Technology a Stumbling Block for Pharma Firms in their Digital Transformation Journey

Life sciences companies looking to increase profitability and efficiency, and expand into new markets are readily turning to large-scale digital transformation to make it happen.

New research, conducted in Q4 2017 by TayganPoint Consulting Group and PharmaVoice, reveals that more than one in four life sciences companies expect large-scale transformation in the next three years.

The areas ripe for transformative changes are marketing, sales, R&D, and IT. But there is still uncertainty around how to go about it, with 42% of respondents admitting they’ve had to revise their transformation strategy in the past year.

Technology a Stumbling Block for Pharma Firms in their Digital Transformation Journey

Why are we struggling to digitally transform?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, technology appears to be a source of the indecision, often proving to be disruptive even before it’s been implemented. When asked what had prompted a rethink in strategy over the past year, the most quoted reasons were: more digital focus and adoption of new technology, alongside new organization structure due to acquisition or merger.

Although it might be a stumbling block to achieving large-scale transformation, it’s encouraging that pharma companies are weighing up all their technology options (noting the cloud and CRM tools as examples) before settling on their strategy going forward.

It’s interesting to note that when asked about employing AI and machine learning, 71% said this is not something their organization is doing…yet.

Firms have no choice but to make digital technology adoption a key focus because it’s “how humans find data and communicate,” said John Cassimatis, Co-Founder and President of TayganPoint.

Transformation across the enterprise

In another encouraging sign, firms are now more open to transformation initiatives that can be used by the entire organization, rather than just by certain departments. In theory at least, moving away from operating in functional silos should enable companies to move with greater agility and flexibility, and take advantage of new market opportunities.

Technology is not the only area that’s affecting transformational strategies, with nearly three-quarters (75%) of the companies who took part in the study admitting they were concerned about having the right talent in place to make wholesale change a success.

Related Reading: Becoming a Digital Organization: 3 Areas to Target

While some firms have yet to make the investment to educate, train and prepare staff for transformation, many have already done the groundwork, suggests Joy Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of TayganPoint.

The focus now, she says, should be to instil the “the leadership, teams and stamina it takes to see a vision through to the end.” Taylor commented how the journey to transformation often means employees having to buy into the strategy without sight of the destination. It’s also crucial that pharma executives stay on course and don’t get rerouted by “a new competitive differentiator.”

As the study respondents highlighted, the benefits of transformation include:

  • Increased profitability (74.5%)
  • Increased efficiency (71.8%)
  • Better collaboration (57.3%)
  • Competition (56.5%)
  • Expansion into new markets (geographic or vertical) (49.1%).

Date Published : 15th of June 2018

Robert Gaggin

Published by : Robert Gaggin

About the Author : Robert Gaggin is Copyright Clearance Center’s (CCC) – parent company of Ixxus – product marketing manager for Ixxus solutions. He has previously held marketing and editorial positions at Pearson, Cengage, and CISION.