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Gaining momentum in commercial digital transformation in Pharma



Bial is a mid-size, research-based pharmaceutical company. Their core strength is in development and innovation for Central Nervous System diseases. They also partner with other manufacturers to market and eventually further develop their licensed products. Their ambition is to achieve a level of (digital) excellence that will allow them to compete with other players in this field.

Their core audience consists of health care professionals (HCPs), patients, and pharmacies. HCPs spend between 9 and 15 hours per week online for professional purposes, using different digital channels and devices. The younger the HCP is, the more they engage on digital. HCPs want to easily share and digest content when they see fit. So there’s a gap between traditional pharma engagement methods versus the current needs of HCPs.

Bial made steps in digital transformation, but was still struggling to gain momentum. Bial asked Chapman Bright to partner with them, after they learned about the Chaploop™ methodology.


The first steps were to compile a broad perspective on the current and desired states of digital customer engagement. Based on that we defined the required organizational and technical capabilities to get to the desired state. For closing the gap, complexity versus urgency was used as a basis to identify the different phases and create a detailed roadmap per phase. This detailed plan ensured quick wins were achieved early in parallel.

Numerous stakeholders from around the world were interviewed individually and in groups. Common threats and opportunities were identified and current technologies were assessed. In addition skills and competencies were assessed. In parallel, methods were applied which energized those stakeholders to gradually gain that digital transformation momentum. One of those methods is to ensure people are heard and that they can contribute. Three events were organized with plenary sessions and breakouts. Completely online, due to COVID-19.

Rui Rodrigues - CIO & Global Information Systems Director - Bial “Having Chapman Bright’s guidance and support to design and plan our commercial digital transformation was a game changer.“


At a final online event we presented all findings and advise, which were first aligned of course, to all stakeholders. This included changes to the organization model. These changes were required to leverage the current momentum in the flying wheel. We also talked stakeholders through a multi-year phased roadmap with listed projects towards their digital goal. Everybody is super hyped. The main concern now is to make sure Bial can deliver its digital promise to internal stakeholders. But never before did they manage to get so much enthusiasm and momentum as now. The roadmap includes numerous digital projects (almost 20 were pitched by the business throughout our project), but also elements required for digital transformation, such as the SPEAR method. Bial is now at the start of many digital projects in which we love to continue to support them. Bial is extremely satisfied with our role so far. This is reflected in a 9+ average CSAT (where 10 is the maximum) from business unit directors, the CIO, and other stakeholders.

Ricardo Oliveira - Global Marketing Manager at Bial “The project was implemented according with the plan; good flexibility and capacity to adjust to client's insights; deep understanding of client's idiosyncrasies.”

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