Points of View

The Journey to Intelligent Operations in Life Sciences

Sep 18, 2016 Barbra McGann

​This report is for any operations, procurement, or business executive or professional in the life sciences industry that is ready to challenge the status quo on the role of outsourcing service providers as partners through BPO/global business services/operations.


Industry expectations for pharma companies are changing drastically. Pharmaceutical companies are part of a broader ecosystem of health and life sciences that is undergoing massive change, much of it driven by regulation and consumerism. There is a broad movement toward value-based care that is more engaging of patients and physicians, and increasingly measured and paid based on medical outcomes, versus how many prescriptions and devices are sold. Many pharmaceutical, medical technology, and biotechnology companies are undertaking initiatives to re-focus on these outcomes, putting the patient at the center of corporate activity.


Everyone in the industry has a role to play in supporting this person-centered approach. In some cases, the impact is more obvious and intuitive, such as the front line staff of clinicians, site investigators, researchers, and pharmacists. However, a number of these touch points in pharma can be more effective based on how the data, digital technology, and relationships are addressed in the "hidden" roles of the "back office," such as finance and accounting or regulatory management, and in shared services and outsourcing engagements.


Simply stated, a pivotal factor for being truly effective in delivering on the vision for patient centricity in pharmaceuticals is a singular, coordinated, interactive, and interoperable approach in operations, what we at HfS call the Intelligent OneOffice. OneOffice is a way to describe how use of data and digital technology play a role in bringing together the middle and back office to enable a user experience in the front office. Our study on achieving Intelligent Operations, with input from Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work and Business Process Services practice, canvassed 371 major buy-side enterprises and had over 30 life sciences executive participants.

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