Novartis needed a technology platform to help it deliver engaging user experiences.
Without a unified technology platform, updates were costly and time-consuming.
Drupal, Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Cloud Edge
Novartis achieved increased engagement on platform-enabled websites; users are spending more time on site learning about Novartis products and healthcare providers and their patients are effectively accessing critical information.
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. The company delivers high-value medicines that alleviate society’s greatest disease burdens through technology leadership in R&D and novel access approaches. In its quest to find new medicines, Novartis consistently ranks among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. About 103,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work together to bring Novartis products to nearly 800 million people around the world.
Novartis needed an enterprise technology platform capable of helping the company effectively deliver highly engaging user experiences. They sought to build a new strategic U.S. Innovative Medicine (USIM) web platform to support its digital engagement program for U.S. Pharmaceutical products.
The Novartis enterprise web landscape for product sites in the U.S. was tremendously fragmented across multiple platforms, with widely divergent approaches and capabilities and varying levels of technical debt. This led to frequent uncertainties in the level of effort and time to market for new properties.
With no unified technology platform, cross-portfolio website updates over hundreds of sites were extremely costly and time-consuming. Additionally, individual web implementations were localized to specific brands, so the broader web portfolio lacked sufficient governance and coordination to ensure that the site met best practices like web accessibility, site speed, and data security.
Finally, the lack of a centralized design system meant retaining consistency in look and feel across Novartis’ sites posed a serious challenge. With no single enterprise technology platform for its websites, the company lacked the agility and ability to harness economies of scale to offer true next-generation web feature sets across its site portfolio.
Novartis recognized that it needed to create a new USIM platform that would allow the company to enhance user experience and application performance and fundamentally improve user engagement by facilitating a path to enhanced functionalities like personalization and martech stack integration.
Novartis OmniChannel Web partnered with EPAM on a multi-year journey to build the new USIM web platform. This shift to a new Drupal-based platform allowed for the efficient development of high-quality websites on a secure, stable, and scalable CMS foundation.
A decoupled architectural approach — employing a bespoke and flexible React front end to serve as the glass atop a Drupal 9 Layout Builder-driven content creation back end — allowed the implementation of a consistent design system and user experience while allowing the teams to leverage the common functionality, integration patterns, and APIs built into the custom Drupal platform.
Previously, Novartis’ new application or feature development involved little to no initial user research, lengthy timelines, and a tremendous amount of up-front investment that wasn’t always tied to solid business cases, with minimal feature reusability. And the company didn’t widely perform impact measurement, meaning its "big bang" releases often resulted in web products with low user engagement and unclear (or unknown) customer impact. Working with EPAM, Novartis adopted Agile practices and an incremental product development mindset. The company embraced a new voice of the customer and user testing regimen, ensuring that its web experience fits the audiences’ needs.
Having cross-functional team members working together between business and technology has resulted in more innovative thinking, effective collaboration, and sustainable solutions. EPAM held an in-depth, rapid discovery session to fully understand the Novartis team’s needs and goals and took a “green field” development approach that meant the group was open to any suggestion or solution – nothing was off the table.
By focusing on bringing these ideas to life via minimum viable product (MVP) releases and continuous improvement, the teams have been able to learn directly from real user experiences and adjust relevant CX approaches more rapidly to better meet their needs. Continuously checking in with customers has led to the conception and implementation of more effective Novartis web solutions that patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) alike are more likely to use and rely upon.
The Novartis USIM platform has become a model within the larger Novartis organization for how a design system can seamlessly integrate with Drupal to build a decoupled front end. The new platform allows Novartis to create new or move existing websites in a standardized design framework built on extensive user testing and research. Since introducing and encouraging an agile product team mindset, both Novartis and EPAM teams have collaborated closely, enabling a deeper shared understanding of business objectives and leading to the development of solutions that successfully meet or exceed customer needs. These highly collaborative ways of working minimize time spent in feedback loops, leading to more efficient development cycles and more functionality delivered in each sprint.
As a result, Novartis is seeing increased engagement on platform-enabled websites — meaning users are spending more time on site learning about Novartis products and HCPs and their patients can more easily access critical information.
Novartis Pharmaceutical product websites are a valuable resource during a patient's journey toward the care and treatment of a broad spectrum of conditions. Measuring site effectiveness allows the company to continuously tailor how it supports patients in their journey while helping them find the medicines they need for a better quality of life.