Pharma was forced to shuffle technology investment priorities due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for pharma companies to rethink their operations and customer access. Embracing digital transformation will have an important role to play in ensuring that the industry overcomes existing and long-term business challenges, seizes opportunities and continues to thrive in challenging business landscape, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, Digital Transformation and Emerging Technology in the Healthcare Industry – 2020, reveals that social media and cloud computing became the most dominant technologies for current investments for pharma in 2020, with respectively 60% and 56% pharmaceutical industry professionals* confirming this trend.

Urte Jakimaviciute MSc, Senior Director of Market Research, comments: “Comparing to 2019 data, the percentage of companies investing in social media and cloud computing has grown by more than 20%. On the other hand, investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data – the main ongoing investment targets in 2019 – were down by more than 10%. This suggests that these investments were put on hold to allow organizations to concentrate on current business needs.

“Despite already being an essential strategic initiative, digital transformation has taken on heightened importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus provided pharma companies with a chance to critically reflect on the new ways to drive value in business. Technologies such as cloud computing, cybersecurity and digital platforms are facilitating processes such as remote working or decentralized clinical trials, while social media has become a powerful tool to ensure better customer reach.”

Lockdowns, movement restrictions and social distancing norms have rapidly undermined traditional sales and marketing methods, forcing companies to turn to more digital methods instead. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, marketing initiatives are increasingly focusing on digital and social media campaigns to create remote yet personalized and tailored messaging for patients and physicians alike.

Jakimaviciute adds: “While the industry sees a digital transformation as the way to ensure business continuity, simply adding new technology for digitalization sake will not solve the business problems. Companies need to understand their vulnerabilities

in order to capitalize on the digital transformation and build resilience strategies. To get the most out of emerging technologies, businesses must be clear about the objectives they want to achieve from before the investments begin.”

* A total of 194 GlobalData Pharma clients and prospects participated in the survey, which was fielded from 17 September 2020 to 6 October 2020.

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