Life Sciences Companies Worldwide Go Digital to Meet Pandemic Challenges

ISG Provider Lens™ report sees companies focused on improving supply chain processes and embracing automation

Life sciences companies across the globe are adopting digital technologies to improve clinical development, patient engagement and manufacturing supply chain processes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group, a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

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“Challenges such as the need to rapidly implement telemedicine and enable direct-to-patient data collection while maintaining cybersecurity have increased demands for digital solutions in the life sciences industry”

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Life Sciences Digital Services Global Report finds all segments of the industry adapting their strategies and processes to respond to the pandemic. A big part of those changes is the adoption of new technologies including artificial intelligence and automation and business intelligence to monitor the supply chain.

“Challenges such as the need to rapidly implement telemedicine and enable direct-to-patient data collection while maintaining cybersecurity have increased demands for digital solutions in the life sciences industry,” said Jenn Stein, partner, ISG Life Sciences. “The adoption of digital technologies is making possible the pace of change that’s needed for both patient care and competitive advantage in the industry.”

Top technology service providers have been able to rapidly implement digital solutions for the industry based on the strategies and investments they set in motion prior the pandemic, the report says. Some providers leveraged solutions they were already using in other sectors to support the sudden shift to digital services in the life sciences industry.

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Other providers focused solely on life sciences, such as contract research organizations (CROs), were already deeply invested in digital roadmaps based on their own understanding of where the market would need to go to achieve necessary efficiencies and economies of scale, the report says. The pandemic provided added impetus for life sciences companies to begin working with these service providers.

The increased reliance on digital technologies is associated with other trends across the industry, the report says. These include higher demand for cloud services to support the needs of a growing remote workforce and the need for additional computing power. Changing business needs have also elevated demand for software-as-a-service solutions that can turn large volumes of data into business intelligence. Many life sciences companies are also interested in using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and automation to enhance operations in MedTech, pharmacovigilance and regulatory affairs.

In the area of clinical development, the report sees demand growing for digital clinical trials and for advanced analytics. These require both CROs and technology providers to offer standardized, but customizable, solutions that companies can rapidly implement.

Meanwhile, many life sciences companies also want to improve patient experience and outcomes, the report says. Digital services providers have been focusing on remote monitoring, using devices, wearables, sensors and smart pills to ensure compliance and patient retention.

In addition, well-documented supply chain and logistics challenges in other industries have also affected life sciences companies, the report says. These problems have raised the demand for supply chain business intelligence services. Leading service providers are using sensors to monitor real-time shipping data, combined with expertise in advanced analytics.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Life Sciences Digital Services Global Report evaluates the capabilities of 27 providers across three quadrants: Clinical Development Digital Transformation Services, Patient Engagement Digital Transformation Services and Manufacturing Supply Chain Digital Transformation Services.

The report names Capgemini, Cognizant, HCL, TCS and Wipro as Leaders in all three quadrants. Accenture, Atos, IQVIA and PPD were named Leaders in two quadrants, and Hexaware was named a Leader in one.

In addition, Hexaware, LTI and Verizon were named Rising Stars—companies with “promising portfolios” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant.

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