tech trends

Perspectives

Tech Trends 2021: A life sciences perspective  

Embracing emerging tech trends with confidence

Which life sciences technology trends have the most potential to affect your business, and how can you prepare for the digital journey ahead? Dive into nine innovations shaping the life sciences technology of the future; plus, discover key insights and actionable advice for life sciences leaders.

Reimagining how we organize, operate, and strategize

While unpredictability is universal, the life sciences industry has a clear and constant mission to steer by: developing and delivering products, services, and support offerings that improve the lives of customers, patients, communities, and employees. To that end, leaders must dedicate themselves to staying one step ahead of emerging life sciences technologies.

Below, we explore nine important trends shaping technological innovation in the life sciences industry, as well as the level of impact they could have on the industry and how ready organizations must be to address them. We look at how life sciences technology trends are elevating fundamental business processes, from the way business strategy is engineered to the modernization of core assets and transforming supply chains into value enablers. We consider new data optimization techniques that turbocharge machine learning, and we also analyze how zero trust revolutionizes cybersecurity architecture to protect that data. Last, but certainly not least, we explore the boundary between the physical and virtual worlds rapidly disappearing and how emerging technology may be used to reimagine the life sciences workplace, create more human experiences, and bolster equity initiatives.

It is our hope that this perspective can help forward-thinking life sciences organizations better understand the technological forces that spur innovation and confidently harness them to help fuse their business with their purpose and bring new solutions to life.
 

Take a closer look

Explore the relevance of these emerging tech trends to the biopharma and medtech sectors—and see if your company is ready to move forward.

Technology trends facing the life sciences industry

Strategy, engineered

As business and technology strategy become increasingly inseparable, technology choices bear a greater role in enabling—or potentially constraining—organizational strategy.

  • That’s why strategists at life sciences companies are turning to advanced strategic platforms equipped with advanced analytics, automation, and AI.
  • These tools are being used to continually identify internal and external strategic forces, inform strategic decisions, and monitor outcomes.

Core revival

As the C-suite increasingly views technology modernization as an imperative to enable strategic change, pioneering IT leaders are embracing new approaches, technologies, and business cases to revitalize core assets.

  • Some pioneering life sciences companies are beginning to use clever outsourcing arrangements to reengineer traditional business cases for core modernization.
  • Likewise, some are exploring opportunities to shift core assets to increasingly powerful platforms, including low-code options.
  • Finally, many are advancing their “platform-first” strategies by addressing technical debt in ERP systems and migrating nonessential capabilities to other platforms.

Supply unchained

Pioneering companies are using advanced digital technologies, virtualized data, and cobots to transform supply chain cost centers into customer-focused, value-driving networks.

  • First, they are exploring ways to transform the supply chain cost center into a customer-focused driver of value.
  • They are also virtualizing big data, making it accessible and interoperable across extended supply networks.
  • Finally, some forward-looking organizations are using robotic process automation, wearables, and cobots to make physical supply chain environments safer for human workers.

MLOps: Industrialized AI

The era of artisanal AI must give way to MLOps—the application of engineering discipline to automate ML model development, maintenance, and delivery—to shorten development life cycles and industrialize AI.

  • Sophisticated machine learning models help life sciences companies efficiently discover patterns, reveal anomalies, make predictions and decisions, and generate insights.
  • As AI and machine learning mature, a strong dose of engineering and operational discipline can help life sciences companies overcome these obstacles and efficiently scale AI to enable business transformation.

Machine data revolution: Feeding the machine

To achieve the benefits and scale of AI and MLOps, data must be available for native machine consumption, not humans, causing organizations to rethink data management, capture, and organization.

  • As part of a growing trend, life sciences companies are deploying new technologies and approaches, including advanced data capture and structuring capabilities, analytics to identify connections among random data, and next-generation cloud-based data stores to support complex modeling.

Zero trust: Never trust, always verify

A zero trust cybersecurity posture provides the opportunity to create more robust and resilient security, simplify security management, improve end-user experience, and enable modern IT practices.

  • Zero trust is rooted in the concept that no device, network, or user is inherently trusted, even when considered “internal” to the enterprise.
  • In zero trust architectures, every access request is validated based on all available data points, including user identity, device, location, and other variables.
  • Data, applications, workloads, and other resources are treated as individual, manageable units to contain breaches, and access is provided based on the principle of least privilege.

Rebooting the digital workplace

The digital workplace represents a fundamental shift in the way work gets done. Organizations are embracing technology to optimize individual and team productivity, collaboration, and the employee experience at large.

  • Life sciences companies may be able to overcome the digital workplace’s deficits and ambiguities by more intentionally embracing its positive aspects, including the data generated by workers’ tools and platforms.
  • As onsite workspaces and headquarters evolve, organizations can use this data to create thriving, productive, and cost-effective offices that are seamlessly interwoven with the remote experience.

Bespoke for billions: Digital meets physical

Forced to embrace digital faster than ever, organizations are recognizing that the desired human experience strikes a balance between making physical human experiences more digital and digital experiences more physical.

  • In response, companies are developing sophisticated human experience platforms that will enable brands to orchestrate a seamless, highly personalized journey across all channels.

DEI tech: Tools for equity

Organizations have access to increasingly sophisticated tools to support their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across the talent life cycle. The tools seek to make DEI decision-making and processes more data-driven.

  • Many organizations are embracing DEI as a business imperative, with a growing number adopting holistic, systemwide initiatives that address individual and organizational biases and inequity to enhance overall enterprise performance.

View our previous Tech Trends reports

2019 Tech Trends | 2018 Tech Trends

Contributors

Aditya Kudumala

Keith Brogan

Kevin Sullivan

Elaine Loo

Sheryl Jacobson

 

Todd Konersman

Patrick McBrearty

Michael Black

Matt Humphreys

Mike Ice 

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