Takeda Business Solutions – Growing a GBS Value Proposition

By Philip King and Vanessa Gleason
March 1, 2024
Season 5, Episode 16

Vanessa Gleason, global head of Takeda Business Solutions, shares her organization’s impressive digital transformation journey with Philip King, senior director, The Hackett Group. Gleason was a featured speaker at The Hackett Group’s 2023 European Best Practices Conference in London.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Philip King, senior director of Global Business Services Advisory at The Hackett Group. Philip is joined by Vanessa Gleason, global head of Takeda Business Solutions.

To begin, Vanessa discusses how Takeda wanted to use the word “solutions” rather than services. They did not want to start from a services mindset, but be a part of the solution. They looked into the context of what the business actually needs and this has helped Takeda position themselves as an equal partner in any conversation. These solutions improve and expand the scope of what they can do and how they can provide activities to the organization. They have ran transformational and digital projects, but deliberately don’t say the word “services” because they want to be more encompassing and stakeholders immediately think that expertise is associated with the function instead of the capability.

Next, she talks about the impact of patients at Takeda and how they have a patient-first mindset in the company. They put the patient at the center of everything they do, and how they process those decisions and think. Their focus areas are PTRB, which stands for patient, trust, reputation, business. The first thought they have when making decisions is the impact on the patient, and they don’t even move on to the next areas of the decision-making process if it won’t impact the patient in a positive way. They want to create an organization that people know that are part of and feel a sense of belonging. The ingrained values make it feel different, and everyone goes through an exercise to understand how it impacts the patient. They ask questions like what the purpose is, and how does the work they do have an impact? What we do matters, and we have the same purpose for all stakeholders. They hear from actual patients who are suffering from real diseases. The patients attend virtual and in-person sites to share their stories, which makes everyone emotional and really hits home. 

In addition, Vanessa discusses the area of automation ­– the lessons they’ve learned and how they’ve gone about this technology in Takeda. They ensure that they are cultivating a digitally literate group of people in that space and people in the organization who don’t have to be technical experts. Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is useful to change jobs and move up the value chain and how they perform. They have created many programs over the last few years and democratized this knowledge to encourage people from the ground up in the conversation. They want people to be excited, curious and not to create fear. They also want employees to be successful in working with our data, digital and technology organization, which is a partner in Takeda. She called generative AI a playground that they can play with as a company. The risks within a Takeda Business Solutions organization are very low, and it’s a great place for an organization to experiment and scale to multiple places across the rest of the organization. They work closely with information technology, and technology has a huge potential across many organizations and companies.

In closing, Vanessa talks about the customer vs. people experience, and the aspiration is to create an exceptional people experience. How easily people can work is extremely important to Takeda, and they make sure the way they work is reflecting the company overall. They want to put effectiveness first and provide that support. People and experience are at the forefront of this company. They still have more opportunity to do better, but the reputation has shifted for providing a quality level of support instead of a transactional line. Looking ahead, Vanessa would love to see capabilities instead of a functional model embraced more broadly within organizations.

Time stamps:

0:46 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Philip King.  

2:13 – Why do you call it business solutions?

5:11 – The impact of patients in Takeda.

9:08 – How do you keep that patient-first mindset reinforced?

10:56 – Lessons learned from the area of automation.

13:05 – A playground for generative AI.

19:09 – Improving the customer vs. people experience.

22:47 – Looking ahead in 2024.