Who's the best in business-process outsourcing?

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2015

Accenture, Cognizant and PwC more or less tie for their capabilities in life sciences sales & marketing consulting, says IDC

IDC’s analysis poses current capabilities (y axis) against vendors’ alignment with industry’s future expectations. Market share is indicated by the bubble size. Credit: IDC

IT consulting

is a premium service for life sciences companies, and within that, consulting on sales & marketing might be second only to financial process outsourcing as a priority for the industry. In its annual IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Life Science Sales and Marketing Strategic Consulting 2015 Vendor Assessment (Doc #HI258970; available for purchase), released late last summer, IDC Health Insights (Framingham, MA) ranked strategic consulting firms in their respective strengths and capabilities. Drawing on analyst assessments and customer surveys, IDC ranked Accenture, Cognizant and PwC more or less at the top of the heap (Fig. 1), with Cognizant and PwC having roughly equal market share.

IDC’s criteria for both the topic and the methodology bear mentioning: this report characterized “strategic consulting” as distinct from “IT outsourcing” and “business process outsourcing” (all three of which, to varying degrees, are offered by most of the companies in the analysis). Strategic consulting itself includes “all process design, system design, platform design, system selection assistance, go-to-market strategy, management consulting, regulatory compliance consulting, enterprise technology strategy or transformation, and other types of related strategic services.”

Geographic breadth is another factor in the evaluation, as well as a challenge to the consulting vendors as well as their clients: the extent to which “willingness to contract with clients under a risk/profit-sharing contract model” is feasible.

Overall, IDC has estimated that the sales & marketing IT spend is over $3 billion annually (consulting as well as IT products themselves), and growing at a 4-5% annual clip. “What is considered ‘core’ to the business in the life sciences is shrinking, and more of everyday operations have become fair game for externalization,” concludes IDC’s analyst, Eric Newmark. “However, while the breadth of outsourcing expands, the number of vendors capturing the business is contracting. Life science companies are looking to contract with fewer firms than in the past, particularly firms with deeper industry expertise and those willing to put more skin in the game through increased risk-sharing and profit-sharing type contractual agreements.”

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