Outsourcing-as-a-Trial: How Pharmacy Leaders Today Are Choosing IT Partners

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Pharmacy IT and operations teams are more aligned than ever before – leading to significant gains in their digital transformation agendas. Due to a lack of industry expertise, many IT vendors are slow to catch up. As a result, pharmacy leaders are experimenting with vendor trials as a way to vet partners and maintain digital transformation momentum.

In the 2020 State of the CIO report, 89% of IT leaders report increased alignment between IT and operational groups, and a growing number of line-of-business executives acknowledge the role IT has to play helping to identify parts of the enterprise to transform.”[1]

Pharmacy leaders continue to look outside their organizations to fill talent gaps and fuel new projects. The resulting spike in outsourcing, however, has uncovered a problem: most IT vendors are still inexperienced in pharmacy business practices.

In 2018, 82% of healthcare IT departments signed new outsourcing contracts or were in the process of vendor selection. In that same year, the majority of healthcare IT leaders claimed to be most frustrated with IT vendors’ limited industry experience. Today, 80% of healthcare CIOs characterize their vendors’ ability to develop the right technology solutions for their company’s future needs as poor to fair.[2]

Why Are Vendors Slow to Catch Up?

Traditional outsourcing firms still largely adopt the “heads-on-sticks” approach: employing armies of people to simply “do the work,” focusing on individual tasks over the broader mission. Synonymous with offshoring, this method of outsourcing seems to favor lower costs, but vendors are far less likely to have industry experience, let alone the tools to add value as a partner in modernization.

In order to compensate, one path tech companies are taking is to hire industry expert consultants. While effective at the relationship level, many pharmacy organizations suffer a significant loss of knowledge once a project is handed over to a technical team. This causes project lag, increased costs, communication breakdowns, and other issues stemming from inexperience. Pharmacies are looking for partners who have deep technical expertise throughout the organization.

The Search for a Partner in Transformation (on a Trial Basis)

According to Forrester, IT service providers will increasingly differentiate themselves not just in their industry expertise, but in the assets they can deploy to accelerate a company’s transformation journey. The vendor’s new role will be defined by their ability to consult and service. Top performers will help shape change and will also work with pharmacies to measure outcomes, and, under certain circumstances, be willing to negotiate payment on the basis of delivering on their promises.

When selecting long-term partners, IT leaders are finding trial periods with vendors valuable. As a proving ground, a trial allows trust and confidence to build around shared objectives.

“You can successfully accelerate your firm’s real digital transformation by picking strong vendor partners with the right assets and experience.”
Spark Sustainable Innovation with The Right Transformation Partner
Forrester Research, 2019

A 5-Week Trial: from Outsourced Vendor to Strategic Partner

Leveraging 16+ years of pharmacy IT and operational experience, we developed RxIgnite, a 5-week trial program that takes the guesswork out of prioritizing digital projects and eliminates the bottlenecks caused by misalignment. Set the stage to optimize operations and open the door to scale your digital agenda faster.

RxIgnite is designed to help pharmacy leaders navigate the path to a more adaptive IT environment. Key activities include:

  • Business outcomes workshop
  • Technology gap and efficiency review
  • Improvement and automation opportunity roundtable
  • Comprehensive project roadmap design
  • Change management workshops
  • Project planning and prioritization based on strict ROI criteria

Through the RxIgnite program, pharmacies fast-track their paths towards an adaptive IT environment that has the potential to solve today’s biggest challenges – consolidation, margin compression, data reporting, regulatory compliance, and customer experience.

[1] https://www.cio.com/article/3452458/it-business-alignment-in-the-digital-age.html

[2] HIMSS Medication Management Technology Index 2019

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