Strategic Impact of Technology Trends In the Pharmaceutical Industry
June 01, 2018 – Is the pharmaceutical industry ready to accept and adopt the latest IT trends such as Cloud computing, Mobility, and Strategic Big Data and Analytics?
The pharmaceutical industry, although with a significant cost component, can be a profitable one. The increase in life expectancy and the number of high-income households on emerging markets contribute much to the wealth of the industry.
The Pharma Industry
The pharmaceutical industry is well protected by entry barriers. A typical product lifecycle is lengthy from idea-to-market, requires extraordinary investments and patents. The need to keep databases safe to prevent information (research data) leakage is affecting how the pharmaceutical industry responds to the latest technology trends. Their cautious approach to adopting new technology is not unfounded as technology adoption comes with potential security risks.
On the other hand, healthcare and life science organizations are heavily dependent on innovation to develop new products to provide better living conditions. They depend on new technologies, as without them, organizations in the pharma industry will find it increasingly difficult to survive in the market.
This dilemma opens up the question to which extent the pharmaceutical industry is ready to adopt emerging technologies, and what strategic impact this will have on their operating model.
Due to the complexity of adopting a technology, one key conclusion is that each organization is distinctive and there is not a unique model or framework that guarantees a successful technology adoption process.
Cloud Computing, Mobility and BD&A (i.e. Strategic Big Data and Analytics) in the Pharma Industry
Cloud computing, mobility and BD&A bring agility, speed and knowledge sharing into organizations, yet they are seen as threats rather than opportunities.
The main adoption challenges derive from data (location, ownership or security), and talent (mindsets and skills). The latter is especially relevant for building analytical models and algorithms that enable Big Data to be processed and presented as strategic information. Currently, the global workforce is short on technology experts.
Mobility and home office also brings in additional complexity to businesses in terms of technology management. Where employees begin to demand the same tools, they use at home, as they are often better and more advanced than those found in their workplaces.
- Technology trends play a key role in supporting the chosen operating model;
- Not enough budget is currently allocated to educational programs to help lower adoption resistance;
- Technological standards are not defined or advertised in this industry, so companies do not have guidelines, nor are they challenged to quickly embrace new technology;
- Return on Investment (RoI) is a selling point of technological trends due to the size and cost of such implementations (when compared to former IT programmes).
- The lessons learned in the pharmaceutical industry can be applied to other regulated sectors, for example, the financial services industry. Other sectors, such as technology and telecommunications, are more dynamic in their nature and, therefore, more open to accepting emerging technologies.
Recommended actions to Pharmaceutical organizations
- Re-allocate budget from other areas and proactively invest in technology adoption;
- Re-access the operating model and choose the one that best meets the needs of the organization. Once agreed, any investment made should support such a decision;
- Share information with third-parties to allow better and quicker product development;
- Be a business partner in the organization so technology can resolve real business issues;
- Become a pioneer in order to take advantage of innovation, but look at other sectors and competitors that have embraced the technology already to be aware of the risks involved.
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Author: André Correia
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