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For the first time in three years, we witnessed a sold-out Dreamforce return to the streets of San Francisco. A celebrity lineup including Matthew McConaughey, Simone Biles, and U2’s Bono came to share their stories, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined Dreamfest. 

But the real Dreamforce magic happened on the show floors and in the theaters. We introduced new products, including Salesforce Genie, and customers across all industries showcased what real-world digital innovation looks like – and how they use Salesforce to achieve it.

I had the pleasure of leading one such session, Unlock Innovation with MuleSoft and Salesforce Customer 360, where we looked in behind the scenes of three leading global organizations, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Unit, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and a global pharmaceutical company. Each industry leader showcased their latest digital innovations using API-led strategies. Our partner Accenture also joined us to discuss how they delivered value to these projects.

AstraZeneca Rare Disease Unit, Alexion Pharmaceuticals

Although Alexion Pharmaceuticals was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2021, Alexion has been fighting rare disease for over 30 years. They began utilizing Salesforce in 2015, starting small and expanding with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to manage relationships with Healthcare Professionals (HCPs). In 2018, they took their practice to the next level and adopted an API-led strategy when they leveraged another Salesforce product, MuleSoft, and have been on a digital innovation tear ever since.

Harsh Soni, Associate Director of Enterprise Digital Integration at Alexion, spoke with us at Dreamforce about how an API-led strategy has reduced their technical debt. In fact, today they have a reuse rate of 89%, which enables his team to create incredible digital advancements. 

These accomplishments include unlocking a new channel of communication for their stakeholders, creating a 360-degree view of customer communication preferences, transforming clinical trial integration, and streamlining employee operations. Notably, while most API strategies involve unlocking and integrating siloed data, Alexion went beyond this scope and built a brand new digital capability. 

Harsh walked us through an innovation called “Dr. Connect”. This project allows Alexion to create a new channel of communication, which allows them to reach customers on their preferred channel. 

Harsh explained that over 90% of customers (HCPs) in Latin America communicate on WhatsApp, a channel not approved for commercial use within the company. Therefore Alexion’s Sales teams were unable to contact these physicians. Dr. Connect uses APIs to create a secure and compliant communication portal that interacts with WhatsApp. This allows Alexion to finally reach Latin American customers on WhatsApp without having to use the messenger app on Alexion’s side. 

As we learned from Harsh, their approach of bringing MuleSoft together with their communication platform unlocked a specific capability, simplified access to it, and productized it across the organization. The infrastructure for the channel came from the communication platform. The complexity of dealing with it was masked by MuleSoft via a simplified API interface, allowing for real-time communication between a customer’s WhatsApp channel and Alexion’s field communication portal. This project just launched successfully in Colombia and will soon be expanding to Brazil.

A leading global pharmaceutical company

The other big pharma company to join us on stage prides itself on using cutting edge technology to meet their customers’ and patients’ needs. This organization initially partnered with Salesforce to expand its customer-centric strategy, and following one of the largest pharmaceutical acquisitions in history, looked to MuleSoft for a best-in-class approach to integration with reuse in mind.

The Sr. Director of Enterprise Salesforce & Application Development for this company walked us through their 1.5 year partnership withMuleSoft. They have since achieved a 50% API reuse rate and continue to deliver innovative projects at incredible speeds. Some of these innovations include modernizing their clinical trial management system (CTMS), processing electronic medical inquiry requests (eMIRs) in near real-time, creating a 360° view of customer consent records, and optimizing their risk evaluations mitigation strategies (REMS).

The guest speaker gave us a front-row seat into how and why the organization needed to modernize its clinical trial management system (CTMS). CTMS is the heart of clinical operations and key to the R&D process. 

After the historic M&A event, they had to integrate two of the largest clinical trial systems in the world, each consisting of multiple internal systems. Ultimately, in just 20 months they created a single source of truth for clinical data, making their clinical trials more efficient than ever before. Using MuleSoft, they were able to more seamlessly handle their mergers and acquisitions process, something point-to-point integrations struggle to achieve. 

In partnership with Accenture, they used MuleSoft’s technology and best practices to implement a center for enablement (C4E) to create a governance and operating model designed to optimize reuse between the merged companies. This allows them to significantly decrease lead-time to sending clinical data to downstream systems, clearing the way for new and exciting innovations to come.

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Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security. Accenture’s 721,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. Accenture has partnered with MuleSoft since 2008 and has more than 4,500 trained and 2,200 certified MuleSoft professionals providing support around the globe. 

We spoke with Managing Director Rich Sherman on the ways Accenture brings value to customers like AstraZeneca. Rich noted that for their Life Sciences customers, Accenture focuses on helping customers drive value with their HCPs and patients. They also have a key focus on building accelerators on MuleSoft to better connect Salesforce Health Cloud with an ecosystem of partners to provide a seamless patient experience.

What really stood out is when Rich walked us through a three-step process that he has seen deliver successful digital innovation for Accenture customers. These three steps create a snowball effect whereby each consecutive project becomes easier, faster, and has the potential to deliver more value: 

  • Develop a value case and identify a starting point leading to the most value; for instance, the APIs and integration that create a foundation for reuse.
  • Drive configuration over customization so you can move quickly and effectively.
  • Measure the value realized from reuse, and use it as a catalyst to reinvest back into the integration program. The average MuleSoft customer has measured a 64% increase in productivity, 78% faster time-to-market, and 74% lower operational costs.

MuleSoft’s partnerships are valuable assets for delivering business initiatives efficiently and at scale. MuleSoft’s technology and Accenture’s processes result in a future-proof foundation capable of unleashing and sustaining innovation at speed no matter what the future holds. 

Looking to learn more? Find out how to enhance the patient experience and expand your knowledge about MuleSoft Accelerators for Healthcare and Life Sciences. Lastly, don’t forget to join our webinar where we discuss how to unlock unique patient experiences.