In the late 1990s, Wyeth was faced with the daunting task of establishing a global business enterprise. The organization had to not only install complex business processes but also, and of equal importance, the firm was tasked with transforming the corporate mentality and culture to an acceptance of the significance of globalization. Individuals often become entrenched in the status quo and established processes to the point that they are resistant to any type of change. Globalization, though, was crucial to the success of a firm greatly concerned with cost cutting and innovation within the pharmaceutical industry, such as Wyeth. The information technology organization within Wyeth was integral in providing a path to globalization and in presenting compelling evidence as to the global corporate benefits. The IT department’s most important contribution to the globalization of Wyeth was the establishment, implementation and reporting of the corporate IT group highlighted by the regional support center concept followed by the critical information sharing that ensued as a result of the enterprise resource planning efforts.
The regional support centers (RSCs) were vital to the global success of Wyeth. The pharmaceutical industry is difficult to navigate on a global level due to its unique nature of legislative mandates and business processes. It is very difficult to create standard procedures on a country to country basis because regulations vary on the manner in which products can be produced, marketed and sold. This nature of the industry made a single corporate IT group controlling and overseeing all areas of the world an unreasonable and ineffective approach to global information technology within the enterprise. It would not be a manageable practice and would strip too much control from particular regions. The RSC model provided a means to institute standardized approaches yet maximized local resources while adhering to regulations. The model also allowed for a reporting structure to the corporate IT group which assisted in identifying the best business initiatives and maintained accountability on a global level. By having all information technology applications run through the corporate IT group, Wyeth created a foundation for the firm to rely on during and after the globalization process.
The implementation of an ERP system during the global undertakings was briefly discussed in the case however likely proved to be crucial to the future success of Wyeth. The transactional information that can be organized and adapted to the firm’s future strategy is very valuable in the pharmaceutical industry. The accounts receivable, accounts payable and inventory management information leads to excellent cost cutting measures. Pooling information on a global level allows for management to practice better informed decision making and helps determine which proposals to pursue. Creating information management systems also forced a normalization of data across countries. In order to properly utilize the transactional data, it was necessary to first manipulate the information in order to have comparative use. While this task was challenging and proved to be difficult in gathering proper support, its value soon became clear in generating profitable projects. Behind the structure and contributions of the expanding IT group during the globalization of Wyeth, the firm was able to become a greater force in the industry.