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Industry: Pharma
Region: Global
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Resources |Case study

Novartis Streamlines Its R&D Efforts for Faster Time to Market and Exclusivity

Company

Novartis is a Swiss-American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. As one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Novartis has over 120,000 employees worldwide.

Challenge

Novartis needed a solution that moved beyond simply documenting answers and would easily connect its teams with the knowledge and resources they needed to thrive.

Results

  • Novartis users grew from a 2,000-user pilot program in January 2020 to nearly 40,000 users 2022.

  • Novartis has experienced not only faster resolutions for internal service tickets, but also an increase in the quality of support provided.
  • Novartis positioned itself for improved time to market, protecting the company’s rights to exclusivity and first mover advantage for its developments.

Summary: Novartis Embraces Modern Knowledge Management

Pharmaceutical company Novartis needed more than a traditional knowledge management system to efficiently move beyond simply documenting information for effective knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Starmind helped Novartis augment its human expertise with the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide an easier, seamless workflow that enables knowledge sharing and knowledge building in a decentralized work environment.

Background: Decentralize While Emphasizing Connection

Novartis is a Swiss-American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. As one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Novartis has over 120,000 employees worldwide.

Efficiency and speed to market is a matter of saving lives, enabling the company to get the right medicine to the right people at the right time.

The company recognizes the strength of its employees, and one of its strategic pillars is “unleash the power of our people.”

Novartis understood it needed a better way to connect its team members to knowledge experts so they could share knowledge more effectively. The shift toward a decentralized work environment made this need even more critical. Knowledge could be found throughout the organization, but finding it may mean connecting with other team members, departments or locations to determine who can share correct information.

Challenge: Finding a Way to Make Knowledge Flow at Scale

Novartis needed a solution that moved beyond simply documenting answers and would easily connect its teams with the knowledge and resources they needed to thrive.

The company also recognized the frustration involved with accessing knowledge. Answers could be time-consuming and difficult to find. Even when there was documentation, information could be outdated or incorrect.

“You need to make the access to knowledge much easier and seamless, and you need to enable it to flow,” said Barry Byrne, global head of knowledge management strategy at Novartis. “Knowledge is sticky, but if you don’t have processes and procedures around it, then it won’t flow.”

If Novartis employees are missing critical information, it can result in devastating project delays. “If you have multimillion-, multibillion-dollar medicines going out to market, a one-day delay in a launch can have million-dollar, if not more, implications,” Byrne said.

This need for efficiency extended beyond launch, as pharmaceutical companies must maximize the limited exclusivity period they retain on new medicines.

"a one-day delay in a launch can have million-dollar, if not more, implications”

Barry Byrne, Global Head of Knowledge Management Strategy, Novartis

Solution: Reduce Frustration and Build Community With AI

Novartis wanted to move from a “repository approach to knowledge management” to a community-type approach. By using Starmind to augment human intelligence using the power of AI, Novartis could connect people with subject matter experts and documentation across the enterprise.

With Novartis’ service desk as a priority, Starmind helped empower employees to self-resolve technical issues without the need for excessive searching or new tickets. Novartis used Starmind in conjunction with the ServiceNow system for ticket resolution to reduce ticket volumes and cut costs. Instead of wasting time searching, teams could quickly find answers or connect with experts to solve their issues.

This rollout occurred in stages. Novartis appointed an enterprise product lead to work directly with Starmind and serve as an internal champion for the platform. In some cases, Novartis targeted specific groups of users believed to have the biggest impact. The company also selected a broader, more diverse group of people for A/B testing to determine what worked best for different types of users. 

Results: Improve Resolution and Time to Market

Novartis has continued to scale up its partnership with Starmind, going from a 2,000-user pilot program in January 2020 to 5,000 and then 9,000 users. Novartis plans to reach 40,000 users during 2022.

After launching with Starmind, the company has noted not only faster resolutions for internal service tickets, but also an increase in the quality of support provided. “We were getting users resolving issues faster and to a better level of satisfaction than our best SLA could achieve,” said Byrne. “That was dramatic, especially because those were internal people that you’re not paying to solve these problems or solve it for their colleague.”

Starmind has helped Novartis teams overcome their “blind spot” by forming connections to knowledge experts they might otherwise not be familiar with. By using a modern approach to knowledge management to connect people with experienced and knowledgeable colleagues, Novartis was able to save crucial time, share internal knowledge more efficiently and go to market faster. By identifying knowledge gatekeepers, Novartis adds value to its technology stack and empowers team members to access answers regardless of where subject matter experts are located within the enterprise. 

Improving its knowledge-sharing practices also allowed Novartis to be able to position itself for improved time to market. This acceleration also helped protect the company’s rights to exclusivity and first mover advantage for its developments. Using a modern knowledge management strategy has a dramatic impact on the use of these competitive advantages and helps establish a path for long-term growth and financial success.  

Starmind’s accessibility has also helped Novartis improve knowledge sharing. “If you think about why people don’t share knowledge, one of the problems sometimes is that they are nervous about sharing what they have or asking a question,” Byrne says. “One of the strengths of Starmind is that you can ask your question anonymously. So that really opens the floodgates and allows people to ask questions with a great degree of psychological safety.”

“You need to make the access to knowledge much easier and seamless, and you need to enable it to flow. Knowledge is sticky, but if you don’t have processes and procedures around it, then it won’t flow.”

Barry Byrne, Global Head of Knowledge Management Strategy, Novartis

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