Emma Hyland, VP strategy, commercial content at Veeva Systems, tells us modular content is the most significant wave of innovation hitting the content world in life sciences, and rightly so because HCPs’ needs and expectations have changed.
As the world moves back to a form of normality after the last couple of years, the way in which we engage with HCPs has changed. There are certainly more channels and ways to communicate, thus it is critical for pharma to engage HCPs in the right way, with the right content, at speed, and in the right channels. Companies today need to increase the quantity of content, reuse dynamic content across multiple channels, and understand how to distribute relevant content to their customers in the right place at the right time.
Hyland says modular content is a way to enhance dynamic content that empowers organisations to reach those objectives effectively: “Last year, we saw a 37% increase in content volume. We don’t have newer people to manage that within companies, so modular content has to. It’s a must for the industry. At Veeva, we’ve built technology to enable modular content in life sciences”.
Using modular content has helped companies such as Novo Nordisk to produce content four times faster than previous methods and allow for a 60% reduction in content spend efficiency.
The concept of modular content sounds simple, and the potential business benefits are huge. But when translated to life sciences, many nuances and specifics make it challenging to actualise.
Implementing modular content
Modular content is the process of creating component parts, then assembling and reassembling these pre-approved components, or “modules”, into different types of content for use across regions and channels, utilising the concept of content reuse. The key, of course, is to ensure these are approved for multiple use.
“Content has always been created for specific usages, such as a website, email, or a leaflet that a rep would hand to a doctor,” Hyland states. “Whereas now it’s about completely changing how people think about content and allowing companies to create it upfront. Think about what the message is that you want to deliver. Don’t think about how it will be laid out or what it will look like.”
Utilising modular content requires organisations to have the key foundations already in place, such as a claims management and a digital asset management system.
“Without managing your claims and assets well, building those reusable modules will be very hard. To do it in a meaningful way means they can be shared and used by others in the organisation,” Hyland says.
Involving the right stakeholders for adoption
The industry realises the necessity for new innovative ways of working and increasing collaborations across departments to help ease workloads, streamline processes and find efficiency in resources and costs.
Companies need to start with a clear business plan/objective, get sponsorship from those in higher leadership roles, and involve the right stakeholders, such as the brand teams, MLR teams, and compliance as early as possible. This will allow them to define the new process and business rules so as to fully support and embed modular content through a strong implementation plan.
Developing the following framework for adoption can support a smooth transition:
- Get endorsement from senior management.
- Establish a common terminology across the organisation.
- Learn from experiences.
- Select the right people internally and externally.
Gaining insight upfront into why and how to adopt a new content creation and distribution model is vital to initiate such a change, particularly as implementing new strategies requires teams/stakeholders to endorse the new process.
A company can then perform pilots with model content using existing material and take learnings from that experience into the implementation process.
For companies just beginning their modular content journey, Hyland says Veeva has a thriving community where best practices are shared. In these communities, the challenges are discussed, and pharma leaders confer about the agile content supply chain, providing insight into what users have experienced and learned. This is a shared evolution.
Lastly, a company must ensure it selects the right people internally and externally with the right mindset and knowledge of modular content.
Regarding an external team, those who have experience delivering these types of process changes across organisations will be the most valuable during the transition process.
Hyland says Veeva considers these points and other essential factors while helping companies transition to modular content.
Despite the preferred content production method, a company needs to ensure its content accurately relays its message, is compliant with the various regulations, and is accessible should anything need to be revised or updated quickly.
Agile collaboration internally and externally
Because there are numerous components and different stakeholders and teams involved in creating, reviewing, and distributing content in large corporations, especially in pharma, these processes need to be streamlined.
Pharma companies that have adopted modular content benefit in various ways, one of which is to drive personalisation and create more content faster, even when working with external partners.
Considering many companies work with outside agencies, Veeva has a broad partner strategy that allows content to be accessible.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for how the life sciences industry creates content. There’s a mixture of production agencies in some places, internal content studios, and multitudes of agencies. Many companies are already using authoring tools to create their content, and they don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” Hyland says.
With its proven success and efficacy in creating content, Hyland foresees a bright future for modular content. “We run a content leaders forum in Europe, where we bring together the top leaders across 12 of the top 20 pharma companies, and everyone is embracing modular content, anticipating that 50% of the content they create will be modular in the future.”
As organisations are contemplating different ways to use modular content and want to learn from each other to expand adoption, Veeva focuses on helping customers adopt it and discuss its use in order to help each other. The concentration then moves to scale adoption globally within organisations.
“I suppose in terms of what the future looks like, once we’ve got modular content scaled within organisations, I see that’s where those opportunities for further automation will come,” Hyland states.
Content creation will never be 100% automated, but modular content can reduce development and distribution times.
“Enabling modular content drives our decisions in terms of product directions and investments in business consulting, with customer efficiency and productivity in mind because that’s the ultimate goal,” Hyland says.
About the interviewee
Emma Hyland heads up the European Commercial Content Strategy team, where she leads Veeva’s market strategy and key customer and partner collaborations to advance the life sciences industry in the areas of content strategy and digital transformation.
With 17 years’ experience in the life sciences industry, she spent 10 years in the management team at Zinc Ahead Ltd, delivering compliance software to the global pharmaceutical industry. She started her career in healthcare communications with roles at Ketchum and Affiniti, developing and executing on award-winning campaigns in respiratory and cardiovascular therapy areas. She proudly represented Zinc Ahead Ltd as a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2015, meeting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace.
About Veeva Systems
Veeva is the global leader in cloud software for the life sciences industry. Committed to innovation, product excellence, and customer success, Veeva serves more than 1,100 customers, ranging from the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to emerging biotechs. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Veeva is committed to balancing the interests of all stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, and the industries it serves. For more information, visit veeva.com/eu.
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