Life Sciences Companies Moving to the Cloud See Sunny Days Ahead

The cloud is arguably one of the most value-creating technologies of our time. It is the foundation for the digital transformation driving massive changes in how businesses operate, compete and create value for stakeholders. Cloud technology for life sciences companies offers myriad possibilities.

It’s Not Just About Money 
For life sciences companies, the cloud’s value is not just about lowering costs. It is about the ability to unlock data, collaborate across the ecosystem with agility, create more meaningful engagements, enable better decisions, and transform cultures to successfully embrace new ways of operating. In addition, cloud computing facilitates the development of standard business processes, thereby enabling companies to outsource transactional processes and focus on those that genuinely add value. 

Said another way, the ultimate benefit for a research-intensive industry such as life sciences lies in the fact that cloud computing aids innovation. It provides a reliable, secure, scalable platform for collaborating with suppliers and other stakeholders, making it possible for a once-secretive industry to start sharing. 

Even Google is taking life sciences in the cloud seriously, offering businesses a way to ‘process, analyze, and annotate genomics and biomedical data at scale using containerized workflows.’

Cloud computing goes far beyond utility. It is not just a more efficient way of purchasing computing power but, rather, a way of facilitating new, more efficient business models. But success depends on boldness of vision and proper expectation-setting. 

In essence, all clouds enable the users to engage with each other, operate and innovate in smarter ways. It’s helpful to think in terms of multiple clouds, e.g. research, development, supply chain and commercial. 

Supply Chain Cloud Technology for Life Sciences

The management of the life sciences supply chain is challenging. The non-stop nature of pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution requires reliability and security. Many companies are also trying to shorten the production life cycle and reduce costs by outsourcing work to overseas contract manufacturers and carriers and closely collaborate with them. This means they must share data with numerous suppliers – and they must share the right data with the right suppliers in the right ways to create as much value as possible. A supply chain cloud that brings all the partners together using a common set of processes creates efficiencies.  

Manufacturing and distribution pose particular difficulties. Because many life sciences products must be made and transported at carefully controlled temperatures without being subjected to vibration or other potentially damaging environmental factors, they must be tracked at every stage throughout the supply chain. A cold-chain cloud with industry-wide standards would enable all the distributors and transport carriers in the supply chain to measure and monitor the products and issue alerts where necessary. It would also provide scalable resources for analyzing the data for both reporting and predictive purposes. 

Cloudy Forecast in Life Sciences? 

Two-thirds of life sciences companies say they haven’t achieved the results they expected from cloud infrastructure. Several obstacles to widespread adoption of cloud computing still remain, including concerns about data security, privacy and ownership, as well as the absence of global standards and protection of the interests of competing cloud users.  

Regarding security and reliability in particular, Logility has partnered with Microsoft to provide its comprehensive suite of solutions available on Microsoft Azure. Now, Azure customers can gain access to the Logility® Digital Supply Chain Platform. Furthermore, working with Microsoft strengthens Logility’s ability to provide a high-performing, secure and reliable environment for life sciences customers to access its extensive supply chain knowledge and experience.  

As we’ve pointed out before, simply adopting cloud technology for life sciences does not ensure ROI. Here are some pro tips: 

  • The entire enterprise, including the CEO, needs to be aligned on the cloud strategy and its intended ROI; it cannot be a purely IT-driven exercise 
  • Use the cloud as a catalyst to do things differently and draw new insights — from discovering new treatments to providing more precise patient support 
  • Bring all areas and functions moving to the cloud together to agree on what you want to achieve, how to achieve it and how you will measure success 
  • Go beyond building pockets of excellence to create an entire community of technologically savvy people 
  • Use the cloud to modernize regulatory approvals and policies around risk, security and data. 

We think some technologies are so powerful they actually live up to the hype. The cloud is one such technology. The life sciences industry is as capable as any other when it comes to the mechanics of deploying cloud-based solutions, but long-standing commitment to fierce competition and secrecy may prevent some from truly benefitting. Did the pandemic and industry’s response to it usher in a new and lasting spirit of collaboration? We’ll have to wait and see.

 Interested in reading more about empowering your life sciences supply chain for the modern world? Read this great blog about sustainability in the life sciences supply chain.