Helping Two Pharmaceutical Titans Merge

Case Studies Innovation + Transformation Work Culture

When two life-saving drug development companies on opposite ends of the world merged, a smooth transition process was critical to ensure the continuity of their world-changing research.

When two drug development companies on opposite ends of the world merged, leadership had to make critical business decisions—quickly. The innovations made by these two leaders in drug development lead to the discovery of cures for critical diseases, saving and improving lives around the world every day. What’s more, their business choices and practices affect the daily working lives of their combined 80,000 employees across the globe.

Transforming Process, Maintaining Productivity

In order to retain their innovative edge and global impact, the companies had to figure out a way to seamlessly integrate their more than 20 business systems into one agile, dialogue-friendly process. The long-term goal was to address the growing drug development pipeline with process optimization, improved data flow and technical tools—this meant a major disruption to their former process—all of which had to be accomplished while guaranteeing business continuity.


Implementation and integration of this magnitude performed incorrectly could have a significant impact on morale and productivity. This enterprise knew it needed experts in change management and communications to ensure an almost seamless transition for their business.


Better Together

Fortunately, this is where Future State excels. Working closely with cross-functional leadership, we designed and implemented a sophisticated change management plan across key segments of the company to ensure business continuity for employees and, critically, avoid research disruption due to the merger. This plan consisted of change management, communications, stakeholder engagement, and sponsorship activities for 20+ systems impacting 80,000+ stakeholders managed in the company.

A central component of a change of this magnitude is the many individuals who are involved and must buy into the change. Rather than simply working to “sell” the team on the change, we listen to input, challenges and concerns, determining the real ways we can help organizations mitigate potential negative impact. The people impacted by this merger were prepared and business continuity was maintained. This effort laid the foundation for adoption of new systems and new ways of working: understanding end-to-end business processes associated with clinical study management; supporting mindset and behavior shifts for organization-wide data flow and management; and developing an innovation program, innovation workshops on clinical trials, and launched programs. Taking innovation and integration to the next level, we also delivered web-based dashboards with information and KPIs needed by leaders to support better decision-making and portfolio management—a tool for leadership from both organizations to really see the impact of the systems integration.

Smoothly Managing Colossal Change

In the end, our experience in managing colossal-size change and integrations helped this merger happen smoothly and successfully. We maintained business continuity throughout the integration of 20+ systems in less than a year, with users feeling prepared and ready for change. We reached consensus on clinical study management process and created a map for the process. We created a fundamental shift in how an organization manages data flow. Finally, we set the foundation and established the tools necessary for innovation, including developing dashboards that dramatically improved visibility of key data to senior leadership.

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