New Technologies Lead to New Challenges for Outsourcing Providers - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

New Technologies Lead to New Challenges for Outsourcing Providers
A new challenge for outsourcing providers of business services in todays changing industry is to expand offerings to include new capabilities in areas such as social media, mobility and cloud computing. PharmTech Europe speaks to Bhaskar Sambasivan from Cognizant to find out more.

According to a recent survey of business and IT executives by Cognizant Business Consulting and Forbes Insights, most leading companies rely on their partners and expanding their external innovation networks and integrating them with their internal innovation teams, to foster and drive transformation across the enterprise (1). The report reveals that a majority of corporations are increasingly using social platforms, virtual communications, and collaboration tools to build new types of innovation ecosystems, which are used to gain insights, ideas and inspiration from both employees and external sources, including customers, partners and even competitors (1).

PTE: What interest are you seeing from pharmaceutical companies in the area of advanced analytics, such as the use of big data? How are pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking to leverage these data?

Sambasivan: One of the challenges the pharmaceutical industry faces is the huge volume of data coming from both internal and external sources that is not readily available or accessible. In the networked pharma model, data is fragmented across business partners, payers, providers, regulators, internal sources, social media and other public sources. Technologies that mine this “big data” are being piloted in many pharmaceutical companies to aid effective decision making and ensure safer adoption. Some examples of big data and analytics in the pharma industry include identifying patient population for targeted therapies, safety and adverse event mining and reporting from social media channels, and utilising social analytics on brands to decide on the most effective promotional strategies, to name a few. The biggest challenge with big data is in data curation, processing and reconciliation, as well as making the data available to relevant groups across the organisation. As such, enterprise information management and analytics are becoming a top priority for many business and IT leaders. Many large pharmaceutical companies have created strategic programmes that cater to big data across the value chain. Notable work is happening in particular in predictive sciences (using gene sequencing and bio informatics) to enable drug discovery. Progress is also being made using advanced analytics and algorithms to integrate data between the payer, customer and regulatory bodies, as well as electronic medical records and electronic health records.

PTE: In the coming years, are there other new areas of pharmaceutical outsourcing in which you expect to see increased or reduced interest?

Sambasivan: In the coming years, pharmaceutical outsourcing will continue to evolve with a greater focus on creating outsourcing partnerships that drive significant business transformation and innovation, yielding greater levels of business benefits. As a result, pharma companies may focus on creating fewer strategic outsourcing partnerships with an expectation that the partner will share a greater level of risk and investment. More emphasis will be placed on driving business outcomes, such as cycle time reduction, end user productivity and market share increase. We also expect newer areas to be outsourced that have traditionally been performed in-house, such as marketing management, digital marketing services, clinical study statistical analysis and regulatory submissions. In addition, as pharmaceutical companies place more focus on emerging markets, we expect a greater need to provide flexible, price competitive solutions and technologies to enable these markets.


1. Cognizant website, “Innovation Beyond the Four Walls: Breaking Down Innovation Barriers,”, accessed 19 Oct. 2012.


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