Novo Nordisk disappointed in IBM: Stops Collaboration

IBM Watson Health Global Headquarters

writer icon Emma Egelund     IBM   |   Sustainability     🕐 27. Nov. 2019

In 2015, the partnership between Novo Nordisk and IBM was announced. Now, four years later, the partnership has been cancelled. The partnership was formed to create new solutions for diabetic patients worldwide.

Jakob Riis, who at the time was the executive vice president at Novo Nordisk, said at the time about the new partnership:

”We expect to start reaping the benefits of the collaboration, if not right away, then very soon”, but things did not turn out as intended.

The Aim Of The Collaboration
The aim of the collaboration between Novo Nordisk and IBM was to document the values that the Novo Nordisk products give to its patients. Milestones of the collaborations did, however, not turn out as expected.

“We no longer work with IBM Watson Health, as our focus in digital health has evolved in a different direction than we anticipated when the contract was signed four years ago. We therefore work with other suppliers who match our needs better in this area,” Novo Nordisk's press department stated.

”The collaboration with IBM Watson has proven to be a disappointment for Novo Nordisk. It shows rather well that it is better to promise too little and deliver too much, than the other way around,” says Claus Henrik Johansen, senior portfolio manager at Danske Bank.

Gathering from the public relations communications from both companies, there seems to have been some initial miscommunication between IBM and Novo Nordisk, and a lack of adjustment throughout the four years working on the project. IBM commented on the situation and said:

”Novo Nordisk's digital health journey evolved in a new direction that was not expected up front when our collaboration was established.”

Lundbeck Tries to Keep a Positive Mindset
Lundbeck also found themselves unhappy with the services of a Watson partnership. A collaboration the Danish pharmaceutical company entered into a little more than a year after Novo Nordisk.

”A lot of the data is used in our research activities. There is no specific outcome, but it helps feed our research activities,” says Deborah Dunsire, CEO of Lundbeck.

“I think we learn something from all these things. I think it's worth to invest in order to understand what technology can do for us," Dunsire concluded.

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