2013-03-21 15:29:55 - Following years of growth and favourable market trends, the global life sciences industry now finds itself facing a challenging "new normal." And that means online channels for getting company messages across have never been more important.
According to consultants Deloitte, a raft of new conditions, including changing health care landscape, expiring patents and generic competition, pricing pressures, heightened regulatory scrutiny, expansion into emerging markets, increasing alliances and acquisitions, and a persistent economic slowdown are prompting global life sciences companies to adopt new business models designed to counter slowing sales growth and declining profitability, deliver better patient outcomes at lower cost, and position them for success in 2013 and beyond.
Sitemorse has been benchmarking the websites of around 200 companies in the global life science sector on a quarterly basis for some years, and our results find the companies with the most efficient websites are not the multinational giants but usually the smaller, more focused businesses targeting one
sector of the market.
According to Deloitte’s latest Global Life Sciences Outlook report, “A dramatic shift is taking place in the type of products coming out of life sciences company research labs — the reality of fewer billion-dollar blockbusters is being replaced by a focus on developing targeted treatments, which requires that companies invent and bring to market more products to fill the pipeline and generate comparable revenue levels.”
The top five companies whose websites take the honours in our latest Index will most likely not be known to you by name. Siegfried AG’s site scores highest with a very creditable score of 8.5 out of a possible ten marks in our automated testing. Siegfried, headquartered in Zofingen, Switzerland, has been a consistent performer in Sitemorse tests. The company operates worldwide and has around 800 employees manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients. The company was second in our Autumn 2012 survey and so moves up one place.
Second place goes to Novimmune, a Geneva-based drug discovery and development company focused on the creation of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and immune-related disorders. The website’s score of 8.1 means it moves from last survey’s top spot to second place this time.
In third place this time with a score of 8.1 in our automated testing is Vifor Pharma, a Swiss-based company that can date its history back to 1872 and which has expertise in the fields of iron deficiency, infectious diseases and consumer healthcare. Vifor has risen 15 places since the last Index.
Sitemorse benchmarks the websites of the top companies in this sector four times a year, and we are pleased to once again see some of the better-known Pharma names such as Sandoz Pharmaceuticals AG and Eli Lilley Schweiz in the top thirty performers. The main Sandoz website, at 19th place with a score of 6.3/10 in our testing, is the best performer for a well-known pharmaceutical major.
Eli Lilley’s Swiss site has dropped slightly since our last Index but still holds 21st position with a score of 6.2/10.Interestingly; it scores very much more highly than its parent, the main Eli Lilley site which can only manage 267th place in our Index, with a score of 2.5
Our Q1 2013 benchmark maintains the trend we first pointed out in 2010, with smaller, more focused players scoring much more highly on quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and search engine optimisation (SEO) capability than the larger best-known multinationals. There have been big improvements to the scoring of Astrazeneca’s main site and also that of Novartis this time.
Sitemorse surveys the websites of businesses and organisations in a number of sectors, and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed results for a decade. The full results from this and other recent surveys can be seen on our website. Testing is undertaken using automated software that reads the first 125 pages of each site to generate a ranked table.
Other life science company websites we rated among the best include those of Piramal Healthcare (scoring 8.1/10), Newron Suisse SA, (7.9/10), GenKyoTex SA (7.62) 4-Antibody AG (7.5), Eisai (company) (same), Kuros Biosurgery AG (7.2) and LEO Pharmaceutical Products Sarath Ltd (7.1).
Top climbers include Perrigo (+82), AmVac AG (+74), Fresenius Medical Care (+69), AstraZeneca AG (+39) and
Novartis (+38). Major fallers in this survey include Takeda Pharma AG (-60), Cytos Biotechnology AG (-62), Actavis Group (-65), Watson Pharmaceuticals (-72) and Alkaloid (-77).
Maintaining its place at the very bottom of the list, with a score of 0.7 out of ten, is Beijing’s Sinopharm Group, and the main websites of Pfizer and Bristol- Myers Squibb remain among the bottom ten performers.
Many of the big names also feature in our list of ‘click and wait’ offenders. We think a response time above 0.75 seconds can have a negative effect on user experience, but our tests showed the Johnson & Johnson main site, for example, to take on average up to 11 seconds to load the homepage.
Accessibility is an important criteria for websites and we would have expected companies focusing on healthcare to score highly on ensuring their sites are navigable by the disabled. This is not the case here, and the highest score recorded for the 199 sites tested this time is 8/10 for Canada’s Apotex Inc. Other sectors such as local government have improved scores on accessibility, which of course is now backed up by law.
Sitemorse concluded: If smaller is better in the “new normal” of the global life sciences industry, our research bears out the fact that the best websites from a user experience perspective (and there is no other way of looking at a website) belong to the smaller, more focused companies. This is only partly because they are physically smaller than their big brothers among the multinationals. It’s perfectly possible to run large websites making sure they are error-free, scoring well on accessibility and in other areas that impact user experience, and we’ll be happy to share our expertise on how this can be achieved.
About our surveys
The quarterly Index Website Review, powered by the Sitemorse software platform, is an important independent benchmark that clearly shows how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users.
It’s also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.
Using Sitemorse’s products such as Governisation and the Web Manager’s Toolkit, which immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, will help demonstrate real improvement and ensure control, and ultimately confidence, in your web presence. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management.
This survey took place on February 14th 2013 and involved benchmarking more than 198,000 URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the Beximco Pharmaceuticals site which had more than 435,000 failures in our automated tests. Only nine sites were classed as error-free according to Sitemorse criteria, and 22 had accessibility failures on every page tested.
• More information about our surveys and what they test can be found on our website www.sitemorse.com
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com
• Deloitte’s latest Global Life Sciences Outlook report can be seen on their website at www.deloitte.com