In the past we discussed the prevalence of competitive intelligence (CI) in various functions of pharmaceutical sector versus other sectors- a cross-industry comparison. CI is a reasonably established function in the pharma and diagnostics industry. However, some companies have been early adopters of the practice; most are 'early/late majority' adopters and some have yet to leverage the benefit. Here we summarise the maturity of CI function in the sector. This should serve as the preliminary basis for benchmarking, empowering and finessing the role of CI in typical pharmaceutical and medical devices companies.
- Service Provider: This is the elementary level of CI function in pharmaceutical companies. At this stage, CI functions are mostly tactical, research oriented and focused on finding facts. The group works on a project basis to produce intelligence upon demand from internal stakeholders. It has a limited budget, headcount, and influence in the organisation, and receives limited senior executive support. The function's communications concentrate on project results that target a narrow audience, primarily the stakeholders who commissioned the project.
- Contributor: At this stage, CI is more than tactical function. The unit concentrates on translating customer insights into implications and business recommendations. It leverages synergy from past projects from the same or different stakeholders, forms bodies of knowledge and has broad perspectives. The unit at this stage has active support from the senior marketer in the company as well as greater access to senior business unit leaders. However, business leaders set priorities. The CI budget exists outside the function's control, and the group's representation on the executive team and its exposure to the board are limited.
- Advisor: This is the next level of maturity of CI in the company. At this stage, senior executives stipulate informed and evidence-based decision making. The CI function acts as in-house Consultants in the organisation. In addition to standard CI projects, CI team members demonstrate critical thinking, a willingness to challenge ideas and status quo, have an understanding of R&D and marketing. Most of the projects are asset/brand centric. The CI team act like a 'sensing, learning and prescribing' unit.
- Partner: At this level, CI function acts as a strategic partner. The unit is focused on innovation, foresight, and predictive capabilities. CI usage goes beyond asset-centric decisions i.e. the unit is involved in corporate level decision making, including product and portfolio strategy, strategic planning, licensing and partnering, M&A, employee engagement, manufacturing, supply chain, etc. The CI team exerts significant control over budget and is truly embedded in the decision-making processes. The team is seen as a thought leader rather than a project executor or insights provider. The team has sound economic, strategic and corporate finance understanding, and has the ability (and credibility) to address critical business issues, provide top-class implementable solutions that are aligned with the organisation and its stakeholders and shareholders.