Interview with Philip Pisa, Director, Digital Marketing and Innovation at Roche
“The best omnichannel strategy is the one that it is actually possible to implement,” says Philip Pisa, Director, Digital Marketing and Innovation at Roche. Philip will attend the Reuters Pharma Customer Engagement Europe 2023 event, which runs from 9–10 November in London, and will participate in a panel discussion at the event entitled: “Simplify your data strategy: Inform next best action with tangible data-driven insights.”
We had the opportunity to speak with Philip ahead of the event to get some more detail on his role and how he has driven the data strategy at Roche, with a view on how he sees the landscape shaping up in years to come.
Please explain what your role entails as Director, Digital Marketing and Innovation.
I work as Director, Digital Marketing and Innovation in the Czech Republic for Roche. This role has numerous aspects, including scanning the horizon to see what’s coming, capability building and deployment, and leadership aspects. Most of our capabilities lie within our people and our processes, and these are my focus.
What is the most important shift you have managed to implement to date in terms of data strategy?
The most important shift we have implemented to date in our data strategy involves embedding data into our decision-making processes, with the goal of achieving behavioural change. This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, and there are two aspects to this. This includes a demand aspect, where my colleagues are inspired to leverage data to inform our decision making. This also includes a supply side aspect, which involves building our technical capabilities, including our know-how and also from a systems perspective, so that we can address demand.
What have been the main challenges in doing so?
On the demand side, the main challenge has been natural resistance to change. Achieving behavioural change is hard. People find it hard to dispense with the behaviour that we know, are comfortable with and has worked in the past. It is not enough to inspire people, you also have to prove that your proposed solution works and makes sense, and show colleagues what is possible.
On the supply side, one of the main challenges is to achieve leadership buy-in and understanding of the critical importance of setting up the right system, processes and integrations when it comes to data. Here in the Czech Republic, we are mainly focused on our external customers. However, the technical depth and complexity of the data that sits behind dashboards can be hard to communicate with senior leadership, who might not be as familiar with technical aspects. Getting that buy-in and marshalling resources to achieve this is key
What innovations / innovative technologies or solutions are on your radar for customer engagement?
Now we are experimenting with the large language models. We are very excited about them, but we also acknowledge their current drawbacks and limitations. However, these technologies are very new, and their current iterations are the worst they are going to be, and they will only improve from here. We are also looking at all things personalisation. It may sound simplistic, but there is a lot of depth to personalised landing pages. This involves ensuring that each customer has information that is relevant to them at their fingertips, at the right time, in one place that they can easily access. Automation is another interesting aspect of new technologies – anything that can be automated across the omnichannel environment is of interest to us also.
Do you have any specific views on the future direction of content and omnichannel strategies to build meaningful relationships with your customers (healthcare professionals)?
I am rather pragmatic. In the near term, I don’t think that we should overcomplicate things. The best omnichannel strategy is the one that it is actually possible to implement. Omnichannel is quite easy from a strategy perspective, but the hard part is the implementation. In the future, omnichannel strategies will evolve from an idealised concept to a tangible reality that is more adapted to the customer’s needs and what we are trying to achieve. I don’t think that omnichannel is about doing everything every time, but it is more about being very flexible and fit for purpose. The more we get comfortable with omnichannel, the more we will progress in that direction. I think we need to value implementation above strategy.