Life Sciences & Technology - Part 2: Is DX at the top of Life Science organisations’ agenda?


The short answer is yes - thousands of businesses are grappling with DX, however most do not consider themselves to be completely 'transformed' yet. Many of the largest Pharma organisations have launched initiatives and created entire departments focused on innovation, and are well on their way to operating in the same way an organisation which has completed its DX journey so far, is.

The Life Sciences ecosystem is totally unique in a number of ways. The relentless funding cycles that take a new venture from TTOs to IPOs drive a complex interplay between academia, third sector, venture capital, and big industry unlike that seen in any other sector world-wide.

Frenetic M&A activity sees start-ups devoured by hungry multi-nationals looking to bolster and diversify their pipeline, and occasionally entire business units jettisoned in the name of focus and streamlining operations. There is an abundance of opportunity in this sector, but competition is fierce, and needs to be met with highly agile and disruptive approaches to business and technology.

Within the first 10 years of a Life Science organisation's existence, the pressure to productise a discovery, coupled with the unparalleled rate of change, expansion and integration place huge demands on that business's ability to adapt and thrive.

With so many focus areas that dominate entrepreneurs' attention in this cauldron of innovation, it is not surprising that oftentimes the underlying business technology can become an afterthought.

For spin-outs working in an accelerator space, business technology and functions will typically be provided by the parent institution. At the other end of the scale, it's common for enterprises to be encumbered with a labyrinth of legacy systems and kit aggregated over decades of organic and inorganic growth, making it harder to align their IT strategy to its wider corporate strategy. In both scenarios, employees on the frontline are generally unaware of the infrastructure that supports them in their work – until it goes wrong, or directly impacts their day-to-day, of course.

In the middle are the scale-ups: having flown the nest and established a significant market presence with the promise of an international footprint, and an army of admiring investors. For these, your average IT provider may not have the technological sophistication, or the breadth of services required to support the stellar growth as these organisations flourish. Additionally, public cloud providers can be too big to notice, whilst bringing the expertise in-house is an expensive and non-scalable solution.

Clearly it is important for Life Sciences organisations to establish a digital strategy that will foster innovation, encourage collaboration, and drive business forward whilst being cost effective. So, when we take a look at the industry as a whole, and see how technology is continuing to change the way businesses operate, it's safe to say DX is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a vital part of any Life Science venture's journey, regardless of size.

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