How Pfizer has Scaled RPA to Deliver Breakthroughs that Change Patients’ Lives
The automation team helps in maximizing our resources, allowing colleagues to focus on more meaningful work as opposed to repetitive manual tasks which help us bring medicines to the world faster.”Namita Pande Enterprise Automation Team Intake and Portfolio Lead
Pfizer’s/BioNtech tremendous success in their “moonshot” effort to deliver an innovative and effective COVID-19 vaccine has made Pfizer a global, household name. This record-time “light speed” achievement could not have been possible without Pfizer’s intensified focus on digital automation – fueled more recently by the urgency of the pandemic.
In 2018, Pfizer launched the Enterprise Automation Services (EAS) team, which was tasked with “making work faster and easier” – with a goal to automate 75% of transactional processes by 2021. Initial successes included streamlining transactional processes such as certain Financial, HR and Manufacturing activities as well as adverse event data processing.
After the success of automation in the back office, the EAS team began exploring ways for digital workers to perform tasks with a more patient-focused impact. One such example includes the introduction of automation in the clinical trial process to reduce the time spent in processing large amounts of clinical trial process data.
Pfizer found a novel way to use Blue Prism to process large volumes of clinical trial data – allowing colleagues to process the data ~88% faster with this intelligent automation for support. Pfizer has also deployed digital workers in the capacity of processing product claim source validation. It is the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies to validate the source of any public claims made about their products. Given the global nature and complexity of Pfizer’s business, this validation was a manual, time-consuming process. Using automation, Pfizer’s EAS team successfully reduced the cycle time of this process by almost 35%. In addition, the consistency and quality of the reviews have improved. In fact, digital workers are saving Pfizer 30,000 hours each year on this process alone.
“Automation has enabled us to quickly and compliantly process the European case safety reports associated with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. With an exponential increase in volume due to the vaccine, the Safety team needed to ramp up to meet the demand. By leveraging digital workers, they were able to expand their bandwidth quickly while ensuring quality at a lower cost.”
-Namita Pande, Enterprise Automation Team Intake and Portfolio Lead, Pfizer
The Enterprise Automation Services team, and Pfizer as a whole, have achieved tremendous success with their digital workforce. Through the hard work and innovative thinking of Pfizer’s Digital organization, the company has given 500,000 hours back (annually) to employees, providing more time to “drive breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.” The EAS team continues to find repetitive tasks to integrate automation where it will have a meaningful impact on the organization.