What Pharma Wants From IT Today

The 2005 Pharmaceutical Executive/Life Science Insights Information Technology Survey
Jul 01, 2005

Indications that compliance and productivity issues reign over information technology (IT) budgets at pharma companies were verified in the 2005 Pharmaceutical Executive/Life Science Insights Information Technology Survey of nearly 850 US pharma companies. More than 70 percent of respondents named compliance and government regulations as important drivers of new IT purchases by their organizations. Interestingly, attitudes about compliance vary by company size and by function: A slightly higher percentage of small companies (100 to 499 employees) and very large companies (10,000+ employees) categorize compliance as important. Also, IT and corporate management see compliance as significant, more than sales and marketing respondents do. Companies are increasing IT investments related to compliance to preserve data integrity and standardize processes across organizations.

pharma organizations are investing in information technology across all functional areas
The life sciences sector, by nature, is highly regulated, and the past two years have seen a dramatic increase in the level of regulation. These regulations have implications for all IT systems, and as a result, pharmaceutical organizations are reviewing their compliance strategies, methodologies, and associated costs.

The majority of respondents say they spend an average of five to 10 percent of their IT budget on compliance-related issues, and they expect that spending to increase by more than five percent over the next two to three years. This expected increase has huge implications for spending on IT across large and small pharmaceutical organizations, causing many executives to wonder whether the compliance implementation backlog will dig into discretionary spending in the near term.

In addition to compliance considerations as a driver for IT spending, respondents rank the need for productivity increases as the most critical criterion when considering the adoption of a new technology. This is especially true for the sales and marketing functions, which are expected to do more with shrinking staffs.

2005 Pharmaceutical Executive/Life Science Insights Information Technology Survey
Yet while all functional areas are banking on the results they will get from leveraging technology solutions to automate, systematize, and enhance workflows, fewer than half are actually measuring return on investment (ROI) of IT initiatives. This is primarily because management does not require it and there is not enough firm data on which to base calculations.

METHODOLOGY The 2005 Information Technology Survey provides an in-depth view of demand-side expectations regarding IT spending behavior, implementation plans, and acceptance of new technologies across major functional areas—R&D, clinical development, manufacturing/supply chain, sales, marketing, IT and corporate management.

The survey was conducted online in April 2005 and has a respondent base of 839 Pharmaceutical Executive subscribers. The sample is stratified by company size and respondents' functional areas. Respondents who participated in this research were screened to ensure that they have knowledge of, and decision-making roles in, IT investments and implementations made within their respective organizations.

2005 Pharmaceutical Executive/Life Science Insights Information Technology Survey
The business size classes defined for this survey include less than 100 employees, 100 to 999 employees, 1,000 to 9,999 employees, and 10,000+ employees. The majority of respondents represented companies with more than 1,000 employees.

FINDINGS BY FUNCTIONAL AREA R&D Adoption of biomarkers and bioinformatics is expected to increase more than the adoption of proteomics and genomics over the next two years—with biomarkers and bioinformatics cited by 25 percent and 20 percent of respondents, respectively, as the most important technology initiatives.

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