Introduction Big Data in the Life Science and Pharmaceutical Industry
A key driving factor in the life science and pharmaceutical industry is the possibility to handle large volumes of data in order to access, manage and analyze the data. To be able to gain business efficiency and a good performance, the drug development needs to take place in a best time to market relationship. Therefore, more completed clinical trials are necessary in a shortened timeframe. An acceleration in the drug development leads to an improved drug pipeline, less costs and faster product releases and therefore better profitability.
I’ve been in the Document Management System (DMS) / Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS) market for more than 20 years. Sometimes very focused on a specific aspect e.g. Technical Documentation, sometimes more general e.g. ECMS platform and sometimes with focus on an industry segment e.g. Life Science. I have seen a lot of vendors, products and technologies coming and going. The latest acquisition and certainly the biggest one was just a week ago. Hopefully, this will not reduce the power of innovation.
Preface: From January 2016 to July 2016, I wrote my master’s thesis at fme in Brunswick, Germany. In the following blog post I am summarizing my thesis and thank all these people who supported me. Especially, my advisor and the IT department.
Tobias Stein, September 2016
Exponential data growth rates make the management of content an enormous challenge for organizations. Terms like »information overload« and »content chaos« express the inefficient situation regarding content management on an enterprise-wide scale. Employees search for documents in different versions, languages and formats across various repositories and systems through the entire company. However, these documents contain important and decision-relevant information that are becoming a key business resource. Moreover, compliance with statutory regulations and technical requirements with respect to storing huge amounts of data are complicated.
Mobile apps and Big Data are important topics, which are more and more relevant in the Life Science Industry. New media is available on a global base. That’s the reason why people and companies have to adapt their processes to this new digital age. People search for information on the internet and often trust blogs or forums more than the old fashioned ways. For medical problems they do not only trust doctors, but inform themselves on the web. The new social media has big influence on the ways on how information is provided and received. Also the way of interactive information exchange has changed. Formulas are used in a digital way, either on websites or also on mobile apps. Therefore data has to be accessed in a global way. Mobile apps are used outside of secure networks; therefore, also the related data has to be stored secure in a global way, which allows access from the internet.
Although both industries – Discrete Manufacturing and Process Manufacturing – are completely different, I see some similarities.
10 years ago, the only competitive threat for a traditional OEM came from another traditional OEM. All R&D Managers had an arrogant smile on the face when they heard about a small US company, which was entering the market with electric cars. Today this company – Tesla – is also an established player. But new competitors do appear on the horizon: Apple, Google, Uber and others. Companies with no knowledge about how to build, sell and maintain a car. Why is this possible?
Word has gotten around that big data is a new and promising IT discipline. There are many examples of successful big data applications. They include connected cars, mobile adversing and security analytics just to name a few. Not much is heard from the life science industry. Clearly the lines between medical devices and lifestyle products such as fitness trackers are gradually blurring.
Bitkom surveyed 102 companies from the pharmaceuticals sector about the digital transformation in 2015. According to this survey, 97 per cent of pharmaceutical companies believe that lifestyle products are going to make a significant contribution to operating results in the future. These companies would therefore hold an important component of the new value chain: the sensor that records a variety of vital functions.