Using Content Benchmarks to Drive Change

Life sciences organizations want to take a more data-driven approach to measuring the effectiveness of their content creation process. They have established and tracked internal KPIs based on a wide range of metrics. They can see how their own operational performance changes over time and that’s a good thing. Yet something was missing because companies couldn’t compare their performance metrics to those of their industry peers. They were unable to see where they were ahead of others in their industry—and where they were behind. They needed practical benchmarks for their processes to drive real change.

Company-specific, complex KPIs and self-reported surveys have not been able to address the need for an apples-to-apples comparison between peers. Life sciences organizations need data on actual performance.

What actual performance data could be helpful? How about data on how much content is being produced, how long it takes for that content to get into medical, legal, and regulatory (MLR) review, and how long it takes for approval? Or data on the average number of review cycles? Even that might not be enough for some companies. They might need data broken down by peer group, region or country, company size, content type or therapy area.

So imagine this: Getting data that shows that the average time needed to approve a particular kind of asset is 21.2 days, and knowing that your company takes 28 days to do that. The difference could indicate that your process is not optimal and give you a foundation for change.

PCM charts_Approval Timelines_update 2022

Identifying important content metrics

Each company will have a slightly different view of which metrics are most important. Some may find that the detail on content production time is more informative because it can help them to better prepare and plan promotional activities. Other companies may find country-specific data to be more useful.

Take the example of an enterprise company based in Europe. The headquarters team believed that its approval process was slower than that of other companies but didn’t have any data to support that assumption. Industry benchmark data provided by Veeva Pulse showed what the benchmarks were for different content types and different regions.

This analysis confirmed what the company had suspected: Its global content process was, overall, significantly slower than that of its industry peers. The data showed that the company was taking much more time to get content into and through reviews than comparable companies elsewhere.

Yet some of its local markets didn’t follow the pattern. The headquarters team reached out to the markets that had faster approval times than their peers to leverage their expertise and best practices. In doing this, it discovered that there were repetitive steps in its global approval process and, as a result, some teams were reviewing content twice. The company is now in the process of redesigning its approval process and making a huge gain in efficiency.

Establishing a content benchmark matrix

To begin the improvement process at your company, it may help to think of content as a four-part matrix: global process, best practices, content type and process deviations. In each, content metrics can help to identify bottlenecks and show companies where there are best practices that can be adopted. It can also help you to gather information on comparable companies, content types, or therapeutic areas.

Such an analysis may show that the process for approving corporate communications or training materials is very effective, but that the company is a bit behind the industry on email and digital sales aids. It can help pinpoint adjustments that could be made in the approval process for certain content types or certain channels. It can also help a company to analyze deviations from a process: It could show that the review time for a particular kind of content in a particular region is faster not out of greater efficiency but because the content team there is not following your mandated process.

Technology will advance benchmarking

What does the future of content benchmarking hold? Data technology is advancing, and more companies are embracing modular content by creating separate blocks of text or graphics that can be reused in new materials with a potentially faster review process. Next-generation metrics will need to provide insights on how much time will be saved by the adoption of modular content and other benefits of reusing previously approved content. There may be new content types and new channels, and life sciences companies may need to benchmark their content processes in more areas. Content analytics will need to keep pace with all of these changes to continue delivering the insights that companies need for the optimal process efficiency.

Learn more about Veeva Pulse data and how it can help you to benchmark and improve your processes.

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