Pharma O2C in the ‘Ever-evolving’ Normal – What Experts Prescribe for Shared Services

Damian von Wenczowsky

Damian von Wenczowsky

Global Transformation Leader, Bayer
Damian von Wenczowsky is a Global Transformation Lead at Bayer with more than 16 years experience. He is an ambitious and solutions-oriented senior leader with a wealth of experience leading global transformation for business processes, harmonization and outsourcing, integrated technology landscape, organizational set up, such as Division, Sales Force, Global Business Services, and has enhanced customer experience in international, complex and remote environments.
Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad

Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad

Market Focal Point Manager, BMS
Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad has a unique combination of expertise in project management and financial management, spanning over 18 years in different industries, especially Pharma, brokerage, beverage manufacturing.
Bain Company
Joseph Craughan

Joseph Craughan

Head Global Process & Service Owner O2C, Novartis
Joseph Craughan, is the Head Global Process & Service Owner O2C at Novartis who brings over two-decades of experience. Joe is an agile, thought-provoking leader with diverse experience in Finance, Procurement & Supply Chain who is now re-imaging Commercial delivery with a customer-centric mindset.

Session Summary:

Pharmaceutical organizations during the pandemic were under tremendous pressure due to disrupted supply chains, halted production lines, and volatile credit situations, along with stringent regulatory pressures and new operating models.
In this session, Joseph Craughan, Head Global Process & Service Owner O2C at Novartis, Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad, Market Focal Point Manager | GBFS – OTC Canada, BMS, and Damian von Wenczowsky, a Global Transformation Lead at Bayer, share their experiences on the evolution of Pharma O2C in the ‘new normal’. They discuss in detail how O2C leaders can future proof and strengthen their Shared Services with digital automation and analytics under disruptive circumstances.

Key Takeaways
  • Challenges in running shared services and managing the workforce in the wake of the pandemic
  • Future-proofing your organization to sustain and reinvent an agile shared service delivery model
  • How the new normal has accelerated adoption of digitization and emerging technologies in the office of the CFO
  • Focus on increasing efficiency through business process harmonization and enabling flexibility as per local requirements
  • Leading practices to implement in your shared services organization to optimize performance and enhance customer experience

[ 1:01 ] Chandler Wooley (Facilitator)-   

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Shared Services Tech 2021. And thank you so much for joining the session. My name is Chandler Wooley, and I’ll be the facilitator for today’s panel. Our panelists will be on mute. So if you have a question, please enter it in the Q&A section below your attendee screen. The recording of today’s session will be available next week. We strongly recommend that you visit the Shared Services Tech LinkedIn page, where we are encouraging multiple discussion threads and polls exclusively for all event attendees. But that being said, we now welcome you for today’s panel discussion format O2C in the ever-evolving normal, what experts prescribe for shared services. Our speakers today, Order-To-Cash, Shared Service experts Damian von Wenczowsky, Joe Craughan, and Moustapha Ould. Damian is a Global Transformation Lead at Bayer with more than 16 years of experience. He has an ambitious Solutions-oriented Senior Leader with a wealth of experience leading global transformation for business processes, harmonization and outsourcing integrated technology landscaping, organizational setup such as Division Salesforce, Global Business Services, and has enhanced customer experience and international complex and remote environments. Joseph is a Head of Global Process and Shared Service owner O2C at Novartis, who brings over two decades of experience chosen agile, thought provoking leader to diverse experience in finance, procurement, and supply chain, which is now reimagining or re-imaging, excuse me, commercial delivery with a consumer-centric mindset. Moustapha is a Market Focal Point Manager GBS Canada O2C at Bristol Myers Squibb. Is a unique combination of experience and project management and financial management, spending over 18 years in different industries, especially pharma, brokerage, and beverage manufacturing. So that being said, welcome everybody. The moderator for this discussion is Elaine M. Nowak, who is the Director of Product Management and Marketing at HighRadius, so Elaine’s stage is all yours.

[ 3:18 ] Elaine M. Nowak-    

Thanks so much, Chandler. Welcome, everybody; we are so happy to have you here today on this Monday morning, afternoon, evening, depending on where you are coming from. So let’s start off with our first question this morning. So pharmaceuticals as a segment were already facing numerous disruptions. Things like new treatment modalities, advanced analytics, new operating models, such as direct to pharma, new pharma companies were independently launching drugs, and all of this in consideration of the future of work. So how difficult was running shared services with the arrival of the pandemic? Were there challenges, things like scaling, maybe global spread may be siloed operations from Order-To-Cash standpoint, and let’s start with Damian.

[  4:13 ]  Damian Von Wenczowsky-

Welcome, everybody, and thank you for the nice introduction. So from our point of view, we had three topics would like to highlight and share within that community and session. The very first is really dependent on the new working, that means working from home, it took us nearly two months or so to stabilize the operations here; and that means we need a bit of time really to ensure that everybody is able to work from home or embrace respective devices and phones, but still, the change was significant, and we needed a bit of backup support. The next important topic I would like to highlight Is the balance between operations and projects. So we’re very much focused on the very beginning of the pandemic to get stabilized operations, which was at the core of our focus. And we needed then later on a bit of extra effort towards setting up continuous improvement, governance back as we did it, then also visually, the last important point is really to support by providing coaching activities to our colleagues to balance in a very efficient way, work and the private environment, which was also very important and still to be stabilized there.

[ 5:49 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

And Moustapha, your thoughts, what was it like working in your experience?

[  5:56 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-  

First of all, Thank you for the introduction. And thank you, Elaine, for the question. It was clear in the first days and weeks, as we were facing the unknown, unprecedented challenges. Then came the phase of adaptation. With the mindset of et’s face it, as it is our new ever-evolving normal and our operation cannot stop. Then, since we had been working over the last five years on improving our existing GBS, it was more urgent to solidify the process by questioning our model and rethinking. Is there a way it will fill the gaps in back-office capability and reduce stress in every sense of the word? The short answer is yes, practically this is the time where we will review our process and work instruction because we must focus on the analytical cross-functional process to align with product launches without operational disruption. It was the time to throw out some processes that didn’t help or didn’t help and engage in creative thought as to how to move forward with operational challenges. With the issues already identified as a painful part of the situation. The word found itself in that we had the ability now to streamline our GBS model, especially O2C, and to do something different in a very short time and keep the work progress mode.

[ 7:34 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Thank you for that. And thank you both for sharing. Let’s go on to question number two, future-proofing GBS operation, so pharma Order-To-Cash teams across the globe manage 1.2 trillion revenue annually. And even as we are facing an economic recession, there are issues around supply chain challenges. There may be increased regulatory oversight and just pressure to future proof work. What do you think were the two to three biggest concerns for the Order-To-Cash function, things like that, that maybe DSO that you are experiencing in this type of environment? And let’s start with Damian again, please.

[ 8:16 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky- 

Sure, thank you for that question. I think when it comes to the real challenges next to come, they are in the area of mindset. First, I think that means we were very much focused in the last years before the pandemic on Zillow process automation. And now it’s really time as we’re reaching more and more tipping points to utilize new technologies to go for an end-to-end perspective and respective approach. Saying that I also truly believe that with regards to mindset, we also haven’t gotten the opportunity here to elevate our GBS, so to say, portfolio, more foreign service point of view towards and consultancy view. I think we are creating a lot of data points when it comes to customer interactions etc. But we are not really utilizing those. So this, I think, is really something where it’s really a long way to go still. But that way can really provide a huge value add towards the business and our colleagues’ divisions. I also think that we need to put more on the customer-centric approach that means the customer-facing activities are more of our priority. That means when it comes to serving our customers with respective service elements and processes, and we need to rethink here I think along the way, which kind of processes we would like to keep in the long run in the shared service centers, and which maybe we could provide towards your partner.

[ 10:15 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Moustapha, do you have any thoughts in terms of, you know, pharma Order-To-Cash teams and concerns in this kind of environment?

[ 10:25 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-  

Yes, we do; we faced the reality of changing the order behavior and calculating specifically the DSO as the government has been heavily impacted in reviewing the inventory for hospitals and for clinics. So that’s imposed on us the reality of checking mostly the financial situation of the institution to make sure that we don’t have any bad debt or eliminate the bad debt as possible. And also, reviewing the calculation above of our DSO to make sure that it can sustain the high demand during the pandemic, we were very successful to be turning around all our models, especially when it’s when it came to audit to cash and making sure that all the product is delivered on time, and align our business new operation with the new reality that we faced.

[ 11:35 ] Elaine M. Nowak-

Thank you for that. So now, let’s go to question number three. There was an essential research study that had been done in 2019. It found that about 86% of pharma companies were experimenting with things like Distributed Ledger’s Artificial Intelligence, extended reality, and Quantum Computing Solutions. And I think that all of these kinds of approaches have only accelerated in this post-pandemic situation that we’re all facing. So my question is going to be to the two of you. Hopefully, Joe will be able to join us shortly. But how many of these experimental type approaches have you been seeing happening in the office of the CFO, the back office where the finance function processes take place, such as the Order-To-Cash? So this time, let’s start with you, Moustapha.

[ 12:27 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-   

Yeah, thanks; that is a very great question, especially in this time of uncertainty. The focus and interest have been mainly on how to automate the process, which obviously is based on AI extend reality, or Quantum Computing Solutions that are designed for flexibility to accelerate the implementation based on models designed for operational agility, working with a cross-functional structure, to have a robust system that supports working from home without disruption, to Order-To-Cash daily operation, we have succeeded to secure a lot of IT resources to help us facing the working from home reality, and to make sure that there is no disruption for all the two cash operations.

[ 13:20 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Very good. I think this is a very important operation so that we don’t get disrupted. Damian, thoughts on this, you know, these kinds of technologies? Have you seen them? And what’s your experience been during this pandemic?

[ 13:36 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-  

To build on that so when it comes to working from home, I think we also have a very robust and set. We had a bit of standardization faced in the very beginning, but the operations went quite stable after we faced that new so to say normal when it comes to accelerating new technologies, my observation is that we are doing a lot when it comes to implementing new technology which are enabling us to serve our customers more convenient so that they have twenty-four-seven access to the order portals our IT landscape is built on a really Go-To-Market strategy, which is really validated and energized when we call for our transformations in respective countries and pharma consumers division. So I think overall, we do have a good set of tools we are utilizing to one hand side, and two operations are running stable, on the other hand, to really elevate step by step and continuously.

[ 14:50 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Thank you for sharing that, Damian, appreciate the insights. So, now I think let’s see what our thoughts are with our audience. We’re going to be launching a poll question at this time, and we’d very much like for you to participate in the poll. So it should be coming up on your screen. What is the most important initiative for your A/R Shared Services GBS in 2021? Is it that you want to leverage your current model to drive further cost optimization? Is it that you want to bring more services into your shared services center?

[ 15:33 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Is it that you want to improve your SLAs with internal customers? Do you want to improve the customer experience? So again, if you could just actively do your poll, leverage the current model, drive optimization, bring more services, improve SLAs or improve the customer experience? Okay, so the poll will be done shortly. We have a bunch of questions coming in, and the responses are coming in. So thank you for participating, and it’s always great to get the pulse of the audience that we’re with and to see if it’s aligned with what the experiences are with those who are here with us on this panel. So I’ll let those that poll questions go ahead and run just a little bit more. And with that, I think we’ll jump over to our next question in a session, question number four. So with this renewed focus on long-term resilience and digital acceleration, what kind of changes have you seen in your companies? Has it become relatively easier to talk about process harmonization in an environment where we see a lot more focus on the CFO agenda? So Moustapha, let’s get your thoughts on this one.

[ 16:55 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-   

Thanks for that, very good question; by embracing the acceleration of digital transformation we notice the value of simplicity and rethinking of process harmonization versus standardization. One of the real positive impacts of COVID-19 is the focus on increasing efficiency. Through process harmonization. This momentum will continue certainly, post-pandemic, and is already setting the path for business process harmonization that involves a reduction in variations, with the objective to create a uniform business process across divisions or locations. While standardization entails moving forward, the eradication of any variation whatsoever. In a nutshell, yes, it became no more simple to talk with different stakeholders and with the different cross-functional teams about the harmonization than before. And it will stay for longer.

[ 18:01 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Damian, thoughts on this one as well harmonization, let’s say, versus standardization and what you feel like, has it become easier to talk about?

[ 18:22 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

I think now. You should hear me, right? Yes. Thank you. Perfect. So yes, this is indeed a very nice question, which is, I think, also very important. So as we started our journey five years ago, roughly, in Order-To-Cash, we set up global processes. We really deeply thought on how to go for, to say, the next level. And our approach was here. To establish and process standards globally, let’s call it a blueprint, and then go to the countries and conduct workshops and figure out how much that global blueprint is really matching. So to say, the local Go-To-Market approach. And we did that in the very beginning and a very sort of say transparent and open together with our partners and it turned out that we will not be able to implement global processes entirely and it led to the circumstance that we had also ended a huge and local deviation which was also fine. So this was definitely a very big success to build that up for the big divisions in our company. And we did that not only for the process landscape but also for the IT landscape. So we said also, a huge set of tools, you can think about OCR technology, VDI technology or even portal solutions. So, with that frame has said we then transformed our respective Go-To-Market approaches in our divisions, gaining efficiencies and improving respective Go-To-Market approaches. What happened in the last few years we as all of the cash departments we are now part of the supply chain, which makes a lot of sense to bring that to the next level and then ensure from their debt audit to cash and supply chain are also getting closer. So that we are not only managing cash flow as such but also respective delivery performance as one team. And to me, personally,the next development will be to bring those two processes into one, so to say, tool governance tool, where you have entirely respective transparency on the process and the process gaps in the operation so you can then develop and enhance from there.

[ 21:18 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Thank you, Damian, for that and Joe, welcome; we are so glad you’re able to overcome those technical challenges and join us today. So welcome, glad to have you.

[ 21:27 ] Joe Craughan-  

Thank you, Elaine. 

[ 21:30 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Yes, since you’ve been able to log in, I actually want to jump back to question number one because I just want to get your viewpoint in terms of the challenges you have faced from an Order-To-Cash standpoint and what you’ve seen in terms of the GBS if you don’t mind, Joe, just going back and responding to this,

[ 21:48 ] Joe Craughan-   

Sure absolutely. I think probably have seen three particular challenges, the first being business continuity management, the whole work from home integration with our BPO organization, and I suppose Business Continuity Planning for scenarios that we wouldn’t have taught before, for example, if 50% of your associates in a location were not available, how would you manage activity. I think the second challenge was alternative work from home, but more in a personal perspective, the connection for team and individuals to stay connected to have the right level of continuity, because as anyone knows, in the GBS organization, it’s a series of inputs and outputs, to deliver the overall service. And I think, speaking of service, the last challenge is that when many of us were working from home, we probably got used to various digital tools and then started to think more like consumers and when we think about data, GBS organization is how do we bring a consumer-grade experience to our clients? So I have probably seen the benchmark and GBS starting to move forward towards consumer-grade experience.

[ 22:59 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Yeah, and I think that’s something that’s not even unique to pharmaceuticals. I think it’s definitely something we’re seeing across organizations, just in general, where that experience of as a consumer and now the expectations are I’m with the same kind of instant gratification in the business world. And then, having said that to Joe, let’s just get your insights on question number two as well. Talking about future-proofing GBS operations, and if you had any roadblocks in terms of, you know, looking at the Order-To-Cash function, could you share what that might have looked like?

[ 23:31 ] Joe Craughan-   

Yeah, I think I mean, one of the things in Order-To-Cash is credit management. And one of the items we looked at even internally is how we can review our credit management to improve sales growth. So to have fewer orders going on the block, where in the past potentially it was unnecessary. So I think credit management is one roadblock that we started to look at the move from reactive to proactive credit management. I think the second area is looking more end to end. So moving beyond, let’s say, typical order cash, activities of the invoice, cash post invoice to really customer to cash, how as an enterprise we can partner with upfront, Damian mentioned supply chain management, customer service, but even going on that in into market access commercial operations from a pharmaceutical perspective, how you can establish those end to end forums really to deliver on enterprise solutions?

[ 24:27 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Excellent. Thank you so much. Okay, so now I’m going to jump back up to where we were, which was Question number five. Appreciate you’re getting on, just jumping right in. So here we are for question number five. And this question revolves around, you know, with all these changes that we’re seeing happening in pharmaceuticals and the processes, especially upstream, you know, things like platform based development for drugs and the use of artificial intelligence and things like research and development, you hear lots of talk about things like IBM Watson for doing diagnosis, you know, how do you see pharmaceutical? Do the Global Business Services centers respond to these changes? And do you think it’s doing so in a way that’s agile and effective? So, Damian, let’s hear from you on this particular one first.

[ 25:17 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

Sure. So my observation is that the colleagues in an area are much more open to listening to new technologies when it comes to new smart vendors in the market and respective platforms, and they are offering regards process governance, but also putting into processes respective artificial intelligence, this is something I’m observing now since months. What is still so to say lacking to go for the next step is that, let’s call it being bold and dare to go for a lighthouse program or project to really test small and then scale towards big towards a new, so to say, it can be a go-to-market approach, it can also be a new operating model. But in a nutshell, I think, and I see really, there is a big motivation to really go over that evolution, which I think is something very good. What I also observe and and and seen, and I can also speak for a year that we add our GBS centers when it comes to identity and really providing and service mindset but also delivering value towards our internal customers, but also external, that we have here an agreement made that we are gaining productivity a year towards a dedicated percentage level, that means our shared service center is working on innovation is working on RPA is elevating and sort of say our process, then skip to the next level independently from the business, which is a strong commitment to serving our customers in a more convenient and efficient way. So I really liked it, to see when it comes to developing and going for the next step. And I don’t know the insights of my colleagues in PSE, but I would also be interested to hear.

[ 27:33 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  Yeah, so let’s hear some additional insights. Joe, thoughts on 

this agility edge at the GBS centers in pharmaceuticals?

[ 27:41 ] Joe Craughan-

Yeah, it’s very interesting. I mean, I think, as an organization, we need to and its cross-industry, we need to pivot more towards customer-centricity. So you know, in the past, you had these PPO models or GBS models, which were very footprint-focused. But I think now that technology has evolved, we can think more about digital transformation, getting rid of those high-intensity resource churning transactional processes, using technology, or having better business partner discussions to avoid the need for those transactions. And then that also means by placing the customer interfacing headcount, whether that be with internal, external customers, have them closer to the businesses, whether that being in the country or the regional GBS organization, I mean, in Novartis, we, for example, we moved some activity from the US to India, we have seen that actually, it was wrong from a timezone perspective, that wasn’t enough time with our customer base there. So we moved back to the country, but we also, at the same time, saw an opportunity, where there were some transactional activities that, you know, improve the need for wire transfers and direct debits, we’ve seen an opportunity in that area to execute on those to offset the labor costs. So I think it’s a combination, but I do think that I suppose the baggage of moving footprint to lower-cost locations. That’s something that we need to move up the value chain and think about what value as a GBS organization can we provide our partners versus what costs can we save?

[ 29:24 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

That’s an interesting thought, the fact that you had moved it out of the shirts or centers, and then you moved it back to be able to pivot like that. I think that is super important in terms of agility and recognizing when something may not be working as well as you would like it to be. So Mustapha, I’m just going to see if you have any additional thoughts in terms of agility that you wanted to share with regard to this question?

[ 29:51 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-  

Yes, indeed, as my colleague mentioned, there was more interest in digital transformation, and we have been very keen at looking Add new tools for implementing EDI across the board for most hospitals and institutions, and also using OCR technology to find out the best approach for customer-centricity. By going through a transformation, for one checkpoint for a customer to be able to make or to place their order in a very efficient way. I can tell you that prior to the pandemic, all these tools were available, but it was very slow to implement. Because, you know, most of the time, it was not said with a sense of urgency. But now, after we are diving into the pandemic, we see the utility for the digital transformation that we have to face and to maintain the operation. And, of course, looking at what is useful for the GBS model to continue to grow with and to be sustainable for reducing operational costs.

[ 31:00 ] Elaine M. Nowak- 

Thank you for sharing those insights. So I think we’re going to move towards some final thoughts here, just in terms of, you know, the pharmaceutical industry, the Order-To-Cash processes, the impact of the pandemic. So, what would be your one main piece of advice to other GBS leaders who are starting on their journey? What would you tell them to do, prepare, make ready for? So Damian, let’s start with you. What’s that one piece of advice that you would give to other GBS leaders?

[ 31:33 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

Thank you, Elaine, for that question. So I think it’s very important that you colleagues who are joining exactly those kinds of sessions we do have today. So go for networking, screen, the market for new technologies, new tools, which will help you to govern your processes, or convenient, mess those observations towards your enterprise. And I cannot recommend copying and pasting from one company to yours as what is working in one company. That’s not mean that’s working. On the other hand, I recommend, on top of that, really to start small and then to scale. And what’s very important are two remaining comments, if I may add here. One is really to look from a customer-centric point of view, and the second half an open discussion with your peers, with your colleagues, which kind of services you want to provide in the future out of GBS. So what’s really core and non-core and that will help you to navigate the next months and years and then shape your strategy and concepts.

[ 32:45 ] Elaine M. Nowak-

Yeah, one size does not fit all. I think that’s a great one to definitely take moving forward. Moustapha, your thoughts? What was that one piece of advice that you would give to other GBS leaders?

[ 32:57 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-   

Good question. And stuff at the same time because, you know, different organizations have different ways of looking at the business and operation. The GBS leaders shall ask the question is our approach to GBS enough that they think one of the most important questions that they have to put in mind and to respond to. Then set the clock to bring imperative practices to live in their organization that falls into three broad categories, which I defined by setting the tone, laying the foundation, and unlocking the power of what I mean by setting the tone, strong leadership with a clear objective and alignment with a broader organization, laying the foundation means the governance structure and process design required to support the flexible influential GBS organization. And finally, unlocking value means basically a radical transformation that unlocks the real business value. So that being said, as Damian was mentioning, don’t copy-paste, but look at what has been improved and what can be improved in your organization to make sure that you can go ahead with the post-pandemic.

[ 34:19 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

It’s such a measurable value versus a miserable value. Yeah, making sure you can designate between the two, right?

[ 34:27  ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-   

Yes. And sorry, I have a severe allergy today.

[ 34:32 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

You’re doing fabulous. No worries. No worries. Joe, thoughts on this one piece of advice that you would give to other GBS leaders?

[ 34:44 ] Joe Craughan-   

Yeah, I think it’s a combination of what Damian and Moustapha said. I think from Damian’s, and I would suggest pivot towards a customer-centric mindset, which really means listening to the customer and listening to what their objectives are. And the second Can feeding into that, as Moustapha mesh mentions around the measurements is, you know what I see a lot of employees associate their objectives are kind of like tasks related to their job description when I believe they should be more outcome-based objectives aligned to the customer’s objectives. I think that helps to have the right conversations from that perspective. So I would say customer-centric mindset and outcomes-based objectives.

[ 35:33 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

So customers both internal and external, of course, yes. Yeah. Okay, so some great advice for all of the GBS leaders out there. I think at this point; we’re going to look to see if any questions have come in. I saw one that came in our chat. And it looks like Damian. I’m we’re going to ask the question, even as you answered a little bit here, the question was, was there anything like a customer portal type solution that was developed to enhance customer experience? So Damian, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your customer portal that was developed?

[ 36:10 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

So I’m very happy to answer that question. Because in one of the previous questions, I forgot to mention that we not only focused on process and it and cooperation models in our entire harmonization but also customer experience journey. And that means that we had a small dedicated team, which managed respective governance here. And when it comes to portals, we analyzed in the very beginning of our set of global blueprint processes and its landscape, how and which kind of technologies we should implement, and what we need to implement to ensure that we are also enhancing and improving our customer experience. And we know that we in pharma have different customer channels, we have wholesalers, we have pharmacies, so we have big customers, small customers, and we really find out for no surprise that it makes sense to build up a customer portal. And we did. And this was very much appreciated as our customers, especially pharmacies, found it very convenient to have 24, seven access through a respective portal where they can place the orders, late nights, or on the weekends solely independent from our customer service representatives. And on the second step, as I said, on the very first step, we focused on the audit-taking piece. And in the second step, we also elevated that tool towards financial services, as we got several feedback and big feedback and demand on getting invoices for PDF. So we added that functionality into that tool, which also helped us to decrease phone calls on our end, so customers stopped to call us asking us, where’s my invoice, and on the other hand, we then buy that really low effort activity, we increased customer experience a lot. So in that direction, I can say we built something very, very smart and nice. And our customers appreciated that. And before we even started to go with that to the market, we interviewed with few customers here when it comes to functionality when it comes to dashboard, setup, etc. So we have a very good starting point for them implementing the tool and towards the market. Okay.

[ 39:01 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Excellent. Yes, thank you. And Joe, did you have some thoughts there too, about the customer portals? Was that something that you had also looked at in terms of your GBS?

[ 39:11 ] Joe Craughan-   

Yes, absolutely. And you know, Damian gave some great insights there. You know, it’s important to conduct customer persona interviews, to co-create the design with the customer because I can share one experience with our largest customer. We spoke, we interviewed the responsible procurement person, and they said they wanted a portal. We went further up the chain. And they said, actually, I would rather something like vendor-managed inventory where you collect the supply chains together of both organizations, and therefore I don’t need a procurement department as such. So you know, it’s really important that before you go down the line of, for example, the customer portal is to have the right discussions. I do think there is a market there, but probably for up to 2025, I think it’s going to be more IoT Alexa, That type of scenario as well. So it’s really important to understand who you’re building for and what the life lifespan of that will be.

[ 40:07 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Excellent, Thank you for those insights as well. Okay, so we had another question that came in. And it was more around the evolution of GBS capabilities. And the question was, whether anything that you wanted to do that you were unable to deliver today, at least to this date, and if you were unable to deliver it, what is holding you back? So does anyone want to ask this question? 

[ 40:38 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad- 

I would take that question because I just have something in mind, while you’re asking the question. Yeah, the OCR technology is especially for hospitals, because you know, we have a large volume of hospitals in Canada, and we’re dealing with a very bureaucratic structure when it comes to all the processing for hospitals. And you know, Doctor, by all means, they have very nice handwriting, and the OCR technology, until now, it’s not really able to fulfill certain requirements that the doctors with their way of writing, can read. So I’m working personally on a project with the ASR technology with our IT team to see how we can find the best solution or approach for that. So that’s one of the challenges that we’re facing right now. Before the pandemic, there was no need for it essentially. But now, with a pandemic. And the high volume. And to back to Damien point regarding a part of sort of every client is looking for what the solution you can bring me on the table to make my order processing easily and by saying, hey, all the processing easily means that’s all the chain of this, the event after the order processing, which includes, obviously, the cash, the payment, the payment applications, and all other functions. So it is something that I think pharma companies will face at one day or another or in their lifetime, how to create a simple process using the digital twin technology available on the market to fulfill the customer-centric need when it comes to the government requirement and hospitals. In a nutshell, we’re working on it, and we hope that we will develop something robust that will help our client.

[ 42:38 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Excellent! Damian, Joe, thoughts on this one as well. Again, going back to GBS capabilities and something you were unable to deliver to date. 

[ 42:50 ] Joe Craughan- 

I think one thing was probably two elements. One is trying to create a nominee channel experience for our customers. What they are getting to is through portal email, through a person directly on the phone, etc., is that you know, all those channels come together and everyone has the same amount of information. I think that’s something we’ve struggled with, and we’ve looked at products like Amelia, etc., to help, which also might actually work from the staff on the OCR perspective. And really, what it comes down to is master data. Our master data is very poor. And we have seen as an organization, we’ve struggled to scale any digital solution because of master data. And now it’s starting to become a focus where we’re putting an enterprise master data framework around it assigning owners, but that’s something that actually took a long time to get on the right agenda. So master data today is probably one of our biggest barriers moving forward.

[ 43:55 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

That’s an interesting one. Damian, thoughts for you in terms of capabilities, something that you were hoping to have but not quite yet, and maybe what might be holding you back.

[ 44:08 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

I think we are beyond the tipping point in our industry to elevate our processes and Go-To-Market approach. The next level, what I do see is that technically we have external vendors in the market. We need a great chance to bring together core processing processes like alter cash with the supply chain, which is a great advantage as an operating point of view. We will face the future as we did in the past. Scenarios like we cannot deliver all our we cannot provide to each and every respective customer products because we are short on products this is happening because demand is increasing. Or you may have some production issues and a deposition process. Who’s getting what? It is really taking a lot of time and a lot of alignment cycles in the organization. So I do see a big chance to speed up that respective decision making, making that more reliable and more really strategic when it comes to executing. And before you can get there, you need to think about those solutions, and, and maybe different governance. You are running today, and this is the hard way to go. I know, and it’s, it’s totally new, but it enables, and it can really add a lot of value towards your enterprise, I truly believe, but it’s not that easy to convince colleagues to go in that direction.

[ 45:59 ] Elaine M. Nowak-   

Such as we’ve got handwriting, we’ve got master data, and we’ve got governance, all very important areas. Okay, so I think we’re coming up on time, but I’m going to ask one more quick question that came in. And ml can sort of answer this a little bit rapid-fire as we have just a couple of minutes left in the session. So what tools and technology? Are you investing in it? Moustapha tools and technology that you’re investing in? I guess, beyond the O2C with the handwriting of your doctors. Is there another area?

[ 46:32 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad-   

Digital Portal

[ 46:35 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

It is okay. So again, that’s another topic that’s come up earlier and focusing in there, Damian you.

[ 46:41 ] Damian Von Wenczowsky-   

We are very much focusing on the full-on implementation, so preparing for that and driving and creating the first concept here.

[ 46:51 ] Elaine M. Nowak-  

Okay, excellent. And Joe, just two quick tools and technology you’re investing in? 

[ 46:56 ] Joe Craughan- 

Yeah, I think the full end-to-end suite, the customer connectivity, as Moustapha was talking about, is as far from Damian and potentially HighRadius in the back-end.

[ 47:05 ] Elaine M. Nowak-    

That’s always good for us to hear. We love that. Okay, so I think that about wraps it up. Chandler, I’m going to turn it back over to you. I just want to thank our panelists for joining us today and for everyone who came out to attend our session.

[ 47:22 ] Chandler Wooley (Facilitator)-   

Yeah, thank you, everyone, for participating in this discussion today. And also, don’t forget to check out the Shared Services Tech event LinkedIn page to join discussions with fellow attendees. Again, the link is available in the attachment section on your screen. To learn more about HighRadius, feel free to reach out to our marketing coordinator Julie Dinh; her details are being displayed on the slide down at the bottom. Also, the next session for today is a roundtable discussion titled How Cargill improved working capital with digital transformation across 70 business units. That will begin at 9 o’clock central time. Again, thank you all so much for joining us today.

[ 48:03 ] Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad- 

 Thank you.

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