Archive for June, 2012

Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen the slow, incremental incursion of computers (and the web) into the daily lives & workflows of both patients and healthcare providers. And drug companies. And everyone else.

Computers (and the Internet) are now ubiquitous. Just try to imagine life, and work, without them.

Watching the evolution of processor speed, interface design, enterprise apps, web technology, wireless access, and ever-shrinking form factors has been fascinating, perhaps even painful at times. Then the iPad showed up.

Two and a half years ago, when the first-generation iPad showed up, I predicted it would be a game-changer for healthcare; but frankly, the rapid adoption rate by doctors, patients, and provider companies (including pharma) has taken even me by surprise. The uptake, even in regulated industries, has been phenomenal.

Which means we now need to step back and ask a very important question: Is the mobile computing device destined to be the new (inter)face of healthcare?

My answer is a resounding “Yes” for one simple reason: smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the new interface of life and business. Period. End of story.

Within 2 years, portable devices will take on the mantle of “first-screen” status – that is, more people will be accessing digital-everything through mobile devices rather than through desktops. And that trend is accelerating, not slowing down. Already, about 62% of U.S. physicians are using tablets (mostly iPads, currently).

Quibble with me if you wish (you do have every right to be incorrect, after all!), but let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that personalized mobile computing devices will be the interface of life, business, and (therefore) healthcare.

If that is so – and I’m now turning to address my friends in pharma/biotech/med device companies – who is redesigning your entire business infrastructure and customer experience to reflect this inevitability? Anyone?

The “face” of your company to patients and doctors has traditionally been a human face (sales reps, for instance) – but we know where the field sales model is heading. The digital noise of broadcast TV and websites and banner ads – these models are all based on non-mobile computing approaches. The new channel is in the pockets of our customers – all of our customers.

This transcends being merely a training, or sales, or marketing, or technology issue. This is much bigger. It is fundamentally an interface issue. The entire healthcare information and delivery cycle will become “mobilized.” For the smart life sciences companies, that means at least one sure-bet avenue for competitive advantage – get ahead of this trend. Even if you have to take a go-slow approach to social media, the mobile interface is not going to be optional or off-label. It’ll be first-line.

And don’t get hung up on Apple vs Android, etc., etc. Flavors and versions are secondary. The inexorable mobile trend is primary.

Person-to-person contact will never lose its importance in healthcare (or life, or business). But when you look at how patients and doctors and administrators and caregivers and news outlets and everyone else is interfacing with information and with each other, the writing is on the wall. Or, more accurately, on the tablet. And the new “writing” is digital, multimedia, personalized, real-time, geographically aware, and mobile. It’s the new normal. Today.

As the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky put it, you need to “go to where the puck is going to be.” That place is in customers’ pockets. If you’re not in the process of thoroughly mobilizing your business, you’re already behind.


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through our unique trusted referral network. Need something? Ask Steve.

Learn more about us here.

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What do you need? If you’re in healthcare/life sciences training, communications, marketing, and compliance – whatever you’re looking for…

Here’s the bottom line: contact me, and through the constantly-growing Impactiviti network (vendors, colleagues, healthcare professionals, digital marketers, consultants, etc.), I’ll seek to connect you with the people and providers you need.

Put me on speed dial (973-947-7429 – reaches me wherever I am) and tell me what you’re looking for. My business is to save you a ton of time and hassle, and to provide brainstorming, sound advice, and recommendations. No sales pitch. Just connections.

Great resources and good advice are everywhere. With the Impactiviti Network, we make it one phone call (or e-mail) away. Connecting you to vendors, job opportunities, key industry leaders.

Whatever you’re looking for, ask Steve!

(did I mention it’s free to tap into the Impactiviti Network? Well, it is – you can ask me how we do that when we talk!)


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through trusted referrals.

Learn more about us here.

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There’s been an underlying theme that I’ve noticed in a lot of my interactions with pharma training clients lately, especially coming out of the recent SPBT conference.

Nobody has time to grasp the bigger picture.

We have air traffic controllers, and coaches above the field in pressboxes, because somebody’s got to be looking at the bigger picture. And regularly relaying crucial information to the decision-makers. Right?

Interacting with many industry clients (and vendors!), I field questions like this all the time nowadays:

I can barely keep with what I’m supposed to be doing – what are others in the industry doing?

“How can we develop a long-term digital strategy?”

What will be roles of micro-learning, apps, legacy eLearning, and LMS systems in the coming 2 years?”

We’re rolling out these iPads – how are all of these fast-moving digital advances (together) going to re-shape our sales approach?

Our company has always done training a certain way – is there a strategic approach that makes more sense and saves time and money, using new technology? And how do we plan for culture change?

Then, there’s the whole issue of looking into the future, and seeing how it should be shaping decisions we make today. Who has the time and expertise for that when you’re trying to run a department??

These aren’t one-shot-deal consulting gigs with all the answers neatly wrapped up in a slide deck. This is dynamic, guided, creative evolution. That’s a different kind of consulting.

Most vendor/providers are focused on a narrow set of solutions to sell, and can’t really provide an unbiased outlook – while most clients are under pressure to make immediate and tactical decisions that often don’t reflect a bigger-picture perspective, or a more holistic strategic approach. It’s a combination that leads to short-term thinking. And, a lot of mistakes.

Attending a conference once a year, with a sprinkling of occasional webinars and blog posts, isn’t going to fix this. Particularly for Directors and VPs of Training, I’m seeing the need emerging for a Strategic/Digital Advisor – not a full-time insider role, but a retained industry-aware outside consultant who can provide ongoing perspective and expertise in a time of rapid evolution. Someone who is not advising with the built-in bias of a vendor/solutions provider, but who can help determine what providers (and approaches) are actually needed. A role that pays for itself many times over by ensuring that costly mistakes are avoided and optimal approaches and providers are selected.

I’ve done plenty of consulting on smaller-scale strategic and digital initiatives (training, marketing, communications), but this higher-level input seems to be where I’m getting increasingly called in. It’s a recognition of the need for longer-term planning and strategy. I’m concluding that this type of consulting will be a main Impactiviti focus (for a select handful of clients). Shameless plug, I know – but it’s a great “fit” for what I do best!

What do you think? Are you seeing, and feeling, this same strategic tension?


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through trusted referrals.

Learn more about us here.

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A bunch of new job openings have landed on-line – here’s what’s available for you or someone you know:

Director, Professional Education and Sales Training, Paradigm Spine (NYC) (emerging medical device company)

Senior Associate, Learning Systems, Daiichi-Sankyo (NJ)

Senior Manager, Leadership Development, Daiichi-Sankyo (NJ)

Lead, Primary Care Sales Training, Daiichi-Sankyo (NJ)

Manager, Virtual Classroom, Daiichi-Sankyo (NJ)

Associate Director, Market Access Training, BMS (NJ)

Manager, Learning and Development (Consumer), Pfizer, (NJ)

Associate Director, Learning and Development, Celgene (NJ) (Medical Affairs)

Manager/Associate Director, Oncology Clinical Training and Development, Novartis (NJ)

Manager/Sr Manager, Compliance Training, Novartis (Emeryville CA)

Director, Oncology Field Medical Training, Sanofi (NJ)

Senior Director, North America Compliance, Sanofi (NJ)

Senior Manager, Diabetes TrainingSanofi (NJ)

Training Specialist (Senior)Sanofi-Genzyme (MA)

Manager, Sales TrainingSanofi-Genzyme (MA)

Commercial Capabilities Training Specialist BiosurgerySanofi-Genzyme (MA)

Director, Sales Training and Field Development, Merial (Animal Health) (GA)

Product Training Manager, Boehringer(OH)

Senior Associate, Medical Training and Development, Boehringer (CT)

Associate Director, Organizational Development, Boehringer (CT)

Associate Manager, R&D Team Training, Allergan (CA)

Your company can get unique and targeted exposure by listing Pharmaceutical Industry Job Openings through the Impactiviti Talent Network – just $295 for a 30-day listing, with broad exposure through the Impactiviti network and leading on-line job boards!

Learn more: The Impactiviti Network – hire pharma talent faster!<== (and please feel free to forward this document, with your recommendation, to your HR point of contact!)

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection pharma e-newsletter to get news and resources in your inbox twice a month!


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through trusted referrals.

Learn more about us here.

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That’s how I feel after every SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) conference, and this year was no exception. It is the most intense networking week of the year for me.

Now, after a weekend to recover and reflect, it’s time to recap. In no particular order, here is what struck me:

1. The venue, Hyatt Regency New Orleans (next to the Superdome downtown), has been beautifully re-done after Katrina. The layout of the three main floors we used was as confusing as could be (one of the employees called it, “our beautiful labyrinth”), but the exhibit areas and workshop/keynote rooms were all close together. That’s a big plus.

2. All three keynotes this year were excellent, each with a different, challenging focus. Michael Gelb was thought-provoking on how to think like Leonardo DaVinci – emphasizing the need for creativity (and attendees were given the opportunity to receive signed books by the author). Michael Abrashoff has a very impressive story about the role of leadership in turning around an under-performing Navy crew – rich lessons that could be immediately applied (and, signed books given away). Daniel Kraft did a NJ-speaking-speed fast-paced overview of where healthcare technology is heading – this fascinating topic should be covered at least once every year, because we all need to know where the puck is going. I would say that Gelb was the most skilled and entertaining presenter; Kraft was trying to cover too much at his lightning pace; and Abrashoff’s pacing and transitions weren’t quite up to the level of the quality of his story. But each session was high-impact and seemed very well-received by the audience.

3. Whoever thought of bringing on song-a-day-guy Jonathan Mann to compose a fresh song each day, performed before the keynotes, is a genius. His nutty songs (and visuals) about compliance and iPads got the audience rollicking. Great use of humor and creativity. Weird red shoes, but hey, that’s part of his shtick!

4. The SPBT organizers are in the midst of a 2-3 year transition bringing the organization and its events into the new era, and I saw significant progress in that regard this year. I loved the fact that the board members had advance-invite breakfast discussion sessions with various stakeholders. The iPhone/iPad conference app was a cool and well-executed addition. The SPBT booth area was spacious and designed for stand-up or sit-down meetings in a relaxed, New Orleans-themed setting. New growth and services ideas are on the table, and having had many discussions with SPBT leaders of the past years, I am confident that things are heading in some very productive directions, which will be even more evident next year. Kudos to Kevin Kruse and the entire team.

5. Exhibit traffic – sigh. This is a perpetual concern, and having been a vendor in the hall for 10 years (and a free-range consultant for six), I know that there are major ROI concerns when traffic seems light, as it did this year. Most (though not all) of the vendors I talked to were lamenting the downtimes, and the less-than-stellar traffic during the breaks. I wish I had an easy answer to this dilemma. I did provide some “guided tours” for clients who wanted targeted introductions to specific vendors and I’ll probably ramp that up more next year.

6. Food – this was New Orleans, where flavor and calories reign supreme! I don’t think anyone was going hungry. I was actually fearful about getting back on the scale when I got home. One small complaint – coffee and snack availability wasn’t as easy as I’ve experienced in past years.

7. Networking, for me, was exceptional this year. I enjoyed rich discussions with: Ceci Zak and her Sanofi colleagues; Paul Silverman; Bonnie Luizza; Mike Capaldi; Bob Holliday and the B-I crew; a number of folks from Genentech (including the engaging Carrie Schaal); Deborah Reid; a slew of friends from Merck (thanks for allowing me to scatter you during the Networking workshop); the Ferring crew (whose office is maybe 10 minutes from where I live); Vicki Colman; Dawn Brehm and Carol Wells; Debi Limones; John Sjovall and all the fine DSI folks; Chuck DeBruyn and Dawn Sidgwick; Dennis Merlo and Jim Trunick (true industry veterans!); and many more. On the vendor side, it was old-home week again, getting updated with so many friends made over the years, and seeing what new offerings are coming into play. I also got to lead a workshop session on Building Your Own Professional Opportunity Network, and that seemed to go rather well. We could have easily used another hour, I bet – especially with the in-room networking we sought to apply immediately!

8. Technology – well, there were iPads. Oh, and iPads. Plus, a lot of talk about iPads. Here’s the thing: just about every pharma sales force seems to be using or heading toward iPads, and hardly ANY companies really had a cohesive and comprehensive strategy (let alone digital infrastructure) in place before starting to roll them out. So, it’s time to backfill all this neat stuff with clearer vision and strategy. That will be an Impactiviti focus over the coming year.

9. There was a broader variety of workshop sessions this year, although I attended fewer of them than usual (preferring to spend additional time in the exhibit hall and in private meetings). The ones that caught my interest demonstrated the use of iPads for transforming live meeting events – essentially, replacing all paper. Some pretty cool stuff out there. A lot of the iPad apps rolling out are still first-generation level, but looking into the future, it’s quite fascinating.

It’s a tough time for pharmaceutical sales forces, and training & development departments. There have been a lot of cuts, both in personnel and in budgets. But this is a resilient group, and it’s good to see that SPBT is evolving into a more nimble and entrepreneurial organization. We’re going to need that mindset as we move further into this decade of change.

Oh, and here’s my blogevator pitch: if you’re bewildered by the plethora of potential vendors (and technology solutions), call Impactiviti (973-947-7429). You have plenty to do for your day job. My job is to find you the resources you need.


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through trusted referrals.

Learn more about us here.

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At the upcoming SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) Conference, I’ll be delivering a workshop on Building Your Own Professional Network (Workshop Period 1, Tuesday morning).

In Part 1 of this brief series, we looked at the fact that personal/professional networks outlast your role in any particular company. In Part 2, we considered the massive multiplying factor that comes from having a quality network.

Today, let’s consider this fundamental perspective about networking: The Gold is Everywhere.

Gold (valuable information, resources, connections, insight, new opportunities) is scattered throughout every room of people, every company, every organization, and every digitally-enabled network. And in order to mine that gold, we need a strategic approach to connectedness that will enable us to listen, learn, speak, and evolve. Think of your job on two levels: the responsibilities given you by your current employer; and your personal and professional responsibility to build quality relationships. Gathering gold.

Do you actually believe this? A long-term approach to building a professional opportunity network is fueled by this perspective. It becomes part of your DNA.

Social media is predicated on the notion that more connections with more people communicating with less friction will create more value – because the rich ore is distributed, not centralized.

The gold is scattered out there everywhere, not just within our department and company. And the individuals that have the humility, wisdom, and foresight to build a people-network approach to professional growth will mine more of it than others that cling to outmoded notions of some kind of corporate safety net.


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about us here.

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