Case Study: Developing Agile Champions of Salesforce Change

Case Studies Healthcare Technology

How a people-first model makes big innovation work — even amid agile development, multiple technology solutions and thousands of stakeholders.


In today’s medical industry, busy medical professionals must be able to rely upon up-to-date, well-integrated data to ensure the right medicines get to the patients who need them. So when a major pharmaceutical leader needed help launching its next-generation patient assistance portal and case management tools, our purpose was clear: to help more patients get the medicines they need, swiftly and reliably.

Building the Right Solutions

This pharmaceutical industry leader’s vast network overhaul comprised many components — multiple tech systems, network integration and data migration, to name just a few — and would take place over the course of several years.

We knew a multiyear, multilaunch agile development rollout would be no simple task, and we would need to find a way to maintain the attention, engagement and adoption of thousands of stakeholders over long stretches of time. To start, we collaborated to develop a communications network designed to ensure that people throughout the organization were informed and invested in the success of the project. Working with an agile development model focused on two-week sprints, we collected ongoing input and pushed development forward based on that input.

We also knew it was critical to understand how the systems were experienced by end users, so we conducted thorough external and internal usability studies, observing and gathering input on prototypes from nationwide healthcare practices and internal users of the case-management tool. This discovery helped us understand usability concerns and apply them immediately into the agile development process with confidence and clarity.

“It was critical to leaders to honestly navigate stakeholder expectations, so initial bumps in the road weren’t perceived as system defects.”

Building Change Leadership Skills

Our people-focused change-adoption model meant we worked together to build a structure for sustained change, focused on building change leadership skills with the project team and leadership first. The changes weren’t led by Future State; rather, we empowered change leaders within the client team who acted as the project champions. Our executive sponsors shared the vision for change, and change leads ensured business needs were met and supported teams through multiple changes successfully.

We also helped cross-organizational departments establish communication channels. Business and IT worked together to build a robust and extensive change network and kept a constant funnel of two-way communications and feedback alive to stay aligned on features and functionality from the two-week agile development sprint cycles and solve emerging issues.

As development entered the final stages, we got thousands of stakeholders ready for rollout. We partnered to ensure alignment on tactical readiness activities such as process maps and training. We developed launch communications to accurately set the right expectation for what users should expect and how to get help. It was critical to leaders to honestly navigate stakeholder expectations, so initial bumps in the road weren’t perceived as system defects.

Ready for the Future

Ultimately, we wanted to create a people-first, super-charged engine that knew what the business needed, what was important for change adoption, and why sustaining the change long-term was critical for patient outcomes. The initial successful launches were just the first step to modernize the technology foundation. The team is now gearing up for what new services patients and customers need next. Because the organization took change seriously as a core competency, they now have the means and the ability to continue hitting the mark with Salesforce and other tech applications and process changes to continue to meet the needs of patients into the future. This means more people getting medicine that improves their lives, more easily and quickly. And that’s the ultimate success story.