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Industry: Pharma
Region: Global
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How Roche forms global connections in a new world of work


Roche, one of the world’s largest biotech companies, focuses on finding new medicines, diagnostics and establishing data-based insights that evolve the practice of medicine and help patients live longer, better lives.


Roche needed a way to connect and share the knowledge of its 100,000 employees, particularly subject matter experts, to help teams work more efficiently. Roche wanted to provide the same amount of medical advances at half the cost to society.


  • Roche has rapidly increased internal usage of Starmind’s solution, going from 1,000 users in 2020 to nearly 9,000 by 2023. 
  • By using Starmind, Roche has saved about 91,000 employee hours that would otherwise be spent seeking information and internal experts.
  • Roche used Starmind’s translation feature across six languages, reducing challenges with communication across geographies and cultures. 
  • Roche integrated Starmind and its enterprise search engine into Google Cloud Search to provide easier access to information and specific experts.


Roche needed a way to tap into the knowledge and experience of a massive employee base and identify experts who could provide key information and streamline processes.

Starmind helped Roche create an enterprise expertise directory that empowers its teams to share knowledge and find experts more effectively and efficiently. This has improved collaboration for the global and digitally minded company and has been beneficial for patients affected by Roche’s work.


Roche’s vision is to provide twice the amount of medical advances at half the cost to society. Fulfilling Roche’s vision starts with the people on the team.

The company requires “a strong diversity of people with integrity, courage and passion, " says Sebastian Hein, IT business partner, product development quality informatics (PDQIX) at Roche. “And what we realize is we need our people to actually make this commitment happen.” 

Roche had the right people with the right knowledge to deliver on its commitment, but the company needed a way for team members with different backgrounds, perspectives and experience to engage with each other and foster innovative solutions for the benefit of patients. 


By 2019, the company had about 100,000 employees contributing a vast amount of knowledge and experience, but there wasn’t a sufficient way to tap into those individuals’ knowledge or find experts in real time. Because the organization was so large, initiatives across the global workforce became fractured and disconnected. 

Roche needed a centralized platform to bring their work together and avoid creating silos around communication and knowledge sharing. The company also needed a flexible solution that could be adapted over time. Because of the organization’s size and added complexity, Roche wanted a solution that offered customization and integrations with existing platforms.


After review, the company decided on a pilot program of 1,000 users across various functions, departments and locations. Finding a solution that offered detailed reporting and analytics was key for driving performance. The success of the pilot program would determine how to proceed with the road map.

Roche determined that Starmind was the best partner for the pilot. This partnership included a scientific approach to finding and connecting the strongest sources of information. Starmind would help Roche tap into employee capabilities and knowledge while building a bridge between documented information and tacit knowledge. 

The dynamic solution focused on providing quick and easy access to knowledge that was accurate and regularly updated. By combining the power and efficiency of artificial intelligence with the massive amount of knowledge that employees already had, Roche could use the Starmind platform to create a real-time knowledge network. This would allow teams access to on-demand answers and connections with colleagues who have extensive knowledge and experience with a particular subject. 

While many organizations similar in size to Roche take careful, measured steps toward innovation, the company realized it would need to be agile in responding to the performance and needs of their knowledge management efforts. Roche also wanted to allow for experimentation and adaptability during this pilot. 

The company would test new Starmind features and review how employees responded before determining how to move forward. For example, the company’s international presence required multi-language support, which Starmind addressed through its automatic translation feature.


User growth exceeded expectations. The success of the initial tests quickly led to project expansions and a multiyear road map. Within the first year, Roche doubled its user base to 2,000, and it did so again in 2022, to 4,000. In 2023, the user count doubled yet again, to nearly 9,000. 

What began as a grassroots effort has become a part of the company culture. There have been over 10,000 knowledge-based search queries and 14,000 inquiries about finding internal experts — saving 91,000 hours that would otherwise have been spent looking for information. “Starmind is actually the expert in finding the expert around the globe,” Hein says.

Roche’s scientists don’t necessarily know what their colleagues are working on, but they need to find out. “We cannot hire an indefinite number of people,” Hein says. “So we really need to utilize the knowledge and the expertise and the experts in our organization. And this platform really helps us to make a connection that hasn't happened before.”

Roche has also expanded the translation feature. “This actually removes the border and eliminates the challenge to actually ask a question,” Hein says. People can ask questions in English, Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish, depending on their comfort — and the company gets the benefit of that knowledge.

The company has also integrated its enterprise search engine, Google Cloud Search, giving employees around the world even easier access to information and specific experts. Roche is exploring a Workday integration to link up its main HR system. And the company wants to link Starmind to its other knowledge management systems so “we make it even easier for our employees to find the knowledge, the right knowledge and the right expert at the right point in time,” Hein says.

Hein explained how Starmind’s human-centric expertise directory aligns with Roche’s vision of providing twice the amount of medical advances at half the cost to society. 

“Imagine if 10% or 15% of 100,000 employees around the world find experts in 15 minutes instead of three weeks,” Hein says. “How much acceleration can we have when it comes to new initiatives and experiments and other new research? This is, for me, still mind-boggling.”

Sebastian Hein, IT Business Partner, Product Development Quality Informatics (PDQIX) at Roche


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