The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every player in every industry. Every company has had to respond quickly but none more so than the ones in the pharmaceutical sector. There was a sudden increase in demand for services and new products at the same time. However, as we all witnessed, production ramped up but in a highly chaotic manner and with a certain set of barriers/setbacks.
The digital revolution has, of course, helped the cause, but the path ahead needs to be treated with fast pace, agility and a holistic approach aimed at infusing tech in existing pharma structures to keep up.
Moving forward, the tech leader in any pharma organisation needs to drive sales and lead in the areas of customer acquisition, experience and retention, using technology as a base.
- Use analytics as a strategic weapon for business: In a pharma company, if the R&D cost is X, sales cost estimates to 3X. Both processes can deliver better efficiency with tech tools. Although pharma players are conditioned to process silos, breaking down this barrier to integrate data for cross-functional insights is absolutely uncompromisable.
With digital pharma services growing rapidly, sales teams must leverage technology to enhance productivity. This must be done using the best-of-tech tools available to generate and use pharma business intelligence. The existing sales teams may be unsure of how this is to be achieved. This is where tech leaders must step in to harness data from tech interfaces and make it consumable for top leaders and sales teams to understand and act upon.
Typically, it can take upto twelve years to get a new product in the market. If your data processing power can help you bring down this interim period from twelve to eleven years through analytics, it will make a huge difference to your organisation’s topline and shareholder value, and help make more intelligent decisions.
- Get tech minds for tech hires: With technology becoming more integral to business than ever before, it is crucial to have a team that understands how tech hiring works. Pharma talent acquisition teams are generally not geared up to the challenge of hiring technology roles. In order to stay competitive, hiring teams that understand tech should be deployed to tackle the situation. There are nuances about technology hiring that are both specialised and experiential. A tech leader will benefit immensely if assisted by the technology hiring specialists, saving a lot of time and effort.
- Harness AI to utilise its diverse application potential: The pandemic has pushed companies to continuously experiment and work on large-scale concepts in their search for new drugs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) hold vast potential and can drastically improve drug discovery, personalised medicine and pre-emptive diagnosis, among other things. Over the past few years, many companies globally have been founded around AI-based strategies for drug discovery and development, several of which have raised substantial funding.
Another aspect that requires tech talent is the pharma distribution landscape disruption via pharma e-commerce, which has now heated up with the foray of giants like Amazon. The tech leader needs to capture customer data points that can help the sales team for better decision making in areas like distribution channels and markets.
The pharmaceuticals market has already begun demanding research professionals adept at using AI and ML. Going forward, this trend is only going to grow with these tech skills becoming highly sought-after evidenced by more demand and scarce talent supply.
For a tech strategy to be successful in a pharmaceutical organisation, careful integration of technology capabilities, along with the right mix of talent, is essential. India currently ranks third worldwide for pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value. The growing interest of global players and investors in the sector simply spells that pharma is all set to soar further this year and beyond.