What Pharma Wants From IT Today - Pharmaceutical Executive

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What Pharma Wants From IT Today
The 2005 Pharmaceutical Executive/Life Science Insights Information Technology Survey


Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing A lower percentage of respondents (12 percent) cite e-detailing and patient registries as key technology priorities. Technologies with greater importance are data mining/business intelligence (52 percent) and campaign management (23 percent). The use of data-mining and campaign-management solutions will grow as marketers continue to be pressured to do more with lean staffs. Each marketing activity will be systematized and customized, and the tracking of increased output will enable enhanced decision-making for future customer interactions.

We expect investments in patient registries to continue to grow as companies examine and update their pharmacovigilance capabilities. Post-marketing patient registries have risen in importance since the FDA finalized its "Premarketing Risk Assessment" guidelines in March 2005. E-detailing also persists as an area of focus for marketing teams as a way to cut costs and increase physician prescribing. Quality and timeliness of information continue to be barriers to wider e-detailing adoption.

IT and corporate management Information lifecycle management (ILM) and regulatory compliance are reported by the highest percentage of respondents as their top priorities, followed by security and data integration.

ILM enables the balancing and distribution of data across the right storage devices, over the right period of time, ensuring that archived data is accessible. ILM, compliance, and security issues have become intertwined because of the flood of measures—the USA Patriot Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Basel II, as well as SEC, NASD, and FDA guidelines—that mandate controls pertaining to records management, business continuity, and risk management. These regulations have caused company leaders to be held more accountable for good practices in information management, and have elevated ILM for compliance as a boardroom issue.

The major hurdle for ILM is the planning, development, and implementation of policies, processes, and skill changes. An ILM strategy involves a spectrum of issues, including the consideration of the value, protection, retention, availability, and cost of maintenance of information across a management lifecycle. Communication of what policies exist and who owns the policies and training on SOPs is critical to the success of an ILM strategy.

IT security remains in the forefront of IT and business concerns, and is one of the top IT-spending categories across industries. The data-sensitive business nature of the pharmaceutical industry makes it particularly vigilant about avoiding information security breaches, and security is perceived as a business necessity. The majority of IT and corporate management respondents currently invest in security. And while fewer invest in ILM at this time, they expect to increase their investments within the next two years.

Ellen Julian is a research director for Life Science Insights, an IDC Company. She can be reached at

Tips for Choosing IT Vendors When it comes to selecting a vendor for IT products or services, respondents to the 2005 Information Technology Survey cite "knowledge and experience in our industry" as the top criterion. "Product/technology knowledge" follows close behind. Clearly, pharma companies are in search of IT vendors that understand their business, not ones that offer a one-size-fits-all solution. When planning a significant IT purchase, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies should consider the following factors:

Value, not price Select IT solutions that integrate best with your business strategy and can be implemented as quickly as possible; the low-cost option is not always the best choice.

Customer service and support Pick vendors that offer a high degree of technical support and customer service.

Customer knowledge Select vendors that demonstrate an understanding of your business and industry.

Company viability Look at the long-term viability of both the product and the vendor. Is this an important product for this vendor, and will this vendor be around in the years to come?

Architecture and ease of integration Look for service-based approaches to application architecture. Ensure that business processes can be easily changed or enhanced with service-based integration.

Compatibility The philosophy and style of the individuals who will manage your account must match those of your company.

Flexibility Vendors should offer customizable solutions that allow you to replace, override, or substitute if necessary.


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