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did a core-competency analysis—to make sure it wasn’t just two guys in a garage, but to understand how deep was this hook that they claimed to have. After all, we’re putting our name on this project; I need to be able to go in front of senior management and say ‘We believe you can do this, and here’s why.’ After that, we were able to tell them, ‘These are the exact areas you should be working in, because it builds on hooks you’ve already got.'”
If that sounds like the kind of analysis a company ought to be able to do on its own, well—executives are busy people. “I can tell you, when I was in industry we did a good job but we didn’t have the time, manpower, or internal funds to create a bullet-proof strategy,” Glorikian says. “You’re busy managing your P&L [profit and loss statement], and people are breathing down your neck for the next quarter’s numbers, and you don’t have the time to step back and say ‘Wait a minute.’ People hire us for an objective opinion.”
They also hire Scientia for the company’s experience and connections in the life-sciences business. Glorikian says the firm’s consultants spend part of their time conducting internally-launched studies aimed at understanding specific markets; one team, for instance, swept through China and India recently, interviewing officials at hospitals and rural clinics to understand how those countries are deploying new medicines and medical technologies. That’s knowledge the firm knows its clients need. “All of our clients are global, and everybody is asking us what’s going on in these emerging economies,” Glorikian says.
As Scientia’s consultants have traveled, they’ve formed relationships with practitioners and subject-matter experts in many of the industries the company covers—people who are willing to consult with the consultants about any question that Scientia’s clients might have. The firm recently formalized this network into something it calls ScientiaNET—“a proprietary, rapidly-growing network of more than 10,000 experts on life science tools and technologies, medical devices, diagnostics, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, functional foods, and regulatory issues,” to quote a Scientia press release circulated last week. Members of the network, who are paid by the hour, are available for custom-made electronic surveys, roundtable discussions, and other engagements.
I can’t name many consulting firms that have a stable of 10,000 experts on call. Nor can I think of one where profit isn’t necessarily the only bottom line. “One of the underlying goals for Scientia is that we want to change healthcare,” Glorikian asserts. “The way we are going to do that is by providing clients with fact-based, rock-solid information. We are not creating their product, but if we give them the best information and they make the right decisions, we have indirectly changed things….Anybody can push paper around. We want to actually make a fundamental difference in people’s lives.”