IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pan­dem­ic, the life sci­ences in­dus­try had set­tled in­to a pat­tern. The av­er­age drug took 12 years and $2.9 bil­lion to bring to mar­ket, and it was an ac­cept­able mode of op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to Nimi­ta Li­maye, Re­search Vice Pres­i­dent for Life Sci­ences R&D Strat­e­gy and Tech­nol­o­gy at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-con­cept for how tech­nol­o­gy can tru­ly help life sci­ences com­pa­nies suc­ceed and grow, Li­maye said. She re­cent­ly spoke about in­dus­try trends at Eg­nyte’s Life Sci­ences Sum­mit 2022. You should watch the en­tire ses­sion, free and on-de­mand, but here’s a brief re­cap of why she’s urg­ing life sci­ences com­pa­nies to em­brace dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion.

Ear­ly Adopters are Al­ready See­ing Re­turns on Their In­vest­ments

The pan­dem­ic high­light­ed the need for true agili­ty and da­ta re­silience. The most no­table ex­am­ple of this was the ef­forts to bring new vac­cines to mar­ket in un­der a year, but there are many more like it. Com­pa­nies had to rein­vent them­selves to sup­port re­mote work­ers and pa­tients.

“There are a ton of dif­fer­ent ex­am­ples where the life sci­ences in­dus­try, which typ­i­cal­ly was rel­a­tive­ly tech-averse, moved up, adopt­ed, and moved ahead,” she said.

A third of life sci­ences busi­ness­es have seen be­tween 25% and 49% im­prove­ments in in­no­va­tion as a re­sult of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to IDC re­search. Over­all, the in­dus­try is in the “late ma­jor­i­ty” cat­e­go­ry when it comes to dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, but the pan­dem­ic clear­ly served as a wake-up call, Li­maye said. No­tably, 78% of biotechs con­sid­er dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion a top pri­or­i­ty.

De­cen­tral­iza­tion Re­quires Bet­ter Tools

The shift to dig­i­tal opens the door to all sorts of op­por­tu­ni­ties, but it al­so re­quires a lot of change. Here are just a few of the tech­nol­o­gy con­sid­er­a­tions Li­maye dis­cussed.

Se­cu­ri­ty and Com­pli­ance. Look for dig­i­tal tools to help pro­tect da­ta wher­ev­er it re­sides and to com­ply with ge­og­ra­phy-spe­cif­ic reg­u­la­tions such as GDPR, HIPAA, CC­PA and more.

Au­toma­tion. This can ac­cel­er­ate busi­ness process­es in lots of ways. For ex­am­ple, tra­di­tion­al da­ta analy­sis is man­u­al, with lots of de­pen­den­cies and high la­ten­cy. Au­to­mate those steps to get re­al-time in­sights, and shift from be­ing re­ac­tive to be­ing proac­tive.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion. Em­pow­er users with the tools they need to sup­port re­al-time col­lab­o­ra­tion and da­ta analy­sis from any­where.

Sin­gle source of truth. Don’t get bogged down by too many point so­lu­tions, too many da­ta repos­i­to­ries, and too much du­pli­cate con­tent. Use an in­te­grat­ed so­lu­tion that puts all the da­ta in one place.

Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion is About More Than Just Tech­nol­o­gy

Tech­nol­o­gy has to be in a com­pa­ny’s DNA to­day—not just in terms of busi­ness pri­or­i­ties, but on the over­all busi­ness strat­e­gy. But that re­quires more than just chang­ing out soft­ware.

“It’s about process change, but it’s al­so about a change in mind­set,” Li­maye said.

Com­pa­nies need to make op­er­a­tional and busi­ness mod­el changes. They al­so need to bet­ter de­fine key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors so they can mea­sure the re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Pa­tient-cen­tric Ap­proach­es

Pa­tients are more dig­i­tal­ly savvy than ever. They’ve al­so ex­pe­ri­enced the con­ve­nience of at-home tri­als. Life sci­ences com­pa­nies need to make tech­nol­o­gy in­vest­ments that trans­late to bet­ter pa­tient en­gage­ment and re­ten­tion.

Li­maye used the ex­am­ple of a tech­nol­o­gy so­lu­tion a pa­tient us­es from home so they don’t have to go to the hos­pi­tal. That’s great, but what if the pa­tient wants to speak with a physi­cian for per­son­al as­sur­ances? Whether it’s through a chief cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence of­fi­cer, crowd­sourc­ing, or pa­tient ad­vo­ca­cy groups, com­pa­nies need to weave these ini­tia­tives in­to how they de­sign their stud­ies and tech­nol­o­gy so­lu­tions.

Start Your Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion

Li­maye went in­to much greater de­tail on these top­ics in her talk. She al­so pro­vid­ed prac­ti­cal ad­vice on how to build a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion strat­e­gy. This in­clud­ed a dis­cus­sion about what use cas­es have the biggest ROI and how star­tups uti­lize tech with lim­it­ed bud­gets. You can watch her en­tire ses­sion and oth­ers from this year’s Sum­mit for free here.

Watch the Keynote

IDC’s Nimi­ta Li­maye dis­cuss­es why life sci­ences firms need to em­brace dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion to suc­ceed in the fu­ture.


James Allgood

Sr Product Marketing Manager, Life Sciences, Egnyte