The story of how H. D. Smith, a pharmaceutical distributor since 1954, transformed its business to the digital world and expanded to providing innovative services and solutions is remarkable. Progress in strategic business transformations always takes place outside of people’s comfort zone, so it requires excellence in leadership to drive extensive change. The firm’s leadership team understood several years ago that the pharmaceutical business would go digital; but as I described in part one of this story, the firm had underinvested in its IT environment and wasn’t positioned to succeed in a digital world.
In my blog on part two of this story, I shared how the company leaders invested heavily in technology and people who would be able to help the firm get to its vision for the future. This involved changing mindsets, business models, philosophies about people, going through a painful process of paying down a huge amount of technical debt, investing heavily in SAP and people, and putting building blocks in place to pave the way to the vision.