The cloud is one of the most value-creating technologies of our time. It is the foundation for the digital transformation that is driving profound changes in how businesses operate, compete and create value for all their stakeholders.
Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for life sciences companies to transform their ways of working to be able to continue to bring existing and new treatments to market, while mobilizing to develop vaccines and support a global health crisis. A few companies had already started their digital transformations before the pandemic as there was an increased demand for cloud-enabled capabilities such as digital biology, digital clinical trials and data science. As the crisis has unfolded, these leaders have further increased these investments while those who have not now have a much bigger challenge to address.
For life sciences companies, the cloud’s virtue is not just about running a more streamlined business, lowering costs and computing on demand. It is about the ability to unlock data, collaborate better across the ecosystem, create more meaningful patient and healthcare provider engagement and transform their culture to embrace these new ways of working.
Just adopting cloud technology or moving parts of the business to the cloud does not ensure business value.
Many life sciences companies have already selected their cloud partners and started their journey with private clouds or public cloud pilots. However, only a few life sciences companies are taking a "cloud first" approach where the cloud is primary and prioritized, extended beyond the IT organization and embraced by the whole organization.
life sciences companies said they haven’t achieved the results expected of their cloud initiatives to date.
are taking a hybrid cloud approach with a mix of cloud providers.
Getting the value of cloud in life sciences
Getting the most out of your cloud journey means you need to balance speed and value. A rushed migration without clear strategy can end up costing more, leaving legacy applications racking up consumption—and costs—at an alarming rate. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, each company should start with defining the value, mapping out the journey and determining how cloud will enable the overall business strategy and ambition.
For life sciences companies, that means adopting and adhering to the following key strategies:
Embrace cloud as a CEO priority
The entire enterprise needs to be aligned on the cloud strategy and its intended ROI; it cannot be a purely IT-driven exercise.
Build cross-functional teams and partnerships
Use the cloud as a catalyst to do things differently and draw new insights—from discovering new treatments to providing more precise patient support.
Expand your company's innovative spirit
Cloud enables fast experimentation, including testing new ways of working—this lets companies spin up new environments and try several ideas at once.
Unify responsibility and success metrics
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.
Invest in developing talent with digital skills
Go beyond building pockets of excellence to create an entire community of technologically savvy people.
Reshape the regulatory environment
Use the cloud to modernize regulatory approvals and policies around risk, security and data.
Cloud at work in life sciences
To support the innovation and pace of New Science with the cloud, life sciences companies need to prove that the science not only works in the lab but also show its effectiveness in patients in the form of better outcomes. This means they need a digital capability with speed and agility that can support accelerated cycles of new treatments and services.
Moving to the cloud enables this to happen in multiple ways:
1. Free the data
Managing and measuring patient outcomes is impossible without freeing patient data while securely accessing it across the company and partners.
2. Unify the value chain
Making the whole organization more accessible and open can enable everything from attracting top talent to advancing the discovery of New Science.
3. Ignite growth
The cloud allows companies to scale computational resources to the volume of genomic data being analyzed for cutting-edge therapies in development.
We worked with a large life sciences company to create a COVID-19 home-care app that helps patients manage the illness from home, in partnership with their healthcare providers. Patients capture their symptoms daily, and data is stored in the cloud.
The view from above
Cloud isn’t some future aspiration—it’s an urgent mandate at the heart of the business. COVID-19 has created an unprecedented wake-up call and an opportunity to embrace the promise of cloud in life sciences.
It takes courage and investment to shape the near-term progress of cloud technology in life sciences. It’s a big lift, but those companies that do will lead the New Science revolution with unparalleled resilience, agility, adaptability and scalability. They will empower their workforce, digitally transform their company and improve their ability to deliver better patient outcomes.
New science: Biopharma’s new growth engine
Accenture is investing $3 billion over the next three years to enable our clients to rapidly become CLOUD FIRST businesses.