As the world population continues to grow at a significant rate, so too does the challenge of ensuring food for all, and that of having medicines and vaccines available to support what is also an ageing population.
Life sciences organisations face several significant hurdles getting new products to market. Typically, these products have been years in the making with thousands of hours spent on research, and millions of dollars of investment, all within a heavily regulated industry. Any delays in getting a new product to market means a competitor may get there first, and the investment – and reputation – of a supplier, may be lost.
For organisations focusing on pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical or biotechnology, IT plays a huge role in supporting the workforce and providing the resources and the services needed for research & development. From our experience in the sector, we have seen the following challenges emerge.
Transformation and savings
Pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology organisations must still push innovation while rationalising their IT services to reduce complexity, and supporting shrinking budgets. Agile Delivery and DevOps will provide the methodologies to support new products and innovations while new capabilities such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine-based learning will play a more significant role, using existing and new data. IT therefore, needs to provide the platforms, and develop the skillsets and services, needed to support this.
Technically-focused, silo-based decision making has contributed to complexity in IT systems and processes across many life sciences organisations. IT teams need to apply techniques to identify and execute outcome-focused changes that simplify organisational structures, streamline processes, and rationalise applications and services. This will reduce operating costs, increase efficiency and enable IT to drive business innovation.
Agile and adaptable operating models
Many organisations struggle to drive business transformation through adoption of new technology. Businesses should consider shifting organisational models away from conventional functionally aligned operations towards more adaptable structures with multi-disciplinary teams. This includes acquiring and developing the skills needed to drive change and make the most of new technology and ways of working.
Establishing new markets
Revenue growth from traditional life sciences markets has been slowing for many organisations, with increasing proportions of revenues coming from emerging markets. Organisations must develop a technical architecture and operating model that can be extended to new markets and will scale as markets grow.
Getting to grips with big data. There is increasing opportunity to draw new insights from electronic records and data across all aspects of the life sciences sector including electronic health records, patient-provided data, genetic and genomic data, market intelligence, and sales and financial data. Organisations must find ways to harness the power of this data and encourage collaboration through sharing and using information in controlled ways.
Protecting company assets
While flexibility and agility are essential for success in the digital era, maintenance of security policies and controls has never been more critical. Technological advancement brings threats along with new opportunities, and the frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks are increasing at an alarming rate. Life sciences organisations must have rigid controls in place to protect the integrity and privacy of company and patient data.