise from vast amount of information available via the Internet and other sources.

Experts from Teva, Upsher-Smith, Sanofi, Otsuka, EMD Serono, Shionogi, Ferring and many other major pharma players were also in attendance.

Top takeaways from the event:

  • Embedding CI in company culture: Many presentations at the event highlighted the importance, and difficulty, of not only establishing a CI capability within drug firms, but integrating it across these companies’ many and varied moving parts.
  • Insight is the top priority: The peripheral functions of CI, including primary research and information gathering, are so involved and time-consuming it can distract from the main point of any CI work – insight. Making these secondary efforts more efficient or farming them out to vendors gives CI teams more time to provide answers to the “So What?” questions that, if disseminated to the right people, help bulletproof companies against risk.
  • Innovation is integral to successful CI: Competitive intelligence is a well-established and vital business technique, but it can’t rest on its laurels. CI professionals need to remain flexible and adaptable to developments within their industry by continuously seeking new tools and techniques to refine their craft.