Cloud in Life Sciences: Minimize Complexity, Reduce Cost but Ensure Compliance
“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Geniuses remove it.” Author unknown
The last five years have seen the evolution and, in some instances, revolution across the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries. Increasing regulations, policy reform & patent expiries continue to transform the industry with one of the bi-products being a move from on-premise to cloud technologies. Note the following:
- Mature markets like North America are seeing companies move aggressively to the cloud to reduce their “CapEx” expense but also take advantage of the reduced monthly expense and reduced deployment risk from the cloud applications. I’ve written about focus on cost reductions in my previous blog “Life Science Paradox: Creating Opportunities during Times of Tremendous Change”
- Europe, also a mature market, has been moving, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, to the cloud but concerns over patient & corporate privacy have them responding more cautiously given the investigations over widespread corporate spying like he NSA scandal in the US.
- In emerging markets, Life Science companies are leveraging cloud applications to quickly adopt the process standardization to support their processes which, in many cases, do not include “GXP” areas like manufacturing, sourcing or quality but, rather are primarily finance and sales focused facilities.
Companies must embrace the need to move to the cloud for commodity areas like Procurement, Sales, HR and IT but must do so in a way that doesn’t increase complexity and cost, in the long run, as a result. Without a solid cloud integration strategy, organizations will simply transfer the IT costs from one area to another but now with limited or no visibility due to the siloed nature of the cloud applications.
Further, cloud applications typically have a rapid enhancement & patch methodology that will create significant challenges for “GXP” areas regulated by agencies like FDA. Without a thoughtful approach that addresses oversight, governance and documentation, organizations will be overwhelmed by complexity and frequency of the revalidation efforts and will, ultimately, fall out of compliance. Companies need to have a “hybrid” cloud strategy that allows them to pick and choose where to leverage the cloud in order to reduce cost, improve adoption and minimize risk while still maintaining the visibility and compliance that are pervasive in their on-premise environments.
To learn more about we can help you with your business challenges please have a look at SAP’s Solution Explorer for the Life Sciences Industry.
What do you think about the issues discussed here? Continue the conversation in the comments below and on Twitter @SAPlifesciences
Thanks for the blog post. A few additional points: validating SAP in the cloud is relatively easy and depends on your company's approach to Validation; hybrid clouds offer the means to add capacity and new solutions relatively easy and the new SAP solutions fit well in this construct; costs have rapidly come down - a key consideration. Finally consider the cost benefits of moving from on-premise solutions to the cloud. A good example to try out is testing - where our clients have duplicate landscapes that allows them to 'test' new functionality at a fraction of the cost for doing this the typical way.
Great input. Thanks!