The weather in Malaga may not have been too hot, but the discussions within the Molina Lario hotel over two days last week were intense.
CSC hosted this forum, which attracted some of the top life science company execs from across central and southern Europe, as well as a roll call of leading technology providers.
Topics covered ranged from big data, cybersecurity and standards automation, to regulatory compliance outsourcing, digital transformation and agility. Gartner provided a well-researched overview of how the supply chain is evolving in life sciences, and there was a CIO round table which could easily have lasted twice as long as the time allocated to it.
The CIOs at the round table were: Albert Almajano of Grupo Indukern; Dietmar Bettio of Nobel Biocare; Matthias Moritz of Almirall; and Sergio Gistas of Esteve. They concluded that, as nowadays businesses can have ‘everything, everywhere’, the choices they make will be vital. Cost savings are important, but so of course is security. Big data is also seen as an essential tool for life sciences companies, but the CIOs agreed that there are still too few people who are sufficiently competent to interpret the resulting analysis.
Again, they all agreed that analytics from social media is coming to the fore. This is publicly available personal data, which people are providing openly and willingly through social media platforms. The panel felt that, within ethical guidelines, companies should look to leverage it wherever it makes sense to do so. Some are already using this externally-generated data to drive campaigns; for example, you can very quickly pick up trends on social media, such as a type of illness affecting a certain town or city. It will not be long at all before sales and marketing people will be able to ask these tools to tell them, “How are people feeling in Barcelona this week, and what might they need from us?”
The CIOs felt that services based in the cloud, especially from trusted providers such as CSC, were now safe to use. These are starting to be used to orchestrate and deploy resources, and new services such as ‘clinical trials in the cloud’ are starting to emerge. Several players may need to collaborate to generate content for these services, and the CIO panel was unanimous in saying that secure collaboration was becoming increasingly important to their enterprises.
The forum included a fabulous gala dinner at the Picasso Museum. I had been hoping for a private tour there, but it was not to be. Walking through the gleaming streets of Malaga with the orange trees heavy with fruit, we reminisced on what we had learned during the day. Life sciences is an industry sector perfectly positioned to exploit the new technologies that are already prevalent in markets such as financial services. While security and compliance are always a consideration, there are now trusted providers who can deliver a range of solutions and services to drive technology-enabled, and capital-efficient, innovation into pharmaceutical companies.