Life Science Companies Rethink Business Processes

Jack Schmidt

Dramatic change is happening throughout the life sciences industry today.

First, there is increasing regulatory emphasis on patient safety and transparency. There is also a growing demand for, and expectation of, personalized medicine. These expectations mean life sciences companies need to rethink vast portions of their business processes.

To build new innovation and operational excellence, life sciences companies need to change.

Transformation drivers

Four core drivers are prompting change in life sciences:

First, health care reform is a constantly evolving focus. Many reforms are encouraging more cost-effective therapies while also rewarding more effective therapies and improved patient outcomes.

Second, scientific advances are leading to revolutionary new drugs and medical devices. Areas like genomics, proteomics, and biomendical engineering are progressing fast and driving more effective and powerful drugs, medical devices, and therapies.

Patients are the third driver. Today’s patients are better-informed and more accountable for their therapies. Many patients expect to be treated as partners in their care. They are willing to become educated about and seek more effective therapies. Further, they are more willing to share data on treatment efficacy and adherence.

The fourth driver is the introduction of new competitors into the industry. Companies like Apple are disrupting markets by blurring the lines of industry boundaries.

Closer collaboration

Within this new framework, life sciences companies find themselves facing important pressures. Regulators, payors, providers, and patients all have heightened expectations. Remaining competitive means life sciences companies need to leverage strengths and build new relationships.

Consider patient safety.

Governments and industry want to improve safety, stop theft, and prevent the rampant supply of counterfeit drugs and medical devices. The World Health Organization estimates that counterfeit drugs make up 30 to 40 percent of supply in developing countries. Pharma serialization, unique device identifiers, and identification of medicinal products are all worthwhile means of combating these issues.

For life sciences companies, the increasing expectation for these technologies requires new processes. To comply, companies need to closely align processes in manufacturing, packaging, and logistics, internally as well as with outsourcing partners. Serialization alone requires creation of an ever-growing number of unique codes that must comply with many varying regulations across the globe, and these serial numbers need to be coordinated across many sites and across the value chain.

Technology will help change the game

Managing this complexity won’t be possible without cutting-edge technology. For example, in-memory computing will enable leverage Big Data from CxOs, manufacturing, third-party logistics providers, finance, and many other sources. Bringing all data signals together leads to optimal decision-making across the enterprise, which can be instantly acted upon to achieve compliance and operational excellence. Cloud-based business networks will make it easier to collaborate with with CxOs, scientists, care providers, and other partners in near real time.

To learn more about how you can rethink your life sciences business processes, read this whitepaper.


Jack Schmidt

About Jack Schmidt

Jack Schmidt is director of the Life Sciences Business Unit at SAP.