How we helped a major pharmaceutical group to overcome the shortage of IT skills

Businesses have to constantly adapt to stay competitive. And to do this, they need the best skills available, both in-house and externally.

For one of our clients—a key player in the pharmaceutical sector—sourcing the best expertise represented a real challenge for a considerable length of time. But by choosing LittleBig Connection as its partner, this major Lyon-based group was able to switch to a more integrated organizational model with more efficient sourcing. In this article we take a deeper look at the various aspects of this transformation.

Pre-2021: Multiple challenges in terms of skills management

The need for overall management of intellectual service purchasing

Our client, a world leader in its domain, has built its success by combining talented in-house teams with large numbers of specialist external service providers, covering a wide range of areas from the upgrade of its information system to the enhancement of its production chain, not forgetting training, marketing and accounting.

However, managing such a large volume of external experts (several hundred) is not without its complexities. Before partnering with LittleBig Connection, there was no centralization of intellectual service purchasing, resulting in a lack of control and problems with optimization.

The challenge posed by the shortage of IT skills

Like many large groups, our client relies on IT experts, both on a technical and a functional level. However, the skills market is highly competitive, particularly for leading-edge technologies such as SAP and Salesforce, which are used extensively by this pharmaceutical company.

This has been a long-term headache for the internal managers having to source the right experts for their projects, exacerbated by certain factors which are seen to reduce our client’s attractiveness:

  • Its out-of-town location
  • The rigorous regulatory framework and apparent complexity of the pharmaceutical sector

The need to draft in “new” expertise

This player has chosen to innovate in terms of project management by investing heavily in change management, an emerging discipline that promotes the adoption of new practices and technologies within organizations.

This department has rapidly evolved, reaching 30 people in just 3 years. However, the scarcity of change management skills, particularly in and around Lyon, has made it difficult to attract and retain qualified experts. Prior to our collaboration, staying ahead in this area was a sizable challenge.

Since 2021: Comprehensive support for optimized skills management

Two complementary solutions

This major pharmaceutical group decided to trust LittleBig Connection to solve all its issues with purchasing intellectual services, and we have been supporting it in this area for almost three years now.

This support can be broken down into two main areas:

  1. Control: We deployed our LittleBig Rise all-in-one platform with our client to allow them to manage and control all their external services—amounting to several hundreds of assignments—from a single location. Everything from contractualization to follow-up and billing, is now centralized to give buyers and operational staff greater control and visibility.
  2. Sourcing: We shared our community of over 450,000 experts of all types (freelance, consultants, digital service companies and umbrella organizations) with our client via our marketplace LittleBig Connect, and we are now supporting them on a daily basis to find the expertise they need.

The human-digital alliance

In addition to an innovative interface, our client now benefits from the personalized support of a dedicated team. In particular, there’s an account manager who fully understands their needs and maintains trusted relationships with their operational staff and experts.

So, what makes the difference?

  • Our experience in sourcing, which helps us to find the best suppliers for our client by targeting profiles which have experience in the pharmaceutical sector or in other highly regulated sectors such as banking or heavy industry.
  • Our privileged relationship with communities of consultants in the Lyon area, particularly in cutting-edge sectors such as change
  • Our ability to promote the organization and our client’s projects to attract the very best talents, highlighting for example the welcoming, family feel of the group, as well as its extremely innovative projects.

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A winning partnership

Now, 100% of our client’s IT services are managed on our Rise platform, and 40% of the experts brought in are contracted directly with LittleBig Connection, whether they are freelancers, digital service companies or umbrella organizations. The average length of assignments is 18 months, and the average daily rate is around 550 euro, in line with market prices. Dozens of expert specialists have been sourced thanks to our Connect service and the work of our teams, around ten of whom are in the Change Management business unit where sourcing challenges remain particularly strategic. Lastly, although the vast majority of assignments currently take place in France, we’re already helping our client with around a dozen projects in the USA. And it may well be that this international aspect soon takes off.

In any event, we are determined to continue supporting this major group in managing its skills, with a single aim: to help it always find the right expert at the right time, in the right place and, of course, at the right price.