GlaxoSmithKline picks up online collaboration tools for medical staffers

In an InformationWeek profile, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) touts the benefits of a new online collaboration system, including the savings on travel expenses and satisfaction of the pharma giant's customers.

The London-based drugmaker this year rolled out a pilot phase of two systems, one developed internally to allow sales reps to view the schedules of medical staffers and lock in appointments and another that combines external software tools for video and voice conferencing as well as screen sharing, InformationWeek reported.

With the systems, the company could stretch the availability of some 130 medical professionals who work with its sales force of more than 5,000 reps. Sales pros often tap their medical colleagues to answer tough questions from customers. The pilot phase availed the online communication tools to 70 to 80 employees, and the company aims to shave 25% off travel expenses of the medical team this year, Matthew Lasmanis, GSK's vice president of North America IT, told the tech pub.

GlaxoSmithKline is among a bevy of drugmakers that are seeking to use IT systems to streamline the efforts of their sales organizations. Yet companies have had to tackle the reality of launching new tech tools to large numbers of employees in a controlled manner.

"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 said, as quoted by InformationWeek. "There's always a level of change management you need to work though."

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