Hybrid CRM: Is it Just a Deployment Model?

I was having a call today with one of our clients around the Hybrid CRM that they envision to build. The definition of Hybrid CRM is not uniform. It is an open subject and people have the liberty to define. For some of the organizations…Hybrid CRM is having Cloud based solution and Traditional on Premise solution in the same landscape, this means some functionality/capability on Cloud and some on traditional platforms. For some … Hybrid CRM is having the database reside on premise, but still pay for the consumption of the licenses through subscriber access licenses. Another flavor is…If you have your licenses, but do not want to deploy the solution in house, then hosting it on some cloud (CRM Hosting Companies) by just paying the hosting fees.

So is Hybrid CRM Model just a deployment model and nothing beyond that? In my opinion it is much beyond that…some definitions do not really mean Hybrid CRM, they actually mean Freedom/Choice of deploying your CRM solution.  

So let me define what I think is Hybrid CRM: Hybrid CRM is a vision to create a CRM ecosystem whereby one can synergize the power of on premise with the flexibility of on demand solutions. So actually it means that one should perform an “In Out” analysis of capability to create a structured, scalable, flexible and functional Hybrid CRM Model.

What stays IN (Premise) and what goes OUT (on the cloud) will decide the way this model eventually shapes up? Can there be a single roadmap for this? That is to say…A particular capability can be completely achieved using a cloud solution… should we decide to move it to cloud. Another scenario may be… A capability cannot be achieved in its current state in a cloud solution… so does this mandate that it needs to be on premise? The point that I want to drive here is… Just by creating a matrix of what can be achieved on cloud and on premise one should not decide the hybrid model. Organizations need to perform evaluation on these dimensions:

  1. How dynamic is the Functionality/Capability: Some functionalities/capabilities are very dynamic in nature. They need to constantly change in order to meet the changing needs of the business. E.g Contracts Management in managed care. With change in regulations the capability needs to undergo changes. These changes can be small or big. Such functionality need to adopt quickly and cannot wait for the long change cycle that is typical trade mark of an on premise solution.
  2. How Complex is the Functionality/Capability: Organizations have complex functionalities… some are genuine others are complex just because no one ever thought for a simple solution. Organizations should look back and categorize the functionalities under “genuinely complex” and “Can be simplified”. Then the decision to move them on cloud/on premise becomes straight forward.
  3. Logical grouping of functionality/Capability: This is the most critical part. Organizations need to evaluate capability in a logical group and not stand alone. For E.g Contact Management functionality is achievable in cloud, but activity management needs to be on premise. Does this even sound logical? The end result will be horrifying for the users. Data governance and management will go for a toss. So it is very important to look at capabilities as logical groups so that the objective of creating a structured, flexible, scalable and functional model can be achieved.    

What has been your experience around this? Will you like to add to this list. Just as a closing note… IDC states that 3 quarters of European business plans hybrid CRM.. hope they get it right….


Mobility Solutions: Pharma Case Studies

“Mobility Solutions” another Buzz word in the market today. This is one subject that has slowly found its way to the board room discussions. Lot of action around this concept… In Pharma also we see lot of action around this.

In Pharma the use of mobility solutions were limited to “PDA” based solutions…organizations were busy assisting the sales force with providing applications on PDA/Tablet to help them perform on the GO. But that was another era… the present era has shifted the focus from sales force to the customers. Organizations have started using Mobility Solutions to take the concept of Patient Compliance and Wellness programs to the next level.  “After all people might leave home without their glucometer but not without their cell phones.” Says Ryan Sysko, CEO of WellDoc, a healthcare company that develops technology-based solutions to improve diabetes outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. These solutions provide information and services at the point of consumption and sending mails just does not fit in the current changed paradigm of how consumers want information and how they consume it.

Case Study1:

Pfizer Canada launched its mobile solution smidge™. This is its first-ever “app” and health motivator. As per the press release “A first for Pfizer Canada, smidge™ identifies and celebrates small, easy actions that impact the body, mind and spirit. As you build momentum over a 21-day period, smidge™ shows you how to do just a little bit more by choosing across six activities that include: Be Positive, Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Train Your Brain, Take the Stairs, Deep Breathing and Drink More Water. “This application is available on Blackberry apps store and on Apple store.  Refer this for more details http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/It-Takes-Motivation-Healthy-Habits-Start-Here-Pfizer-Canada-Says-Start-With-A-smidge-1323863.htm.

Case Study2:

The WellDoc solution is a cell-phone based platform that enables real-time, any-time communication between health providers, physicians, and patients. Patients get reminders on their cell phones to take medication. They have access to live coaches and wireless diaries. Meanwhile, providers can track them as they input information and identify where and when they’re diverging from their plan. The cell phone is used as a device to reach patients, to do things like not only remind them when to take their medications and when to test their blood glucose, but also to put their physician’s instructions in the phone. This product has already being cleared by FDA (http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100802005216&newsLang=en)

Are these solutions effective? So far, the data is compelling that such platforms can work. In one study, published in Diabetes Technologies and Therapeutics, patients who used the cell phone platform experienced an average 2.03-point decrease in their A1C levels, while the control group experienced a 0.58-point increase. Additionally, patients who used the phone were more likely to switch to brands that offered such a platform, and doctors gave the product a 100 percent physician satisfaction rating, stating that it made the information they could see about their patients more comprehensive.  Similarly for free applications also the date available is quite encouraging. If you navigate to the BB apps store, you will find that smidge™ has a high user satisfaction rate.

Let me know about your experiences and thoughts on such solutions in Pharma. Is Pharma also becoming more socially responsible?

Case study: ‘Wipro ClickLoyalty’ Now Available on Salesforce.com

I have always maintained that the future will be to create simple and effective solutions for complex business problems. This is one example of creating a solution on these lines of thought… is this the beginning of the whole new role of the System Integrators as Solution providers (not products) and assemblers. Is this an example of SIs getting into this new role and trying to generate non linear revenue…

‘Wipro ClickLoyalty’ Now Available on Salesforce.com, the World’s Most Popular Marketplace for Business Apps – MarketWatch.

What are your thoughts on this?

Pharma’s Adoption of Social Channel: Caution and a Sense of Hesitation

Lot is being said about the efficiency and effectiveness of the Social channels (twitter and Facebook) and why organization should define strategies to leverage this “Free Channel”. I would like to discuss the reason why Pharma as an industry is cautious in adopting this channel. I can think of the following reasons:

  1. Can I use this channel? FDA laid out the regulations…but then sporadic incidents like what happened with Novartis sharing widget on Facebook confuses the marketers. They seem to be interested, but reticent in using this channel and defining the optimum channel mix leveraging these social channels. My understanding is that there is still lot of work that regulators have to do to define and answer basic questions around what and how? Some Product companies have come to the rescue of Pharma organizations by providing a sharing widget that can comply with the norms (Read the blog to know more http://social.eyeforpharma.com/blogs/wendyb/new-option-pharma-social-sharing)…. But is that sufficient? I believe NO. Proper operating processes (internal and external) need to be laid out to clear this confusion.


  • What should I use this for? Channels are used by marketers primarily to create awareness, Influence and engage customers. With the profusion of channels marketers perform a juggling act of defining the right channel mix to achieve one or more of the objectives. Traditional channels like F2F, Contact Center, Email, D2C etc have had their share of success and failures over the past years. Marketers are still pondering over the use of the social channel as a medium and what services to be provided over this channel. Should we use this as an extension to the Contact Center? Or can this be used as a detailing medium? Or should this be used to launch campaigns? Or can this be used to provide education and wellness programs for patients and HCPs? I see a lot of Ifs and buts around this. @Novartis twitter account is primarily being used for creating awareness around disease area and to promote wellness programs. @AstraZenecaUS and @Boehringer use their Twitter account to promote videos and drugs along with providing awareness and education.So will we see migration of S&M Read more of this post

Cloud CRM – Is this the Panacea?

I wrote in one of my last blogs about how I see the CRM products DNA changing. I also wrote about the two important guidelines that are being followed for product development. The logical extension to that is to explore if these new age/Nextgen products are finding acceptability in the industry.

Off late I find growing adoption among organizations for these new products. I will limit this blog to the Pharma business which I follow closely. Pharma business has traditionally been one of the late/slow adopters to new technologies. The unconventional business model and protection in terms of patents have always made Pharma companies a bit reactive in nature. But today; due the sudden environmental changes (growth opportunities shifting from traditional to new markets) and pressure on creating efficiencies across the complete value chain has compelled them to think proactively. Pharma has become one of the front runners in adopting newer technologies and CRM strategies in particular have been revisited with an aim to provide efficient, intuitive, Flexible, simple and insightful solutions to business.

So does this mean that the earlier solutions that were deployed after years of hard work and spending Millions of dollars did not meet the above criteria? Yes and No. Yes because these solutions were designed and built as if the world will never change. No because they did what was expected out of them and in many cases were very efficiently. It became a humongous task to maintain these solutions and organizations were faced with a bigger challenge of keeping these solutions in sync with the changing business needs. They were running a race against shifting finish line.

Getting back to drawing board and creating the drivers for the new solution started in various top 15 Pharma companies. The high level drivers that are common to majority of them are;

  • Increase effectiveness
  • Increase productivity
  • Enhance agility in responding to changing business needs
  • Lower operating cost
  • Increase operational efficiency
  • Reduce overall TCO

So the writing on the wall was clear… A. Get rid of the existing solutions B. Evaluate Cloud based solutions that meet majority of the criteria.

Few of the top Pharma companies have already taken this decision and are in an advanced stage of deploying their solutions (Refer Veeva site). So will these solutions act like a panacea? These solutions do tend to satisfy majority of the drivers that organizations have laid out, but is there something that the organizations are missing?

At the face of it and going by the trend in the market it seems that this time organizations will get this right.

Note of Caution:

  • Do not repeat the mistake of complicating the solution on the pretext of providing efficiency and enhancing productivity. (Customization is no longer a limitation of Cloud based solutions)
  • Look at a larger timeframe and see the spread of CAPEX and OPEX to take decisions on TCO
  • Evaluate what is the best deployment model (on premise/On demand or Hybrid)
  • Think over “Does it make sense to have a global solution or bouquet of solutions based on common philosophy?”

Guzarish – Sensitive and Brilliant Effort

I saw Guzaarish last evening… One word to describe the movie is “Brilliant”.  It requires immense character for attempting a movie on such a sensitive topic. Hats off to Sanjay for portraying this in such a balanced and beautiful way.  Hrithik is just out of the world. I sometime feel; how taxing it would have been for him to portray this character. He took the biggest risk of his professional career. Well done Hrithik… you have succeeded in providing dignity to all such patients in the world.

Many years back my dad told me that the best movies are the ones that have..1. Unity of place. 2. Unity of time. 3. Unity of character. This movie has demonstrated all these best practices. The story revolves around a protagonist and few characters; it is based during a finite time period and narrates the story at one given location. All this make this movie a benchmark in story narration.

Sanjay is a dreamer and I think he is also a painter. All his scenes look to me as a paintings coming straight from his dreams. Each frame is so detailed and you will just be mesmerized by the visual portrayal. His passion for details is evident in all across this two hour visual and soul searching delight. I think no one other than Sanjay could have managed to pull this off.

Movies like this are rare and they hit you hard and ask you to sit back and take a pause from ones busy self centered lives. I would like to congratulate the complete team in helping me learn to cherish the life that god has given me. So toast to LIFE  “Live fully, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, never regret any thing that made you smile…”

The Chaos in the Digital Space

A lot is happening in the digital space…I find it tough to follow and keep pace. Having said that I also believe that we are right now living in very interesting times and witnessing the change that will define the future. So does this mean that that what we are experiencing now is far from the future? I think no…The future is already there; it’s just not logically arranged.

So what is the future? Is “Cloud Computing” the future, is “Virtualization” the next big thing or is “empower with simple ideas” the way to go? There is no one concept that will win this race hands down. All these concepts have carved the present and have defined the way we behave, interact and collaborate today.

Cloud computing as defined by Wikipedia is “Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid”. My experience with my clients has given enough evidence to believe that the adoption of this concept in on a rise, but still I feel that this space is a bit “cloudy”. There are issues with data security, scalability and performance that needs to be sorted before organizations will go full guns in adopting this as the next platform to support their business.

Virtualization as a concept was always there with us. I think the complete support system for the human clan is virtualized (Religion). So the human community has always understood this concept much better that the concept of “Cloud”. We stay in an almost virtual world of our own; we look alone but we are never alone, we always have resources at our disposal. This has made this world one common meeting place cutting across religions and geographical boundaries. I believe Virtualization will surely accompany us in the future.

Empowerment has been one of the most used/misused terms in the recent past. This term is in the agenda of every top executive and politician; how this gets delivered is a totally different discussion. What I see today is that this plain and simple word has revolutionized the way services/products are delivered. The concept is to create simple ideas and execute them quickly to solve needs (irrespective of the size of the need; big or small). The overall timeframe from idea to execution needs to be relatively small to derive maximum benefits. It’s a dynamic market place so we are pegged against a shifting goal. Look at the mobile applications store from Blackberry or the Apple Apps Store, these stores give you simple but effective applications for your needs… use them and move on…

I cannot predict the future, but what I can do is lay down some clear trends that will impact our lives to a great extend:

  • We will have more virtualization… Getting things done will matter… Who and from where will not be something that we will be bothered about. We will know our neighbors through blogs and chatsJ


  • The future is for unwinding and becoming creative at what we do. Break those conventional ways of doing things and come up with simple ideas to uncomplicated matters. Should one talk while driving? Conventional thinking created the Bluetooth enabled hands free…this did solve the need, but can’t we have a small application that sends an SMS to the caller “I cannot take your call as I am driving”. Simple, effective and responsible idea!!!


  • Cloud or No Cloud – the writing on the wall is clear: People/Organizations will stick to their core competencies and will demand highest level of commitments and availability from support processes/systems/people. As  a Pharma company, I should focus on my R&D and product development and not on IT systems and its corresponding infrastructure


Let’s keep our fingers crossed

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