Why did IMS Health put its CRM system on an Apple Watch? Because it can

Company jumps on the latest mobile platform with RepWear and MgrWear for pharma sales forces

The just-introduced Apple Watch is still feeling its way in the marketplace, trying to address the question whether consumers will want to shrink the apps they use on smartphones to a 1.5-inch screen and performing the legendary Dick Tracy act of talking to your wrist. But IMS Health, now rolling out the Mobile Intelligence CRM platform acquired when it bought Cegedim Relationship Management combined with its IMSOne cloud-based, enterprise-level data and analytics platform, is pushing the edge of the envelope with a platform tailored for Apple Watch, called IMS HealthWear 1.0. HealthWear is initially being offered in two versions: RepWear (for sales reps) and MgrWear (for their bosses).

“In some ways, the laptop intended to replace the desktop, the tablet attempted to replace the laptop, and we are seeing some phones attempt to replace the tablet,” said Richie Etwaru, IMS chief digital officer, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (San Francisco, June 8-12). “At the core, the designs we are launching in our Apps for the Apple Watch built on IMSHealthWear 1.00 are meant to augment and improve the user experience of using our suite of existing applications on a mobile phone or tablet such as Nexxus Mobile Intelligence, etc. We believe augmentation enabled by wearable Apps creates a powerful opportunity for our Life Sciences customers to improve the performance of sales, operations and marketing teams.” Pharma sales teams will be able to view sales and performance data, team metrics and other elements of Mobile Intelligence, while making use of Apple Watch’s capabilities for scheduling, mapping, lookups and the like.

It takes some interpolation to see what is going on, since Apple Watch itself is still in a shakeout stage of public acceptance. But the general parameters of HealthWear seem to be: scaling down the screens that are customary in Mobile Intelligence to provide meaningful information to the viewer (a process IMS Health calls “glancification”) and figuring out what communications, ranging from simple text messages to charts, to phone conversations or the “taptic” nudging that the Apple Watch performs (by vibrating against one’s wrist in a variety of patterns) are desirable between reps in the field, their managers in the home office, and business contacts.

IMS Health is organizing a user group around its Watch apps, and leaves the door open that those apps might also migrate to the variety of Android smart watches currently on the market.