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Sanofi chooses Native to develop iPad app

Published: 12 March 2012

When one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies recently approached Native to develop an iPad application for its sales force, the cogs of the Native wheel started turning and a world-class app was the end result.

The Sanofi Aventis ‘PSR’ (Sales Reps) team is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with doctors nationwide. They are a vital ingredient to the success and distribution of the products to be dispensed across the country.

The team traditionally worked off printed materials and brochures to distribute information about the company and its latest products. Native was tasked with facilitating the migration of the PSR’s working process into the digital realm, a process known as detailing.

Native was asked to develop and test an e-detailing iPad app which would cement Sanofi’s name as a true innovator as this would be the first e-Detailing app of its kind in Africa.

Among the many reasons the iPad was selected was the potential it offers to introduce multimedia into the detailing process, allowing for presentations to be far more engaging. The app also allows for the rapid deployment of new content and material. The overall aim was to modernise a mobile workforce in order to increase their productivity and efficiency. The app would initially cover a few key Sanofi products, the first two being Targocid and Epilim.

“We knew the overall success of the application would rely heavily on the quality of the user experience for both the PSR’s and doctors,” says Farai Madzima, Native’s user experience designer.

“Sanofi Aventis opened their doors to Native by allowing us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in their business and culture. This was important as it allowed us the chance to gain a better understanding of the context in which the app would be used, supported and managed. With ‘User Experience’ at the core of Native’s strategic model, we conducted in depth ethnographic research in the field with PSR's in Johannesburg and Pretoria,” says Madizima.

The wealth of knowledge gained enabled Native to build a rich model around the work done by PSR’s. The research helped shape how the iPad app would make them more effective in the field and make their day-to-day lives easier. Some of the key factors that influenced the design of the app were the management of client/ doctor relationships; and the organising and distribution of the latest drug and therapy information to be shared with clients/ doctors.

“We built and tested a pilot version of the app known as Sanofi+, which was delivered in November of 2011,” says Madzima.

Upon completion of the app, Sanofi saw even more potential in rolling out the e-detailing application across their entire product range and workforce. This roll out is scheduled to take place throughout the year. The app also won an innovation award at the global Sanofi conference in January.

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