To date, the cloud market has mainly served as a tool for sales and marketing teams within most pharmaceutical companies. But that’s quickly changing. Today, the cloud market is adapting to meet the needs of all areas within life sciences and has shown to be particularly helpful in overcoming IP issues, security issues and has allowed many companies to cut down on operational costs. In fact, drug maker Roche recently announced it was moving to Google’s cloud-based applications, including Gmail and Google Docs, to support its more than 90,000 employees globally. The company believes it will enable employees to collaborate strategically without requiring large expenditures and potentially disruptive upgrades.

But it’s the funny sounding-acronym “PaaS” that Accenture believes has the greatest applicability in the life sciences industry. “Platform as a Service,” or PaaS, is a complete, pre-integrated platform that facilitates the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing underlying hardware, software or hosting capabilities. Typical examples include Amazon EC2, Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure. The platform can be used to develop, test and run business applications rapidly.

In terms of R&D, Gartner predicts that by 2014, 25 percent of R&D organizations will pilot discovery research applications using cloud computing.Eli Lilly and Pfizer, for example, have both adopted Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Platform to conduct simulation models in early discovery that have been operational within hours, whereas traditional in-house implementations would have taken weeks.

“ PaaS technology is rapidly evolving,” noted O’Riordan. “To be successful, life sciences organizations must evaluate their most valuable business processes, identify platforms to support these needs, and determine where PaaS best fits in to the overall IT strategy.”

#6: Growing Security Concerns

As life sciences organizations begin to adopt cloud, social media and mobile technologies in order to access and share information, they also face potential new security threats and breaches. 

To deal with these complex and ever-changing array of threats, organizations must move from simply monitoring and collecting data to understanding it and visualizing new behaviors and anomalies. As an example, companies could identify a possible internal threat by analyzing activity patterns of a suspect employee’s time spent downloading confidential data, which would in turn trigger a compliance check.

Accenture predicts that to better understand these risks and to detect attacks, organizations will increasingly turn to data platform technologies that provide data access and aggregation via services. The data platform will handle secure access to large volumes of fast-changing data that many companies are unable to manage in house.

Looking Forward

Whether it’s utilizing data analytics to identify the best-targeted and most cost-effective therapy or using social media to engage with customers, new modes of technology will continue to play a role in life sciences organizations. And those technology leaders that adapt, innovate and get it right will continue to be successful in the long-term.

To read Accenture’s full report, “Technology Vision: What It Means for Life Sciences,” click here.