Life sciences technology trends 2013: Every business is a digital business

Accenture research reveals key life sciences technology trends and recommends adopting a digital mindset to improve patient outcomes.


Our research finds that most life sciences companies look for opportunities to harness technology-based business enablers—such as social media and digital marketing—to work with industry partners in identifying latest treatments, making their products available in new markets, delivering patient services cost-effectively and making internal operations more efficient.

However, understanding pharmaceutical technology trends is no longer just the responsibility of the IT departments within life sciences companies. Every executive—COO, CMO, CEO and beyond—needs to embrace a digital mindset and leverage life sciences technology trends to pursue key business objectives.

In our latest report, which can be downloaded on the left side of this page, we evaluate seven key pharmaceutical technology trends that companies can use to find new targeted treatments with proven outcomes, expand secure supply chains to meet the needs in the developing markets, and provide healthcare practitioners and patients an integrated, engaging experience.

Find out more about these trends in detail or view the infographic to get a quick insight:

  • Relationships at scale

  • Design for analytics

  • Data velocity

  • Seamless collaboration

  • Beyond the cloud

  • Software-defined networking

  • Active defense


As the life sciences industry adapts to life in the “new normal” after the peak of the patent cliff, it is making radical changes in a number of crucial areas such as:

  • Business models: To manage increasing healthcare costs, life sciences companies must provide evidence of outcomes and economic benefits to support specialized therapies.

  • Specialized product portfolios: Thanks to advances in genomics and real-world patient data, life sciences companies are developing more personalized medicines.

  • Shifting global markets: To meet patient needs in developing markets, life sciences companies must collaborate seamlessly with new partners and adapt to new markets.

  • New services: With new opportunities to engage patients, life sciences companies can shift their mindsets from products to services, especially with new medical devices and diagnostics providing information to healthcare practitioners about their patients’ treatment.

Life science companies are devising new ways of understanding and supporting customers globally and across the healthcare value chain, and developing more collaborative and targeted R&D to improve productivity. This calls for a radical change in the way life sciences companies look at and harness technology as a key business enabler.

Key Findings

Life sciences organizations must adopt a higher order of thinking—a digital mindset—to set themselves apart from the competition. They must anticipate and respond to ongoing pharmaceutical technology-driven disruptions.

  • Relationships at scale: Life sciences companies must understand the specific needs of payers, providers, regulators, pharmacies, healthcare professionals and patients—and deliver more personalized service to these customers.

  • Design for analytics: Life sciences companies have access to vast quantities of research and commercial data. They need to formulate questions and derive actionable insights from the data that can lead to better products and services.

  • Data velocity: It is crucial for life sciences companies to quickly absorb and act on data—matching the speed of decision to speed of action.

  • Seamless collaboration: Companies can drive innovation and operational excellence by fostering a collaborative environment—between colleagues and partners—that allows creativity, productivity and networking across geographical and company boundaries.

  • Beyond the cloud: Life sciences companies that weave cloud capabilities into the fabric of their business processes can increase their operational efficiency.

  • Software-defined networking: By extending virtualization concepts to networks, life sciences companies can lower IT costs and improve agility. It will simplify collaboration with partners, expansion into new markets, and integrate acquisitions and spinouts of divisions.

  • Active defense: Securing intellectual property and maintaining control of critical regulated components is a battle as hackers target life sciences companies. Taking an active defense approach moves a company from reactively monitoring to proactively understanding patterns and adapting responses.

The executive leadership team must recognize that it is no longer possible to separate “the technology” from “the business.”

A life sciences organization cannot be at its best unless it excels at understanding and using latest pharmaceutical technology trends.


By maximizing the use of the emerging life sciences technologies, companies can achieve their most important business goals such as managing customer relationships, protecting intellectual property and getting newer medicines to market faster.

This digital mindset can help life sciences companies grow, innovate and derive insights from an increasingly quantified world. They can do so by:

  • Designing and implementing cross-functional ways of working.

  • Infusing the organization with an insights-driven culture. This calls for new ways of thinking about and acting on data.

  • Preparing for a state of constant evolution. This is where IT can step up to make the whole enterprise as agile as it can be, leveraging on-demand services such as the cloud, new patient and physician experience models, and data platforms.

  • Reframing IT’s purpose—from cost center to business driver. Companies need to develop data-savvy business professionals as well as IT staff with very different skill sets and aptitudes.

  • Devising specific measures to enable and motivate both employees and partners. That means rewards for collaboration, innovation and change.

Life sciences companies that take a lead in understanding the potential of new technologies will thrive in the oncoming era of increasingly specialized medicine and global markets.