One of the life sciences industry's most important goals is to achieve the long-term sustainability of its digital transformation initiatives. The industry is adopting holistic strategies to introduce enterprise-wide transformation across key areas, including technology, processes, operations, and people. Traditionally, IT was seen as a cost center that simply played a part in providing basic capabilities to businesses and did not have an impact on business outcomes. Over the years, this perception has changed, and now IT is regarded as a profit center that helps businesses gain a competitive advantage and improve performance. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, life sciences companies were forced to accelerate their digitization efforts by leaps and bounds. Digital transformation roadmaps, designed initially to be implemented over several years, suddenly had to be executed within months. Because of this quick digitization and adoption of futuristic technologies, life sciences companies began heavily relying on technology partners to help them achieve their business goals and turn their digital transformation daydreams into reality.
“Digital innovation has been accelerated by ten years by what has happened over the last 18 months.”
—Manoj Raghunandanan, President, Global Self-care and Consumer Experience, Johnson & Johnson 1
Digital at the Core
Without a holistic, connected, scalable approach to digital business adoption, no digital transformation exercise is complete. A true enterprise digital transformation includes every function, brand, market, value chain, and business unit across therapeutic classes, enveloping the entire ecosystem within the company.
Enterprise-level digital transformation often challenges traditional business practices and the quick-fix point solutions intended to replace them. These digital solutions, with their end-to-end digitized interactions and strategies that drive predictive and prescriptive insights, are often agile enough to adapt to changing business conditions.
The life sciences companies leading the digital transformation typically have many top executives and board members with deep digital experience.
According to experts, digital transformation is a specialized process that requires concentrated effort by skilled individuals who can reimagine and strategize the complete enterprise-level digital transformation. The transformation may start from one business process, but the team must have a cross-functional focus so that the transformation efforts are not siloed and the models can be replicated across the organization.
The Role of Data
Any digital effort will be useless without the correct data stored in a suitable format. There are abundant data sources today, and more data delivers better results in data science. When artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms consume data repeatedly, the data ensures that the algorithms become more accurate.
This makes the data an extremely valuable asset, much like oil, as oil is the world's most important energy source. Just as you cannot feed oil into a bicycle because there is no engine to process the fuel, you also need an engine to process the data. In the pharma commercial segment of the life sciences industry, there are abundant data sources like sales, claims, activity, market access, supply chain omnichannel, and customer information. Companies have also started looking into the patient journey, and for organizations operating in the rare diseases and oncology space, patient data analysis has become a must-have. To harness the power of this data, it needs to be integrated into one place to generate insights from it.
The Role of Technology
A secure cloud platform is an excellent start to building a robust data engine that fuels an organization’s digital transformation efforts and takes you from daydreaming to the real world. Data management platforms like Axtria DataMAxTM provide capabilities like data processing and integration, business rule management, data cataloging, and lineage, then prepare the data for advanced analytics that can help make informed decisions. Life sciences organizations need not reinvent the wheel and try to build these platforms across multi-year programs; they can join hands with technology partners who understand their business and bring next-generation out-of-the-box technology solutions to them. Pre-built solutions, customizable to their business needs, give organizations a faster turnaround and enable a quick go-to-market. Since technology is forever evolving, life sciences organizations on the path of digital transformation should refrain from making sizeable on-premise technology investments. In doing so, they can escape the time spent making technology decisions. Instead, they focus on identifying the business processes that need to go digital and evaluate products designed according to the industry best practices that cater to their use cases. Due to their faster decision-making and preference for pre-built products, emerging pharma companies are getting an edge over larger organizations in the race to digital transformation.
Along with data management platforms, life sciences organizations are investing heavily in building the omnichannel capabilities that enable decision engines to power the next best actions (NBA). Advanced NBA-driven customer engagement solutions like Axtria CustomerIQTM bring together AI/ML-based analytics that formulate effective omnichannel interactions, providing a 3600 view of the customer. Achieving prime objectives like measuring the impact of marketing campaigns, personalized customer interactions, quantitative segmentation analysis, etc., can be done with the help of pre-built platforms that run on state-of-the-art AI/ML engines designed on secure, robust technology tools that are cloud-based and easily scalable.
Technology at the Forefront of the Digital Revolution
It is time for life sciences companies to push aside organizational inertia and create a digital revolution that ensures their long-term sustainability. Due to their nimble and agile decision-making, emerging pharma companies are quicker in adopting next-gen technologies. Large-scale organizations have the resources to kickstart the transformation initiative by partnering with technology innovators who design solutions that fit into the life sciences landscape. This partnership will enable life sciences organizations to leap ahead, bringing digital innovation to customer and patient engagement while more quickly getting their drugs to market — allowing you to save your daydreams for your next vacation destination!
- Biopharma digital transformation: Gain an edge with leapfrog digital innovation published in December 2021