March 16, 2015
Better Pharma CMO and CIO Collaboration Will Advance the Digital Revolution, Accenture Survey Indicates
NEW YORK; March 16, 2015 – Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) in the pharmaceutical industry may be missing the opportunity to optimize the impact of digital technologies due to a lack of alignment on how they should respond, according to a new Accenture industry report, The Rising Opportunity for CMO and CIO Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical Industry, based on a global Accenture survey.
More than nine out of 10 large pharmaceutical company CIOs (91 percent) who participated in the Accenture Interactive 2014 CMO-CIO Alignment survey of senior marketing and IT executives believe that their companies are in need of greater marketing/IT alignment. By contrast, fewer than two out of three pharmaceutical CMOs (58 percent) agreed with that statement – a discrepancy of 33 percent. This difference in perspective is greater in the pharmaceutical industry than in all other industries surveyed by Accenture at the same time – where the average discrepancy was only 14 percent.
Anne O’Riordan, senior managing director of Accenture’s Life Sciences industry group, said, “The reasons for the difference include traditional structures, cultures and sales representative-led commercial models. The industry faces a period of rapid change marked by digital advances, new expectations from health care professionals and patients, and a dominant outcomes-based reimbursement environment. This requires CMO-CIO collaboration to increase as patients and healthcare providers move more aggressively into the digital world.”
CMOs and CIOs in the pharmaceutical industry have different views of integration and overall investment in the marketing function. According to the report, pharmaceutical CIOs view analytics as the top driver of integration (cited by 52 percent of respondents), but pharmaceutical CMOs rank analytics near the bottom (cited by just 13 percent). Priorities for technology spend were similarly divided:
  • A majority of pharmaceutical CMOs (54 percent) have spent the most in applying technology on customer experience, while just 14 percent of CIOs cited customer experience as a priority to further market impact and outcomes.
  • Only 17 percent of pharmaceutical CMOs have spent funds to equip a mobile-enabled sales force, compared to 43 percent of pharmaceutical CIOs.
  • Just 13 percent of pharmaceutical CMOs said they have spent the most to invest in multichannel analytics, compared to 43 percent of pharmaceutical CIOs.
The survey also pointed to a lack of a common vision for technology and understanding between CIOs and CMOs in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, two-thirds (67 percent) of the CMO respondents do not view IT as a strategic partner, compared to 50 percent of CMOs surveyed in all industries. Additionally, while nearly 80 percent (77 percent) of pharmaceutical CIOs see the need for greater alignment with CMOs, just 44 percent of pharmaceutical CMOs feel that way.
CIOs and CMOs in the pharmaceutical industry also have differing attitudes on how to make alignment work between the two functions: Nearly four out of 10 pharmaceutical CIOs (38 percent) would favor co-locating IT and marketing staff, an option favored by only 13 percent of pharmaceutical CMOs. At the same time, nearly four out of 10 pharmaceutical CMOs (38 percent) said they would support creating an IT lead within the marketing function, and a marketing lead within IT, a solution that only 19 percent of pharmaceutical CIOs favored.
“We suggest key steps to closing the gap between pharmaceutical CIOs and CMOs, including establishing a vision and set of common objectives for marketing IT that leverage the power of digital and unifying around the customer and patient experience,” added O’Riordan. “They should also integrate customer/patient-focused skills throughout the company, and focus the IT agenda to empower marketing to exploit digital technologies.”
To view more detail on the industries surveyed, click here and go to the Interactive Toolbox. 
Accenture’s The Rising Opportunity for CMO and CIO Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical Industry report is based on interviews with 22 CIOs and 24 CMOs from pharmaceutical companies from eight countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States) with at least US$5 billion in annual revenues. Respondents were interviewed for the Accenture Interactive 2014 CMO-CIO Alignment survey, which is the fourth in a series of studies aimed at understanding the options, challenges and points of view of senior marketing and IT executives on the impact of digital strategies and capabilities on their business. The survey was in the field in December 2013 and January 2014, and respondents were from 11 countries and 10 industries. More details about the full research and the methodology behind it can be found here.
About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 319,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US $30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is
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Cam Granstra
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