Facilitating sustainable customer relations
Irsan Kooi on his internship at sanofi-aventis, May 2010
“Sanofi-aventis is a multinational billion dollar selling pharmaceutical corporation focused on fulfilling patient’s needs with innovative health care solutions. Spending over 5 billion dollar a year on R&D, sanofi-aventis is developing cutting-edge solutions in the field of oncology, cardiology, diabetes and more. These innovative health care products are being developed mostly in the head office in Paris and distributed to the local affiliates. The local affiliates on their turn are responsible for the commercial operations involved in addressing the health care products to the customer.
About the internship assignment
In commercializing these products, many efforts are being made to build relationships with drug prescribers and other stakeholders. In order to prepare, document and evaluate these efforts, a customer relation management-system is being used. For example, this system provides useful customer information, enables the sales teams to document their visits and evaluates how many drug prescribers has been contacted during the previous year. This customer relation management system is a crucial supportive tool being used very extensively by the sales force and marketing teams. However the current customer relation management system provides the sales force and the marketing teams with sufficient functionalities, some important business processes cannot be supported by the current customer relation management system.
In order to support building sustainable relationships with drug prescribers, a more intelligent and custom-made software system is being developed. Developing this software system, in this case a customer relation management system, involves clarifying the software needs of the internal users (read: sanofi-aventis employees who are really going to use the software), discussing the technical possibilities with the software developer and giving feedback to the internal users.
During the internship I discovered that developing such a software-system which will be used by over 150 people is a very extensive and challenging process. Designing the customer relation management system forces you to understand what the company is actually doing. Since the customer relation management system is a transversal act, it really forces you to collaborate with all the different departments and to get to know the company. Furthermore, designing the software system really broadened my horizon since it triggered my natural interest for Information Technology (IT). Eventually it caused me becoming interested in the programming language “Visual Basics for Application” supported by Microsoft. In the end, the internship showed me the importance of cooperation, broadened my horizon by introducing programming languages and showed me generally how a pharmaceutical company operates. “