Our report on Digital Transformation in the Lab looked into the extent to which labs have undergone digital transformation, from the maturity of digital end-to-end data strategies to the level of implementation of digital technologies being used. It showed that within life sciences, most labs have been slow to adapt to the pace of change, despite growing pressures from an increasingly digital world.

Within the consumer goods industry – including packaged goods, consumer health, cosmetics, food and beverage, agribusiness and others -- we are seeing the same trend. These organizations use laboratories to fuel product innovation in R&D and to drive quality assurance in manufacturing, with the goal of enriching our lives with a wide range of products that we use every day. Without cohesive digital lab strategies, many companies have amassed years of siloed data leaving tremendous untapped potential for research productivity and innovation. Adding to this challenge is the attrition loss of intellectual property as researchers retire or leave for different industries and the institutional knowledge leaves with them.

As a result, researchers are often forced to spend precious time filling out paperwork by hand or recreating experiments that have already been performed several times over. The research reproducibility crisis is staggering in Consumer Goods because digital processes have not been adopted, all while the tools and capabilities of digital technology outside of the lab continue to improve.

It’s a perfect storm of challenging data concerns that requires a thoughtful and planned approach towards a solution.

Building the connected lab of the future

The case for adopting a digital strategy has already moved from experimental to essential. The pressures of consumer expectations and the resulting hyper-personalization of products and fixation on material traceability and product integrity have created a situation where organizations and labs can no longer operate with the status quo. Competitors and digitally native start-ups with clear digital strategies threaten to unseat longstanding companies who are hesitant to transform. In order to combat this challenge, companies must make moves to develop a digital transformation plan and then execute it in order to accelerate innovation and create a competitive advantage.

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But how?

To be a leader in this new data-driven world, scientists across all types of Consumer Goods organizations must fundamentally transform how they create, manage, and effectively use all the data that is generated in labs across their ecosystem. Achieving this outcome requires a thoughtful approach anchored by an effective, sustainable, and comprehensive data strategy.

Accenture has successfully developed and implemented a three-phase approach to digital transformation that moves from foundational, to transformational, then to aspirational. You can learn more about the approach in our Digital Transformation report.

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To be a leader in this new data-driven world, scientists across all types of Consumer Goods organizations must fundamentally transform how they create, manage, and effectively use all the data that is generated in labs across their ecosystem.

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An agile approach to lab innovation

Despite decades of investment, few companies have truly “digitally enabled” labs. For those still contemplating whether to invest more in the journey, digital transformation can start sooner than they might think. Not all transformations take place at the same pace, however the destination is the same. There are methods to pilot new digital innovations within each phase that will deliver value and scale digital transformation in a manner that’s right for each individual business. For example, we can dip into the Transformational and Aspirational buckets before fully implementing the Foundational elements. This agility and willingness to “fail fast” and focus on digital lab innovations that will scale in terms of value and quality lead to a long-term willing formula.

Five components of a truly digital lab

Our Digital Lab Transformation report identifies five key steps that will help Consumer Goods companies achieve digital lab excellence as they navigate transformation.

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#1 – End-to-end Data Strategy: develop plans for the interoperability, semantic business context, and governance of data throughout creation, storage, editing, reporting, analytics.

#2 – Human Experience: enable scientists to work in the best possible digital environment that empowers them to amplify the use of their scientific capability at work and share knowledge.

#3 – Lab Operations: deploy and adopt integrated systems and digital automation that improve lab processes and activities to free up human capacity and ingenuity.

#4 – Lab Connectivity: provide true connectivity in which all instruments, equipment, consumables and workers are able to connect inside and outside the lab.

#5 – Ecosystem Collaboration: create an environment in which standard ways of working and sharing across internal and external networks is possible in a seamless and collaborative fashion.

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We know what must happen for consumer goods companies to stay relevant to their customers. Those that embrace digital transformation in the lab, the enabler of product innovation, will win in the consumer marketplace.

Related blogs

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The Great Divide: The world of scientists in and out of the lab

Brian Potter discusses what's happening within the life sciences laboratory.  

Harnessing the power of networks via the INTIENT platform

Accenture's INTIENT platform enables innovation by connecting and ecosystem of partners.

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Adam Borenstein

​Managing Director – Accenture Scientific Informatics Services​​​

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