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Pandemic Opens Up Technology’s Future in Life Sciences

Accelerated digital transformation is increasing collaboration and streamlining patient engagement and supply chains, ISG Provider Lens report says

Companies in the life sciences sector, traditionally slow to change, have accelerated their adoption of new technologies in response to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and other developments, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

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“COVID continued to accelerate technology adoption in 2022, but the major trends affecting the industry are irreversible”

The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Life Sciences Digital Services global report finds that life sciences enterprises have made significant progress over the past three years in adopting digital technology at scale. The pandemic upended many common practices, including in-person patient visits and just-in-time supply deliveries, forcing companies to introduce new, digital processes. The entry of small, agile startups has also accelerated the pace of technology adoption.

“Technology is becoming part of the DNA of life sciences companies,” said Jennifer Stein, ISG partner and Life Sciences industry lead. “Solution providers are helping to catalyze change by innovating and collaborating with clients more than ever.”

In the past year, many enterprises have gone from pilot projects to large-scale implementations of new technologies. Their innovative approaches incorporate advances in automation, analytics, end-to-end integration, cloud transformation, platform-agnostic software and other capabilities, ISG says.

The biggest impact of digital transformation has been in clinical development, where new technologies have allowed companies to accelerate enrollment, collect and analyze more data and better engage with health care professionals, the report says. Supply chain management and regulatory reporting have also improved.

The pandemic also kicked off major changes in patient engagement, ISG says. Technologies that enabled decentralized clinical trials, allowing patients to participate without going to research facilities in person, have also shortened trials and enhanced safety and data management. Life sciences companies are becoming increasingly centered on patients, treating them more often as the ultimate customers of the industry’s products, partly in response to rising patient activism, ISG says.

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Firms have also streamlined manufacturing and supply chain processes in response to the pandemic by introducing automation and integrating processes, machines, inventories and customer demand across the product lifecycle, the report says. Pharmacovigilance (PV), which ensures product safety and compliance, is improving through the use of machine learning and natural-language processing.

“COVID continued to accelerate technology adoption in 2022, but the major trends affecting the industry are irreversible,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “Solution providers are helping clients develop the change management capabilities they need.”

For more insights into the industry’s current challenges and advice on how life sciences companies can remain competitive, see the ISG Provider Lens™ Focal Points briefing here.

The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ global Life Sciences Digital Services report evaluates the capabilities of 30 providers across five quadrants: Clinical Development Digital Transformation Services, Patient Engagement Digital Transformation Services, Manufacturing Supply Chain Digital Transformation Services, PV and Regulatory Affairs, and Med Tech Digital Transformation Services.

The report names Capgemini, Cognizant, TCS and Wipro as Leaders in all five quadrants. It names Accenture and HCLTech as Leaders in four quadrants each and Atos and PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific as Leaders in three quadrants each. Genpact, HARMAN DTS, Hexaware, IQVIA, LTIMindtree, LTTS and Tech Mahindra are named as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Birlasoft, Genpact, Hexaware, LTIMindtree and Persistent Systems are named as Rising Stars — companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition — in one quadrant each.

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