Pfizer & OneNote how Pfizer is 15% more effective because of OneNote

I love being able to talk about this now that the case study is out but Pfizer is a huge fan of OneNote, check out the video below:

Also you can see the full case study here: Pfizer Boosts Efficiency by 15 Percent with Easy to Use, Shared Note-Taking Program.  Some fun quotes:

Faster time-to-market is also important from a business perspective. In the pharmaceutical industry, a company owns exclusive rights to a therapeutic compound for 10 years from the date that the patent is issued. “We file patents on new compounds several years before we actually get them to market,” says Chris Barber, Associate Research Fellow, Worldwide Medicinal Chemistry, Pfizer. “If we can shave even a few months off of our development cycle and increase the number of months of exclusivity in the market—that can have a huge impact on our bottom line.”

Over the years, Pfizer has also adopted a number of disparate document filing repositories. “Unfortunately, they’re all very cumbersome,” says Gardner. “Research team members perform different types of experiments, and traditionally they’d each file their findings in separate repositories. In order to understand what we learned from an experiment, we had to look in three or four different legacy systems. Also, the documents had no meaning whatsoever in their titles, so we had to open each individual file to find out what it contained. We eventually began saving files on our desktops or in e-mail folders because we wanted to have seamless access to our files, whether we were online or offline. This was something that we simply couldn’t do with our existing file share systems.”

“Essentially, we’re using Office OneNote 2007 to provide an intuitive, user-friendly interface to the SharePoint Server 2007 document library,” Gardner explains. All content added to or created in OneNote 2007 is stored in SharePoint Server 2007. Users can continue to work in shared OneNote 2007 notebooks even when they’re offline, and the notebooks synchronize automatically when the users connect to the network. “All of the complexities are managed in the background, so the user experience is seamless,” adds Gardner.

Pilot participants commented that Office OneNote 2007 is intuitive and simple to use, and it works easily with other Microsoft Office products such as Microsoft Office Excel® spreadsheet software, the Microsoft Office PowerPoint® presentation graphics program, and Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration client. Users add new content into the shared project notebook using a drag-and-drop operation, and OneNote 2007 automatically manages the task of loading these changes to the master notebook stored on SharePoint Server 2007.

When pilot participants were asked to quantify the amount of time they save by using the solution, approximately 70 percent said they saved 30 minutes or more each week. The mean time savings weighted across all responders was approximately 45 minutes each week, for a 2 percent time savings.

Based on participant feedback, Gardner calculated an approximate cost savings and return on investment (ROI). “If time savings alone was used to measure ROI, then—assuming that one full-time employee equates to a $200,000 cost per year—a 2 percent time savings equates to $3,750 per user per year,” he explains. With 600 users participating in the initial deployment, this represents a potential cost savings of $2.25 million per year. If Pfizer decided to expand the use of Office OneNote 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 to even a fraction of its 100,000 employees, the cost savings could be astronomical.

It is so cool to see how OneNote has really transformed how these teams at Pfizer work and they are getting to market faster.  I remember when I first started at Microsoft I thought about how I knew people who went to work for Teach for America or the Peace Corps and I thought I should have done something to give back.  I wondered how important software and OneNote really was, but the more I worked on the team and the more I saw people using OneNote I realized that we had something which was transforming people’s lives.  Seeing a company like Pfizer say that pilot users were getting 30+ minutes back a week that is crazy!  That time that they saved could allow them to discover a drug which will help us all, then I realized that I am doing something important and beneficial.  Anyhow it is great to see companies like Pfizer & Unum use OneNote in transformative ways!

On a side, a bit shout out to Nuzrul Haque & Ben Gardner for helping make this happen! 

Comments (4)

  1. Ben Gardner says:

    People might also be interested in in another perspective we have written up on our use of OneNote and SharePoint that will be published in Drug Discovery Today (

    At the risk of this turning into one big ‘love in’ OneNote is really the star here, so kudos to you and the team for making us look good!

  2. Cliff Allen says:

    It’s great to see such a well-documented gain in productivity in a large organization.

    I use OneNote more than any other Microsoft product, but it’s frustrating not to be able to use to collaborate with clients.  Converting OneNote pages to Microsoft Word for non-OneNoters is a drain on productivity.

    Here’s hoping that the Pfizer/OneNote story will help solve that problem.

  3. Kate says:

    Great post, Daniel! The folks over at the OneNote Facebook Page would definitely appreciate it if you posted a link to this on the Wall!



    MSFT Office Outreach Team

  4. Tony Yuan says:

    TouchMol for OneNote – Draw chemical/biological structures in OneNote:…/touchmol4onenote.aspx

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