Information technology, policy  

Successful medical device companies use CRM and KM

7 June 2006

London. A new strategy review from healthcare consultancy HBS Consulting concludes that poor information and cumbersome processes can seriously hamper the sales and service operations of medical device companies. The report, Customer Relationship Strategies in the Medical Device Industry — The Role of CRM and Knowledge Management, shows how the winners in this field are implementing systems and strategies that give them a clear competitive advantage in many key areas.

Throughout Europe the dynamics of purchasing are changing dramatically. Clinical efficacy is no longer the sole driver of choice. Increasingly, pricing, as well as the need to meet guidelines and conform to protocols, hold sway. Clinicians no longer keep the keys to the coffers. The new gatekeepers are administrators and committees that manage purchasing agreements and heed the organisational needs of national healthcare systems.

New realities must be met with new strategies. In this case, the twin
disciplines of customer relationship management (CRM) and knowledge management (KM). The HBS Strategy Review shows, in detail, how the most successful companies are implementing new CRM strategies to leverage their knowledge and customer relationships.

For many companies the knowledge they need exists within their business. What they lack are the resources to capture it, manage it and capitalise on it. Leading companies, such as Siemens, have put in place systems that seek to detect new trends in customer preference and purchasing habits. Powerful analytics of this kind can only become a reality when data is warehoused in a central repository to which all parts of the organisation contribute. When all the business units who need it have access to this information, in real time, the benefits begin to accrue dramatically.

Such competitive advantages, the report shows, are not just a matter of software and systems. It details the changes in corporate culture that are required to take full advantage of CRM and KM. The report also places emphasis on methods of identifying the barriers within the enterprise, which prevent the adoption of appropriate strategies. It stresses that improving knowledge and relationship management requires a 'champion' of the process who acts upon a clear and direct vision, based on goals that can generate a visible return on investment.

The bottom line for the companies who get it right is the ability to deliver an improved customer experience, to accelerate innovation, to predict the course of change, to drive down costs and to increase revenue.

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