Forbes: Siloed Tech Solutions In Pharma: Past Their Due Date?

Donna Conroy, MS is Founder/CEO of SciMar ONE, Inc. a technology company building AI-based SaaS solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.

Following is an excerpt of a Forbes Technology Council  post written by SciMar CEO, Donna Conroy, MS. 


Drug development is a complex, intricate and multilayered process. The question pharma needs to evaluate is: Is it helping or further complicating the development process if multiple siloed technologies are being adopted and then manually stitched together?

Sept. 22, 2022 The pharmaceutical industry (or pharma for short) has historically been constrained in its ability to innovate with technology in drug development because choices were limited to single-purpose solutions that failed to scale across broader needs. To truly innovate and accelerate life-changing therapies for patients, pharma must move away from its dependency on siloed technology solutions.


Fortunately, a new wave of technology innovation powered by cloud computing and built by those with deep pharma expertise offers a more holistic approach. Pharma can now modernize its technology and its processes and thereby strategically align cross-operational efforts at scale to support enterprise-wide objectives.


Siloed Technologies Don’t Address Pharma’s Enterprise Challenges


Results of a recent Accenture study (download) of 250 global pharma and biotech leaders across research and development (R&D) functions found less than half report having achieved a desired state of digitalization. Two-thirds of pharma leaders report that organizational risk aversion stops them from “fully embracing digitalization.” The figure rises to 75% “in companies with market caps above $10 billion.” Although business risk aversion contributes to an innovation lag, other reasons pharma is reluctant to invest in unproven technologies include industry regulation and the potential for considerable risk to patients.


Another factor that can hinder the broad adoption of technology across pharma is cross-functional teams working in siloed environments evaluating point solutions. With 84% of companies stuck in “pilot purgatory” and less than 30% of pilots successfully scaling, it’s an issue worth exploring.


Reasons cited for why pilots fail to scale range from the lack of C-suite support to not having the right implementation teams. However, scaling point solutions that solve singular problems is unrealistic when what’s truly needed are solutions that address the enterprise-level challenges of accelerating drug development.


Challenges With Siloed Technology In Drug Development


Holistic solutions that address pharma’s enterprise ecosystem and align internal processes can have a true impact on efficiency and acceleration, allowing pharma to expedite life-changing therapies to the market. Siloed solutions may have served a purpose in the past—early on, pharma’s slow and calculated approach to technology was warranted, as patients were involved and point solutions mitigated risk. However, today, with pharma’s growing trust in technology, siloed solutions are no longer the answer to overall organizational success.


Technologies that support clinical trials are a prime example of siloed solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology and big data point solutions continue to be evaluated to solve individual challenges within the clinical trial process. But as these solutions operate independently from one another, they simply create more manual processes. Examples of siloed solutions in clinical trials include those focused on clinical trial design, patient identification, data collection tools for real-world evidence such as wearables and smartphone apps, the efficiency of clinical trials, the reduction of clinical trial cycle times and productivity costs.


Although these tools may provide benefits in the short term, they lack the broad approach to scale clinical trial processes and gain efficiencies. This inability to scale is associated with the need to manually stitch together technical outputs. Comprehensive technologies that improve clinical trial efficiencies and promote collaboration across the entire trial ecosystem remain a missing link.


The result is that the development of life-changing therapies remains slow. Without holistic solutions, the benefits of technology are diminished for both patients and pharma.


Technology Silos Impact The Business Side Of Development


Although siloed systems and manual processes plague the clinical side of the development coin, the same challenges exist on the business side. The development of life-changing therapies can be equally delayed by disconnected business efforts, reinforcing the need for more comprehensive technologies.


Read the full article here.

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