Reinventing Consulting

Leaders at this biopharma giant didn’t set out to reinvent the way the company sourced industry experts and management consultants. But after eight years and more than 150 successful projects in functions as diverse as strategy, market access, product launch, lifecycle management, and digital health—across almost all therapeutic areas—it wasn’t hard to see the opportunity.

The company’s relationship with Business Talent Group (BTG) began in 2011, with a strategic sourcing project designed to help the procurement team streamline an inefficient, fragmented model for engaging agencies across its many global brands. Unlike traditional consulting firms, BTG gives clients access to a broad, dynamic marketplace of independent experts and consultants, vetting those we feel are best qualified to take on a project, yet leaving the ultimate choice with individual executives. For this project, our client, the director of strategic sourcing, selected a healthcare marketing expert with 10+ years of operating experience across the medical device, pharma, and biotech industries.

Over the course of the following years, other executives at the company took notice. The head of digital health engaged a product development specialist to synthesize patient insights and assess the competitive and technological landscape—and help the team craft a comprehensive drug delivery device strategy and go to market plan. The head of global marketing engaged a senior oncology marketing expert and former McKinsey consultant to develop a commercial plan for clinical decision-making technologies. In these projects, the company gained access to more targeted expertise, more efficiently, and at a lower cost than they would have if they’d engaged a Strategy, Big 4, or boutique consulting firm to do the work.

on-demand talent growth chart

No surprise, then, that the company’s use of BTG’s independent consultants soon skyrocketed. New executives reached out because they’d heard about the results their colleagues were enjoying. Within a few years, the company had built an informal roster of independent experts that understood its culture and could be deployed within a few days—individually and in teams—to support and lead projects in 12 different business functions and eight therapeutic areas.

By 2016, more than 20 of BTG’s independent talent were working with the organization at any given time, from project managers to PhDs and specialized therapeutic area experts to forecasting specialists. Their projects ranged from classic consulting projects, like the creation of a Central Nervous System (CNS) therapeutic area strategy, to interim roles that maintained business momentum when key executives were on leave. Each engagement delivered fast results on critical priorities.

BTG’s internal analysis has shown that using independent consultants and experts can save companies consulting costs an average of 35-49% on strategy projects and 31-47% on implementation projects. So when the company’s procurement team reached out again in 2019 as part of an effort to boost productivity and streamline consulting suppliers, we were excited to formalize a partnership.

This partnership has brought the company additional preferred vendor savings. It’s also helped increase engagement through training programs that ensure all executives understand how and when to deploy high-end independent professionals. The procurement team can track effectiveness with enterprise-wide KPIs about usage and success, while executives enjoy seamless access to experienced talent who help them drive better results and more value than traditional consulting suppliers.

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