In brief

In brief

  • Each year, Accenture assesses the technology landscape to identify trends that will have the greatest impact on organizations in the years ahead.
  • Accenture’s 2019 Technology Vision study included a survey of 130 leaders in life sciences from 8 countries.
  • We found that 86 percent of life sciences companies are experimenting with new technologies to drive innovation and better patient outcomes.
  • Leaders in the coming years will seize upon three trends to shape the future of life sciences.

Say hello to the post-digital future

The widespread acceptance of digital technologies in the life sciences industry signals that we are entering a post-digital era. It’s an era where new innovations will be powered by new technologies. Where the manner in which companies use new technologies will serve as catalysts for change.

Some biopharma and medical technology companies are moving headfirst into the post-digital world. They are bringing advances in data, genomics and diagnostics together, as well as new methods, technologies and therapeutics to meet unmet needs and stave off disruptive outside forces. Some are embracing "New Science", which combines the best in science and technology to drive growth, improve R&D and clinical outcomes, and transform patient experiences.


Accenture’s 2019 Technology Vision revealed several trends that are collectively paving the way to the future of life sciences. Adjusting to these trends will pose significant challenges for companies that are not planning for their impact. But for those that are ready, opportunities abound. Leading biopharma and medical technology companies will run toward, not away from, the changing technological and market landscape.


of life sciences companies are already experimenting with DARQ technologies.


agree that the integration of customization and on-demand delivery will mark the next big wave of competitive advantage.

Trend 1: DARQ Power

Life sciences companies have repeatedly shown their willingness to invest in technologies like data analytics and genomics. While these investments will continue to be important, so will investments in “post-digital” technologies that are poised to change the game—namely Distributed Ledgers, AI, Extended Reality solutions and Quantum Computing (DARQ).

  • AI and machine learning can help teams process massive amounts of genomic, molecular, cellular and patient biology data to not only accelerate the identification of new compounds, treatments, biological targets, pathways and clinical trial participants, but also predict a new therapy’s efficacy and safety.
  • AI and cloud computing can help organizations test or model thousands of compounds at scale, thereby reducing the cost of drug discovery and driving better forms of clinical care.
  • Distributed ledger technologies can be used to authenticate and trace ingredients of every drug. They can also reduce costs and improve efficiencies by enabling data sharing across a common network.
  • Extended reality solutions applied in a lab, within training programs, or even in meetings between medical reps and physicians provide a simulated environment that mimics the real world.
  • Quantum computing, while not as mature as the other technologies today, is also expected to contribute significantly to the evolution of drug discovery and personalized medicine in the coming years.

Trend 2: MyMarkets

In a world where customer demand is communicated instantly and gratification is expected immediately, life sciences companies have the chance to take a leading role in the reshaping of the healthcare industry.

But before they do, they need to know as much about their customers, patient segments and caregiving networks as possible. Understanding how patients use current technologies can provide valuable insights into their usage of future digital health solutions. Patients’ digital identities will become even more important as digital health tools become more common and more widely accepted.

Trend 3: Human+ workers

As life sciences companies expand their use of emerging technologies, they will improve their operations, as well as their ability to respond to momentary opportunities at scale. But only if they empower their workforces to use new technologies in innovative ways.

The move into the DARQ will require new skills and new roles—including oversight roles to ensure that companies are using new technologies in ethical, compliant and appropriate ways. It will require companies to embrace technologies as valuable co-workers, collaborators and trusted advisors to workforces across the organization. And it will require new approaches to talent-finding and training.

The combination of New Science and new technologies is ushering in a new era of life sciences. It’s an era of massive expectations, momentary markets and global opportunity. It’s an era characterized by relevance.

Preparing for what’s next

Forward-thinking biopharma and medical technology companies are setting their course to the new post-digital reality today. They are embracing the trends that are reshaping the industry. And they are asking the right questions to ensure they are ready for what’s next.

Where will you go?

About the Authors

Geoff Schmidt

Managing Director – Cloud First, Life Sciences

Gro Blindheim

Managing Director – Life Science​s

Jonathan Burr

Managing Director – Life Sciences Technology

Theo Forbath

Managing Director - Technology Advisory Products Lead

Andy Greenberg

Managing Director – Connected Health, Industry X.0

Sowmya Srinivasan

Managing Director – Life Sciences


Technology Vision 2019
The science of security
BioPharma: Fueling new growth

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