This is the third post in my series on Distributed Content Management. In my first post I defined the term and used a few examples while doing so. My second post, Great Examples of Distributed Content Management In Higher Education, expanded on the first example of a large university. In today’s post we’ll explore the second example - a global pharmaceutical company - and once again discuss some great use cases for Distributed Content Management.
Setting The Scene
Pharmaceutical companies, more than companies in many other industries, must carefully consider all elements of their content lifecycle. Providing correct, approved content to both healthcare professionals and consumers is of utmost importance and, as such, web content in the pharmaceutical industry must undergo stringent regulatory review and control. This requires consistent management across all digital properties and, for larger companies, that can be hundreds, or potentially even thousands, of websites and channels globally.
Use Case 1: Efficient Regulatory Review With Content Publishing Workflows
At first, the idea of Distributed Content Management may seem somewhat counterintuitive to how pharmaceutical companies work. (In previous posts we’ve used it to explore empowering content creators and overcoming bottlenecks to content publishing - challenging concepts to tout for such a regulated industry.) However, I’ve also opined that content approval and publishing workflows must be tailored to the specific use case.
Consider a web publishing workflow that allows medical-legal reviews to take place within a Content Management System. In some web systems this requires a multi-tiered platform wherein a “staging” version of the website - an exact copy of the real (“production”) website on which content changes have been staged - is made available for regulatory approval before the content is made available to the public. While this is certainly more efficient than sharing offline documents, a deeper consideration of the technologies used can increase the efficiency and further control its risks.
Some Content Management Systems, such as Drupal, allow content approval to take place on the production website, controlling the visibility and publishing of content through user authentication and roles instead of requiring separate “staging” websites. By mapping the appropriate roles to regulatory affairs, pharmaceutical companies using this approach can save costly and timely deployments of new content to the production site and free up the resources required to manage multiple copies of each website.
Use Case 2: Controlled, Single-Source Content Deployment
For some pharmaceutical content, decentralized content publishing may not be an appropriately-sized solution. Some content is not only highly-regulated but also highly reused wherever products are marketed and is therefore best suited to be updated, approved, and disseminated from a central source. Important Safety Information and Indications, for example, are types of content that a pharmaceutical company may choose to publish only through a centralized content repository.
By establishing policies that all content editing must occur in the content repository, with individual websites disallowed from making changes locally, companies may avoid the need to have regulatory approval workflows on each of those sites and ensure that important information is updated in a timely and error-free way across numerous sites. Content syndication is a fascinating opportunity for organizations considering Distributed Content Management and I’ll explore some of the available technologies, such as Acquia Content Hub, in later posts.
Use Case 3: Multichannel Brand Content
Single-source content syndication also provides an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies looking to promote their consumer products across multiple channels. Let’s use e-commerce as an example. Many companies choose to employ standalone, all-in-one e-commerce systems such as BigCommerce, Demandware and Magento rather than integrate e-commerce stores into each of their individual brand websites. This makes a tremendous amount of sense: these systems can provide a number of compelling features such as gift cards, coupons, centralized inventory management, and opportunities for cross-selling other products among the company’s brands. However, because these stores are independent of the main brand website, they too need to display content such as product descriptions, use and dosing information, ingredients, etc.
By programmatically providing that content from a content repository to the e-commerce system, pharmaceutical companies can eliminate the risk of entering information directly into the store and potentially make use of the streamlined regulatory control processes they’ve already set up for the brand sites.
Use Case 4: Content Delivery To Validated Audiences
In addition to marketing content, pharmaceutical companies maintain large amounts of HCP content - information intended for healthcare professionals. What content is available to these professionals, how they’ll access it, and how to validate the identity of a user seeking that information
is another key consideration for a pharma company’s Distributed Content Management strategy. A common approach is to segregate HCP content into regional “portals” - websites that require medical professionals to create accounts and login to see the information for their country or part of the world. To overcome the challenge of validating these accounts, companies often integrate with an Identity Provider (IdP) such as DocCheck or Cegedim that specializes in maintaining national registries of healthcare professionals.
However, having a number of disparate system integrations dependant on which country a website is intended to serve introduces both the overhead of managing multiple bundles of code - sometimes written in entirely different programming languages - and the opportunity for error in integrating the wrong code for the intended region. Because of this, some global pharmaceutical companies may choose to build a more centralized approach to validation and registration using an integration platform such as Mulesoft Anypoint Platform to amalgamate the different Identity Provider code bundles and provide simultaneous access them all through a dedicated Identity Management system such as Janrain.
We will continue exploring use cases for distributed content management for the next few posts before moving on to discussing some prerequisites for companies looking to implement Distributed Content Management.