Healthcare and Life Science companies leveraging Cloud Computing

cloudHow cloud computing will transform the life sciences industry

Companies are trying to quickly and cost effectively bring to market new products with proven patient outcomes targeted at specific disease areas- and, at the same time, to balance the global expansion demands in emerging markets. The net result is pressure to:

  • Innovate in a more open, collaborative, cost effective and timely manner
  • Demonstrate efficacy and outcomes for patients, with the goal of achieving appropriate pricing of and reimbursement from governments and payers for their products
  • Promote products by leveraging multiple channels and the digital world
  • Run global supply chains and global operations

The convergence of mobility, big data, advanced analytics, and social media, all underpinned by the cloud, presents a very attractive opportunity for life sciences companies to operate in a more nimble, collaborative, customer-centric and cost effective manner than in the past.

Life sciences companies will leverage cloud computing to:

  • Reshape their relationships with physicians
  • Move beyond proprietary homegrown IT solutions and seize the opportunity to create enterprise wide agility
  • Transition to collaborative, multichannel, on-demand operating models focused on improving patient outcomes

The rapid increase in processing volumes and the need to globalize R&D are strong drivers for the adoption of cloud computing. Even so, life sciences R&D has not yet reached the tipping point: companies are holding back owing to regulatory compliance concerns (regarding, for example, how data can be handled and by whom), as well as their concern about protection of intellectual property (IP).

Innovative applications and platforms foster global collaboration

A wealth of new platforms that have been enabled by the cloud have been launched for collaboration in the life sciences industry. As an example, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBI-EBI) has moved its genome browser tool, Ensembl, to the cloud to reduce latency in accessing information. In another example, Merck & Co. is partnering with InterKnowlogy to produce an application for manipulating and annotating high-resolution images in real time across geographic locations.14 InterKnowlogy also has created a collaboration application for the Scripts Research Institute that allows researchers to select atoms in 3-D molecules and to drag and drop their documents onto the chosen atoms to store the information in context for the next researcher.

To prepare for the cloud – enabled future life sciences companies should consider these five steps;

  • Run cloud test-and-learn cycles
  • Redefine what is core and noncore
  • Encourage use of social technologies across the organization
  • Define the data that is valuable to the enterprise
  • Map out a plan to create an agile technology foundation for the company

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