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The future is now: Leveraging new technologies and capabilities to transform organizations

23 Sep 2023
We live in an exciting time. The use of technology in life sciences is at an all-time high, take artificial intelligence (AI) for example. The quality and scale of advancements in AI in the last couple of years have been unprecedented. Yet Peter Schnack, Head of Data, Digital & Technology, SVP, Global Portfolio Division, Takeda, believes we are just at the starting line!
In his keynote at the Indegene Digital Summit, the life sciences leader sat down with Vivek Ghai, EVP, Enterprise Commercial Solutions, Indegene, to discuss what makes Takeda - a 242-year-old global biopharmaceutical company (yes, you read that right!) - successful and relevant, and how technology is a key catalyst in the company’s continued quest for patient-centric innovation and people-centric business transformation.
The key highlights of their conversation are summarized below.
Peter shared his perspectives on how emerging technologies are reshaping the dynamics of the life sciences industry, and why he believes we are at an inflection point.
In the aftermath of Covid-19, we are witnessing significant go-to-market changes in the industry, which leaves some companies at a disadvantage if they don’t adapt swiftly. There is mounting pressure on healthcare systems/infrastructure. The demand for price reduction continues to grow bigger. Many Governments are starting to play a more active role in drug pricing discussions. Policy interventions - like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the US for example - are a clear indication of things to come.
At Takeda, we strongly believe in doing what’s right for patients; this has always yielded tremendous benefits in the long run.
– Peter Schnack
Patients continue to up their knowledge levels, compelling the industry to better align with patients’ evolving expectations. Add healthcare professionals (HCPs) - who now expect a hyper-personalized, omnichannel experience - to the mix, and you are looking at a complex ecosystem of key stakeholders to engage with.
Peter is a staunch advocate of using emerging technologies to empower a people- and patient-centric transformation at scale. He believes the trifecta of data, digital, and technology will power the next phase of business transformation in the industry, leading to a more patient-first, true people-centric care delivery model.
At the same time, he highlights why organizations need to understand and appreciate a key distinction: digitization v/s digitalization, something that many business leaders fail to discern.
Successful companies need to master two different digital opportunities: digitize data and processes (digitization) and develop digital offerings (digitalization). We need to think of these as two distinct dimensions for transforming our companies and the industry at large.
– Peter Schnack
He further outlines the importance of evolving our mindset from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ digital - as a way of life.
Peter makes another interesting point. He says he finds it amusing when someone says they want to future-proof their business. Being future-ready is more realistic, he quips! We couldn't agree more 😊 Over 100 senior global leaders from different functions and with different geographic responsibilities across life sciences companies of different scale and segments, participated in our inaugural Future Ready Trends in Life Sciences study. The report brings some very interesting insights to the fore. For example, only 10% of life sciences leaders strongly agree their company is future-ready!
You must spend an enormous amount of time in clearly understanding the problems, and not be tempted to jump to solutions. That’s the only way you can understand how technology can help you solve what you are trying to solve.
– Peter Schnack
He believes that to create value, we must truly transform, for which we need to change the way we work. There is a caveat though. We need to manage transformation by foresight rather than by crisis, and by balancing short-term impact with long-term sustainability, he adds.
Drive change by taking people along
Most people often want to bring about a change - but are seldom prepared to change themselves. For any change to be truly successful, you need to have the buy-in of most, if not all stakeholders - and this is a true test of an organization’s culture. So, people transformation is the fulcrum of business transformation, avers the Takeda executive.
Ultimately, Peter believes that driving business transformation is the responsibility of every leader. Digital transformation will become less about digital, and more about business transformation in the coming days, he asserts. He cites the example of our phone camera. No one calls it a digital camera anymore, we just call it a camera, as it has become ubiquitous. Right?
Attracting quality tech talent
The industry is still figuring out ways to deal with the twin challenge of attracting top-quality tech talent and blending them seamlessly into the industry to come up with more life sciences contextualized technology solutions.
We have made reasonable progress on the first aspect, but we need to do a much better job on the second.
– Peter Schnack
What lies ahead?
Every function and discipline across the life sciences value chain is being impacted by technology. People already recognize that the future of their field is being reshaped by technology in new and different ways.
We are already seeing what tools like ChatGPT can help with. This is why, when Peter says we are yet to discover the limits of what’s possible with AI, you can’t help but agree.
Imagine a doctor with a copilot. Wouldn’t it usher in a whole new dimension to care delivery and patient experience?
– Peter Schnack