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Digital Age Life Sciences. What Does It Really Mean?

In 2020, the worldwide amount of corporate investment in digital health reached a new high of US$21.6 billion, representing an increase of more than 100% from 2019. The worldwide clinical trials market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% from 2021 through 2028. The post-covid transformation in the industry calls for faster clinical trials, enterprise-wide digital transformation initiatives, cloud technology adoption that will lead to accelerated growth and digital progress in the Life Sciences industry. 

In this blog, we look at how organizations in pharmaceuticals and healthcare are using digital technologies to evergreen their offerings, change the way they engage with customers and respond quicker to market needs. Digitally transformed businesses thrive on speed and agility in order to succeed in today’s economy. 

Possibilities and Reality  

The pharmaceutical industry today is dynamic and complex with many inter-related processes, technologies, products, and services that drive its business growth. It is critical for pharma companies to embrace digital transformation to stay competitive with other processes. 

According to the recent study on pharmaceutical industry conducted by KPMG, CIOs are now working hard towards digital transformation as their business leaders demand it. They recognize that there will be significant benefits from a digitally transformed organization and a realization that some elements of their business cannot currently support the speed with which they need to compete in the market.

The life sciences company priorities can be summarized as: 

  • Need to run more trial and studies in less time for shorter durations, optimized per patient needs 
  • Availability of clinical data garnered from multiple sources on a real-time basis 
  • The need for much faster decision making with insights from data analytics 
  • Criticality of convergence of trials and sales information at the right time to ensure product selling and hitting business targets 

The pain points that the industry is facing currently are: 

 a. Changing markets with no access to fresh data 

Large companies struggle to gather up-to-date market information because of the long time it takes for reports and studies made by the research organization to be synthesized and shared across business leadership. These processes take too long, especially when there is a sudden need for a study or report. Drug companies might need to release a drug in a market where there is not enough data. The lag time makes it hard for businesses to respond quickly, resulting in lost revenue and opportunities. 

b. Regulatory changes for getting approval 

In the last few years, the regulatory authorities have made some significant changes that have left many digital transformation projects in the pharmaceutical industry in flux. Companies using traditional methods of analysis via spreadsheets, excel sheets and manual processes have been left struggling to ensure compliance with such speedily changing regulations. 

c. New business models to capture emerging markets 

In a niche market like pharmaceuticals industry, competition is fierce and there are always firms capitalizing on new business models in emerging markets. The market is constantly changing and staying one step ahead of the competition requires drastically fast changes in digital capabilities to remain competitive. 

d. Data quality issues for increased productivity 

Data quality problems can cause serious bottlenecks across businesses, especially when the data is crucial for tasks such as patient enrollment or dose calculation. With such processes tightly integrated with digital systems, the need for clean and accurate data is increasingly important. 

e. Lack of unified view across functions and business units 

There is a general lack of access to timely and reliable information across the company’s functional areas. This makes it hard for everyone to work collaboratively towards common goals. 
The pharmaceutical industry is known for its long approval processes and conservative business models. In this article, we explore how digital transformation has affected companies in Life Sciences and what specific pain points they’re facing. 

The Digital Transformation Journey in Pharmaceutical Industry 

Pharma companies are in a constant race against time to deliver high-quality products on time at competitive prices with services that make their life easier. They need to offer better value and innovative products, increase productivity by reducing overall cost of acquisition and efficiently manage their marketing and sales investments. 

There are many challenges in Pharma industry that require deep technological expertise to be addressed such as managing multiple channels, optimizing process flows between organizations, compliance with various laws & regulations etc. This requires a solution that can handle all these issues without disrupting the existing businesses processes or workflow at any cost. Technologies like Cloud, IoT, Mobile Apps are used to overcome these challenges and help pharma companies move forward.

Identify Digital Intent

The organization should first decide on what needs to be done and what are the key business drivers behind it. The reason could be to improve customer experience, increase revenues, improve patient care and so on. Once they have identified the intent, then they have a clear idea of the challenges they need to address with digital transformation strategy and technologies required to achieve those goals. 

Collect Business Requirements

The next step is to collect information from the top and 3 levels of management in different functions like marketing, sales, production, and operations. There should be clear communication on their expectations and behavior so that they can create flexible processes in future. This way they will be able to see how each function works and what data is being collected for them across multiple channels. 

Once the data is collected, then it can be compiled and analyzed to create actionable insights. 

Adopt a Digitally Transformed Mindset

Once the challenges are identified with the help of business requirements, now comes the toughest part i.e., implementation and execution of strategies & technology to achieve these goals. Pharma companies should focus on getting the right people on board, setting up systems and processes that provide agility to employees. This will ensure that they can focus on their core responsibilities without any hindrance. 

Selecting Right Digital Transformation Technology Partner for your Journey 

The next step is to select a solution partner which will help achieve these goals and support them throughout this journey. Pharma companies should look at an integrated solution that can manage all their data from multiple sources and provide them with insights and analytics required to make the right decisions.

 

The Blog is authored by 

Rajiv Gajria   Vice President – Life Sciences and Hi-tech Strategic Accounts, PureSoftware

Rajiv Gajria 

Vice President – Life Sciences and Hi-tech Strategic Accounts, PureSoftware

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