GlaxoSmithKline Clicks With Customers Via Collaboration Tools

The pharma company is using a suite of voice, video, mobile and document sharing apps to connect more efficiently with customers. One of seven profiles of IW 500 Business Innovation Award winners.

Kristin Burnham, Senior Editor,

September 5, 2013

2 Min Read

2013 InformationWeek 500

2013 InformationWeek 500

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With about 130 medical staffers supporting 5,000 sales reps at GlaxoSmithKline, the two teams needed a better system to get work done than relying on phones, email and time-consuming face-to-face consultations.

The pharmaceutical company began evaluating technologies halfway through 2012. The main requirements included video and voice capabilities, screen sharing, easy scheduling that doesn't rely on email, and scalability across platforms, including iPads, smartphones and PCs.

GlaxoSmithKline developed an application internally that lets sales reps log in to see the availability of medical team members and submit a request to reserve time to meet with customers.

For the remote communications piece, Glaxo chose a package of externally hosted software -- which it named Engagement on Demand -- that combines mobile, voice, video and document sharing. For example, when customers have questions beyond a sales rep's expertise, the rep will connect those customers to Glaxo medical pros over videoconferencing.

In a pilot of the two systems earlier this year with a group of 70 to 80 employees, the initiative reduced the amount of time it takes to connect Glaxo medical professionals with customers. The company also expects to cut the medical team's travel costs by 25% this year, says Matthew Lasmanis, VP of North America IT.

Glaxo's Lasmanis and Fusco

Glaxo's Lasmanis and Fusco

Customers find digital interaction" really valuable" says Lasmanis, demonstrating Glaxo's collaboration tool with project lead Leeann Fusco

"We learned that just because capabilities like video and screen sharing exist in the mainstream today doesn't mean that's going to be easy to implement," Lasmanis says. "There's always a level of change management you need to work though."

The pilot was also important to test the IT team's hypotheses about how truly useful the collaboration tools would be.

"From the feedback we've received, I think we've proved that with some tweaks, digital or virtual interaction is something that customers find really valuable," Lasmanis says.

More valuable than the tools they implemented is the notion that Glaxo is keeping up with the rapid pace of technology and customer expectations, Lasmanis says.

"That's something that's always been important to us."

Go to the InformationWeek 500 - 2013 homepage

Go to the InformationWeek 500 - 2013 homepage

About the Author(s)

Kristin Burnham

Senior Editor,

Kristin Burnham currently serves as's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and, most recently as senior writer. Kristin's writing has earned an ASBPE Gold Award in 2010 for her Facebook coverage and a Min Editorial and Design Award in 2011 for "Single Online Article." She is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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