June 14, 2016
The Medical Device Industry Has Gone Cloud: What’s Next?
By: Matthew Johnson

Take a minute to think about how you use cloud technology today. Are you making the most of your investment? If not, how can you get more out of what you already have?

Adopting cloud technology is now a must for staying competitive, but many organizations fail to realize the cloud’s full potential. Look no further than the medical device industry, where recent survey data and conversations with users in sales, service and marketing reveal that over two-thirds of these users have yet to fully realize the benefits of the cloud technology they now use.

So what’s the solution? How can you reap the full benefits the cloud has to offer the medical device industry? To start, you must ensure you’re servicing your users properly and empowering them with the knowledge they need to benefit from your cloud applications.

Then, it’s time to take your activities to the next level. I recommend doing so with three types of initiatives:

  1. Raising the bar by doing more with existing use cases

  2. Expanding use cases

  3. Standardizing systems

Let’s use cloud CRM as an example to see what these initiatives might look like in the medical device space:

1) Raising the Bar by Doing More with Existing Systems
You’ve already taken CRM to the cloud, but what more can you do with it? Most cloud CRM projects start with sales and service, but these are vast areas, which means there are always opportunities to do more.

When it comes to sales force effectiveness in the medical device space, you need to make sure you know both where you’ve been and where you’re going. If you’re like the majority of organizations, one of your first cloud CRM initiatives was probably pipeline management. Pipeline management is definitely important, but it’s like looking in the rearview mirror: It makes predictions based on past actions. You need to complement this perspective with forward-looking activities like account strategy and planning, which allows you to set future targets for each client account in order to develop a meaningful outline for what you intend to achieve.

Some companies perform account planning, but it isn’t in their CRM systems—and that’s a missed opportunity. Why? In short, because asking users to balance two systems never turns out well. Ultimately, users are unlikely to migrate information from one system to the other regularly, and one of your systems will suffer as a result. Consolidating these processes into a single system will simplify the process for users, improve your insight into data and deliver major performance improvements. (And if you’re not yet performing account planning, CRM provides a great opportunity to get started.)

Next comes customer service effectiveness, and when it comes to improving the contact center experience, it’s all about omnichannel capabilities. Taking your CRM system omnichannel improves your customer experience in many ways. First, a true omnichannel contact center allows customers to engage however and whenever they want, making the experience more convenient for them. It even allows customers to transition seamlessly between platforms. Second, creating an omnichannel environment empowers agents to better anticipate and more quickly respond to client needs since it provides agents with a complete view of customer history, behaviors and preferences.

2) Expanding Use Cases
While sales and service are certainly a large part of the CRM world, they’re not the only components that comprise a best in class CRM program. As such, you should also look for opportunities to bring more capabilities into the fold by adding complementary applications onto your CRM stack. One common initiative in this area, especially in the medical device space, is Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ).

Adding a CPQ system to your CRM stack can help significantly simplify sales operations. Think about how you develop quotes today. It’s likely a complex process given each client’s different configuration requirements and each lab’s different approaches for building those devices. This is where CPQ comes in. By expanding your CRM system to include CPQ, you can easily standardize (not to mention simplify) this entire end-to-end process.

In addition to CPQ, field service is another growing trend within the medical device industry and a defining factor for client and patient satisfaction. Adopting a cloud-based field service management program can ensure your organization is making informed decisions and maintaining quality customer service.

3) Standardizing Systems
Acquisitions and integrations are among the most common source of growth in the medical device space today; however, they lead to having multiple systems that do the same exact thing. In order to become one, cohesive organization, it’s imperative to standardize systems across business units and functions.

If you don’t standardize systems, you’ll end up with different functions and lines of business that don’t know what the others are doing, and these silos can hurt your organization’s intelligence. Additionally, siloed systems often result in wasted time and energy as well as less than satisfied customers due to users duplicating efforts across the business. On the other hand, standardizing onto one system will provide you with a 360-degree view that can help boost business intelligence and improve your client and user experiences.

Lay the Foundation for Success in the Value-Based World
Ultimately, taking these three steps can not only help you maximize the return on your cloud investment, but it can also help you lay the foundation for a value-based operating model. We’re quickly moving toward value-based models in the medical device space, but in order to be successful in that new world, you need to have a firm understanding of your entire business, particularly client interactions. Taking the time now to review your CRM program and identify areas for improvement—whether it’s doing more with existing use cases, adding new use cases or standardizing systems—is critical to achieving your desired results and maintaining success as we move deeper into this value-based world.

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