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Cloud Computing in Pharma Industry

By Joe Touey, Senior Vice President, GSK North America Pharmaceuticals IT

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Joe Touey, Senior Vice President, GSK North America Pharmaceuticals IT

Many Pharma and life sciences companies consume cloud computing in the form of software-as-a-service. GSK deploys all email and collaboration technology— in the Microsoft cloud. Hence we operate in several countries with hundred thousand employees; and use global standard solutions instead of localized solutions. GSK’s quick deployment and standard solutions makes it easy to get currency of functionality. Being in the cloud, upgrades for software service and new functionality is acquired thrice a year from suppliers. When deployed internally, a company has to spend a huge capital to continue to upgrade but GSK has that built-in from the start. From the cost perspective—it’s a variable cost, its cluster user and is very predictable. It’s not as capital intensive, but one has to lay a considerable software front. The company’s long term benefit is the ability to share information across other companies and globally, it is enhanced in these areas over time.

Proactive Use of Data

In case of HR, it’s difficult to get information of human matrix in a standard way, not just for employees but all the contractors. The cloud in the HR analytics space has helped to get through standard view and gain a better insight. With regard to Big Data in R&D, companies have a lot of scientific data and in the commercial space and there is a significant amount of customer data, patient data, and paired data. This area is complex, and there are three things to be done. First step involves deciding if one wants to outsource this data or in-source it. This has to be done in terms of Big Data, with regard to R&D data, commercial data, the big analytics, and marketing pair. There is a balance in Big Data internally and they are standardized. GSK also offers a degree in that same environment for flexibility to do new analytics. The company also creates analytical labs in that same environment except they get the same data. One needs to pay attention to the crumbs of assorted data, and has to create a master data management strategy.

Evolution of Data in the Field

GSK‘s business process is aligned and has a deep insight into certain parts of the process, whether we are experts in research or pre-clinical or development or medical strategies of marketing or sales or sales support. 3-5 years ago GSK was more of a corporate function, however, now the company is a part of the business strategy. The business in a good way is a healthy way to come out with a solution that goes with the product, where the information products are important in this world of mobility and multichannel. The company has multi-channels creating portals for patients and for ACPs to go in and get the samples and medical description. We are becoming a bigger part of everyday life of the pharmaceutical V/s technical industry.

"To be the change, one needs to understand the environment and help adopt new business models and make a better place for most."

Deeper the business processes, better the understanding of the business environment. Business products need to be experts in the external environment. Secondly, a business person needs to understand the business challenges. IT is a business process expert. Many firms and business understand their areas but they don’t have an enterprise view. To be the change, one needs to understand the environment and help adopt new business models and make a better place for most.

Internet of Things and Pharma and Life Sciences

After Barrack Obama came into action in 2010, with the help of electronic health records, the whole delivery system of the U.S. is going from paper to digitalized electronic health records. In the next 5 years the information would be the currency of the industry, and it’s going to shift from the seller’s market to buyer’s market. The patients will have more transparency about data, more information about the service and more knowledge about the pharmaceutical products they take. With the Internet of Things, everything would be on the mobile device.

From a deep perspective the powers are unbelievable. Today pharmaceutical companies struggle to get patients recruited on clinical studies. GSK makes great progress in its clinical systems to improve that and are working on the efficiency of recruiting patients, by getting moderate study to get the data, demonstrate the effectiveness of a safety drugging, and report it to FDA. That whole process improves significantly; even patients can select the right criteria of study. Once digitized and transparent, the process of actual research picks up the pace with more opportunity.

Challenges in the Market

In the north of the U.S., putting immense amount of pressure on pricing on differentiating products and getting really the right message is what’s important. With the ability for the big funds and commissions, they get the message to multiple participants . Providers  who are very time constraint, patients who want more and more information payers and , having very much used digital channels to tell a consistent story about the new exciting products is what’s important. These are complex products and one has to use more mobile phones, digital websites ACB portals, patient portals that are going to become personalized for those starting GP or about how that therapy actually creates an impacts. This causes increasing risk of hacking within organizational systems. To improve this one needs to have better ways of vulnerability detection and excellent people in the system, enforcing an apparent system to escape and monitor them very carefully and systematically. This is the weakness of the internet and there has to be some advancement in this area. Technology needs to advance quickly for global health care ecosystem that will become a reality in next 5 years.

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