Head in the Clouds - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Head in the Clouds
As consumers, we've all no doubt heard of cloud computing, but how is it being used in the business world? We interview Subhro Mallik from IT firm Infosys about how pharma is responding to the cloud computing phenomenon and what more can be done to realise business benefits.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 24, Issue 2

Q: How would a pharma company go about migrating certain computing services to a cloud?

There are several key steps that pharmaceutical companies should address when looking to migrate computing services to the cloud. Firstly, the IT team must choose a service that can be used as a proof of concept. The team should look for a service that has some dimension of scalability and specific security requirements to ensure flexibility and data protection. Secondly, the IT team should choose a service that requires new capabilities or which does not have suitable existing infrastructure. NGS is a great example of this because the demand on computing power is one of the biggest challenges for pharma companies. With its flexibility and large storage capabilities, cloud computing has the potential to offer the perfect environment for NGS and can act as a great case study for the business. Thirdly, once the right service has been selected, a clear migration roadmap, with measurable goals, is vital to show the on-going ROI of a project. Lastly, throughout this process, it is important that the team effectively communicate the project's progression and business benefits to the management team to ensure that adoption is continually aligned to the company's broader goals.

Q: Looking ahead, how do you think cloud computing will advance? How might this affect the pharma industry?

Cloud computing offers the pharmaceutical sector a chance to cut the cost of global collaboration and help drive research efficiency by enabling more effective information sharing. Cloud computing is here to stay and while we've already seen some great examples of what it has to offer, the pharmaceutical sector has to maintain this momentum. If pharma companies are to truly adopt cloud computing, they should be able to convert many of their fixed costs, such as IT infrastructure and software licensing, into variable costs to help better manage their fluctuating revenue streams. In return, the service providers themselves will have to start offering higher end services, such as business processing, which will help reduce even more substantial parts of a business' fixed costs.

Subhro Mallik is associate vice president, life sciences, at Infosys.


1. C. Books, "Amazon touts Pfizer and other wins in the enterprise", (SearchCloudComputing, 2010). http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/, accessed 5 Jan., 2012)


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