How Digital Transformation is Challenging and Reshaping the Pharma Industry

The pharmaceutical industry is grappling with managing digital transformation, the strategic approach to leveraging technology to transform from a traditionally analog business model to a digital one.

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Digital transformation for pharmaceutical enterprises

The pharmaceutical industry is grappling with managing digital transformation, the strategic approach to leveraging technology to transform from a traditionally analog business model to a digital one.
 
And it’s not just how companies think of digital technology; some pharma companies have implemented new processes while others updated existing processes to become quicker and more efficient when performed digitally. Companies are always seeking new ways to reduce analog processes of their operations that can be completed digitally.
 
However, some pharma companies are behind. According to a recent report by Deloitte with MIT Sloan Management Review, only 20 percent of biopharma companies are digitally maturing.
 
As the pharmaceutical industry has undergone this digital transformation, the pharma and life sciences industries look remarkably different than they did just ten years ago. Many experts are predicting this shift will continue. Meanwhile, more companies are taking steps to identify challenges and consider which digital solutions make the most sense for their business. 

Identifying digital transformation challenges for the pharmaceutical industry


Pharma industry executives have promoted digital transformation in various ways, including updating operational processes or implementing new initiatives to increase digital capacities. The pressure to do more continues to grow, and an increasing list of digital-related challenges must be addressed, including:
 

  • Automating pharma supply chain processes, reducing the resources needed to support operations

  • Building a single source of truth data for pharma supply chain data 

  • Utilizing data to increase value holistically in the entire pharma supply chain

  • Improving forecasting capabilities

Deloitte’s recent survey suggests that change needs to happen now for pharma companies to stay competitive. “As is true for most industries, digital transformation is no longer a buzzword, but a strategic imperative for life sciences companies,” according to the report. “While first movers would likely gain a competitive advantage, all of today’s companies risk falling behind their competitors in delivering across all elements of the value chain if their strategies are limited to a few pilots and experiments.” 

Seeking solutions that make sense

According to Controlant’s research, pharma executives are seeking solutions that are cost-effective, easy to integrate and maintain, and have less emphasis on manual processes. 
 
Digital transformation solutions can benefit pharma companies in several ways. 

Digital solutions can help pharma companies improve performance and reduce costs through collaboration with various departments, centralize digital technologies to streamline delivery, and enhance capabilities across the company.

  • Companies can reduce the time and number of specialized IT staff needed to maintain their pharma supply chain IT systems by bringing all shipment data into one single source of truth.

  • Additionally, digital transformation can help businesses deliver an engaging, digitally enabled experience to customers, staff members, and key partners. 

  • A revamped digital model can provide companies with new or increased-value products. 

  • And opportunities can exist to improve the return on research and development by lowering research costs or shortening drug discovery periods.

Pharma companies continue to seek digital solutions to work toward more streamlined and cost-effective processes. The key is identifying the challenges, weighing the benefits, and finding the right solution that fits best.