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The future of applications in life sciences

Three strategies—liquid, intelligent and connected—for developing and maintaining applications to unlock new digital opportunities.


Reimbursement changes, geographic shifts and scientific advances are collectively driving a need for rapid change in operating models and the technologies that support them for all life sciences companies. M&A activity last year was at an all-time high, affecting IT departments and their ability to integrate and divest multiple systems swiftly and seamlessly. In addition, after years of selling primarily to institutions and providers, life sciences companies are pivoting to provide additional services to patients to drive better health outcomes. This shift is driving new requirements in systems and processes across R&D, sales and marketing, and supply chain.

Underpinning all of these changes is the omnipresent shift to digital. Digital offers a significant opportunity for life sciences companies to unlock business value through new business models. However, many of them are trying to compete in the digital world with applications that were designed for another era.

"To seize the digital opportunity, life sciences companies need to fundamentally rethink how applications should be built and deployed."


The Future of Applications in Life Sciences. This opens a new window.DOWNLOAD THE PDF [PDF, 984KB]

Key Findings

Three new application strategies—liquid, intelligent and connected—can help life sciences companies shape the future and lead the industry.

LIQUID APPLICATIONS are those that are assembled leveraging modular architectures and platforms, next-generation integration techniques and a cloud-first, mobile-first mindset. These elements, combined with engineering approaches such as Agile, mean that software can be continuously delivered and evolve as business needs change.

With liquid development, applications can support business opportunities faster and at lower cost, while allowing organizations to become more patient-centric and consumer-oriented.

INTELLIGENT APPLICATIONS offer three critical capabilities—intelligent automation, integrated analytics and self-governance. That is, intelligent applications can be taught to act as digital agents and to learn and govern themselves autonomously—revolutionizing customer service, IT management and business innovation.

Intelligent, analytics-based applications provide enormous opportunities for R&D when it comes to compliance and the discovery phase of regulatory approval.

CONNECTED APPLICATIONS are required to dynamically interface with business partner and customer ecosystems in today’s highly networked, digital business environment. When properly designed and managed, an ecosystem multiplies the power of all the participants, leading to combinations of functionality—and revenue opportunities—that would previously have been difficult to achieve.

Connected applications have the potential to redefine patient services—including hospital networks, doctors, physicians and caregivers.


Digital is redefining how applications are created, how they incorporate and manage intelligence, and how they are connected to a broader ecosystem inside and outside a company. The success of life sciences companies will be determined in part by their ability to challenge current approaches to software development. Many companies’ existing operating models for software development are not fit for purpose for today’s business environment. Software must be viewed as a revenue generating product of the company, and business and IT teams will need to work even closer to drive continuous innovation.  

Today’s life sciences industry is increasingly high velocity and software driven. Sooner or later, these two realities will push every company to rethink its potential and reinvent itself. The opportunity is there to begin that reinvention today, starting with a fundamentally new approach to the business of applications.

How can life sciences companies move forward with these three important design principles? Here are a few “how-to’s”:  

  • MOBILIZING FOR LIQUID: Implement new architecture and abstraction strategies Future-proof your applications

  • EMBEDDING INTELLIGENCE EVERYWHERE: Apply intelligent automation to application lifecycle practices Integrate analytics with business processes

  • BUILDING AND NURTURING ECOSYSTEMS: Develop and implement a strategy for managing a larger network of partners Prepare for resiliency


The Future of Applications in Life Sciences. This opens a new window.DOWNLOAD THE PDF [PDF, 984KB]


Ramnath Venkataraman
Global Application Services Lead

 Mail to Ramnath Venkataraman. This opens new window.

Brags Srinivasan
Global Life Sciences Technology Lead

 Mail to Brags Srinivasan. This opens new window.