Cloud Computing Fosters Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

By Ali Giancarlo
AIS Network Associate, Marketing and Sales

Google “pharma innovation,” and you’ll find that the results reveal a blaring need for a reform in current business strategies — with words like ‘anemic’ and ‘hit a wall’ on just the first page of results.  It’s not just posts by political activists and concerned pharma consumers.  The concern has spread to the pages of BusinessWeek and Forbes, among other credible publications.

Cloud for Pharmaceutical Industry
Cloud computing will help spur innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

The underlying problem with the pharmaceutical industry extends to lessening profit margins with little focus on innovation. Sure, the pharma industry can’t get too innovative with their medications, but we’re not talking about revamping small-scale pill production.  Rather, it’s becoming common opinion that widespread innovation among many different fields of the industry will make all the difference.

The new wave of innovation in the pharma industry requires a large collaborative effort from company employees, universities, research institutions, private researchers, etc. These parties, working together to pool ideas, can only help but to benefit pharmaceutical companies in the long run.  In other words, 2+2=5 when the synergy of all professional opinions come together to examine the customer needs and the products available to match these needs.

Like Rome, this collaboration is not built in a day.  With current server power, lesser software capabilities and all that big data to manage, how could it be?

After all this gloomy talk, there is some good news: the use of cloud computing is serving to increase the possibility of innovation.  As pharmaceutical companies reduce their dependence on their own IT infrastructures, they are rapidly discovering that cloud computing is scalable, fast, resilient, and cost effective.

The business advantages of cloud computing for the pharma industry include:

  1. Scalability to business needs. Let’s say that today you have two medications on the market, but the company is adding two more in research and development.  This doubling of business processes would normally require installation and configuring of multiple new servers (and the hassle that comes along with that is enough of a headache to require significant investment in aspirin).  With cloud computing, as the business grows, so does the availability of RAM and storage.
  2. Faster project installment. With cloud computing, the “lab-to-launch” process is streamlined to increase operational speed and efficiency. Your R&D innovation for those two new products?  It was made exponentially easier with the scalability of cloud.  Now, after the product leaves the initial stages, the cloud continues to accommodate your data by growing throughout subsequent stages.  It enables better collaboration internally and externally, provides improved integration by breaking down information silos, and can handle all of the big data associated with the remainder of the life cycle: quality management, production, clinical trials, packaging, the regulatory process, marketing, etc.
  3. Resiliency. In today’s market, there is no room for a server blunder, as this could cost a business everything.  The beauty of cloud computing is the resiliency and recovery process should any outages occur due to natural or man-made disasters.  It may well be the first time that a disaster is not a disaster. (You can breathe now.)  And, as adoption of the cloud increases, expect even greater improvements with respect to security, privacy, data protection and IP management.
  4. Lower costs. Cloud computing enables pharmaceutical companies to move away from IT capital expenditures.  CAPEX-intensive deployments are suddenly less appealing than a business model in which your IT costs are a predictable operating expenditure.

Of course, there are more benefits.  However, these four benefits alone will strengthen pharmaceutical companies and improve their return on investment.  Given that, cloud computing is an option that should not be a tough pill to swallow.

Are you a pharmaceutical company interested in knowing more about the cloud?   We work with numerous health care companies, including those in the pharmaceutical industry.  We’d love to work with you too.  Get in touch!

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