Being the CIO of a life sciences business can be a difficult balancing act with a quite ubiquitous challenge. The question being how to maintain and operate existing IT infrastructure and Business Applications while also supporting the digital transformation your Line of Business (LoB) requires to stay on top in this increasingly competitive landscape.
In the modern digital landscape integrating your existing IT landscape with new technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and advanced data analytics as well as cloud-based business application (PaaS and SaaS) has somewhat become the new normal.This raises a question that every CIO in a life sciences business must ask oneself: how to balance your IT budget and combine the often-high running costs of day-to-day IT operations with the need to take advantage of the latest technology trends?
There is no doubt, that data from most industries show that the digital transformation of a company has become a competitive parameter while companies that do not embrace the new technologies are at risk of being disrupted. Either by existing – but more foresighted – competitors or ‘the new kids on the block’. In spite of this some parts of the life sciences industry are still slow to embrace the many opportunities now available. A reluctance that is partly based on an understandable concern to comply with the industry’s complex GxP regulations as well as security concerns.
Digital transformation should be a part of your company’s IT strategy – a strategy that might even entail cannibalizing parts of your current mode of operation in an effort to free up resources when implementing your digital transformation initiatives.
Outsourcing as well as cloud services which can integrate with your existing IT landscape could be a first step towards taking advantage of the new technology’s such as IoT, RPA or SaaS – and there are service providers in today’s landscape who can provide cloud services integrated with more traditional outsourcing services.As part of your digital transformation you should also consider reviewing and possibly updating your Standard Operating Procedures to reflect the fact, that with the right measures it is possible to stay compliant with the current regulations from Annex 11 and 21 CFR Part 11 – that is, if you decide to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing and cloud services.
If digital transformation is to succeed, one of the CIO's primary tasks must be to identify work processes that are not part of the company's core business. In today’s IT landscape a large number of a life sciences company's day-to-day IT needs can be handled by outsourcing and cloud providers. By outsourcing these basic IT needs, companies can instead focus on their core business, but this requires building a bridge between existing legacy systems and modern GxP compliant cloud solutions. Outsourcing brings a large number of benefits:
Resources can be diverted to innovation projects and digital transformation of the core business instead of day-to-day operations
Scalability is increased without the need for additional internal IT competencies
24/7 operation with a high availability, quality and security due to a high level of automation and economy of scale
Cloud solutions reduce the time to market for new products and solutions; giving the company a competitive edge
Opening doors through technology
Torben Thorhauge, Vice President of Infrastructure Outsourcing Life Sciences at NNIT, points out, that each company in the life sciences industry need to consider what new technologies best support their digital transformation.
He puts an emphasis on choosing providers who not only offer outsourcing and cloud services with a high level of compliance and security, but who are also able to engage the life sciences company in a discussion about their specific needs and how to best further the ongoing digital transformation as well as offering advice in deciding exactly what technologies to focus on.
– While Medical Device companies may see obvious benefits in implementing IoT-solutions, Pharma companies could find it beneficial to take advantage of the benefits in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to increase the efficiency of clinical trial or compliance tasks. However, when it comes to deciding which new technologies to embark on life sciences companies need to have a close and focused cooperation between IT-, Business- and Service providers.
NNIT offers leading edge outsourcing and cloud services for the life sciences segment
NNIT can integrate your existing IT portfolio with your digital transformation initiatives. Our many years of experience in the industry and continuous review of our offerings help to ensure that we always adhere to current compliance laws, and continually follow up on changing GxP regulations.