In the first of our three-part expedition into the life sciences tech scene, we looked at how data is transforming the industry and providing opportunities for businesses and candidates to disrupt the sector.
In part two, we’re heading upwards, exploring why cloud technology is so important to life sciences and the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead.
The importance of cloud technology to life sciences
Cloud technology is one of the top emerging technology trends for life sciences this year. Why? Well, as Marc Benioff (founder and CEO of Salesforce) nicely summarises: “cloud computing is a better way to run your business,” or, in this case, a whole sector.
Why is cloud technology so crucial to the life sciences?
The size of datasets is a notable problem in modern research, with the amount of healthcare data predicted to double every 73 days this year. Storing and analysing this data requires significant computational power.
Cloud technology overcomes this problem by providing companies with cloud-based scalable storage and processing power, at a more affordable cost than expanding, running and maintaining internal servers. For example, one life sciences company saw a 95% reduction in external mainframe data-hosting costs when migrating to the cloud, saving $3.6 million per year.
2. Data accessibility
Cloud technology brings valuable data together in a safe, secure and immediately accessible way. Researchers have instant access to public datasets such as GenBank and private datasets that aid collaboration and research.
And, when you can collaborate, you can innovate. Cloud technology allows researchers from different companies, cities and countries to work together, combining expertise and using cloud tools to share work, manage research workflows, and apply immediate analysis.
3. Software solutions
Cloud-based software solutions immediately expand a researcher’s toolkit with a variety of solutions for analysing datasets over the internet. These cloud-based solutions avoid the cost, time and restrictions of installing and updating computer-based programs.
For example, doctors in New York were able to analyze crowdsourced data from trials by different pharmaceutical companies and medical centres to determine whether a blood test can instantly tell if a treatment is fighting prostate cancer. This was made possible by using the SAS cloud-based research platform and analytics technology.
Cloud applications also enhance regulatory compliance. Most tools align to regulatory frameworks, enabling them to capture and document necessary data and immediately flag potential issues.
4. Platform development
Certain cloud technology powers life sciences businesses to develop, run and manage cloud-based applications for others to use. You may have heard this referred to as Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Whether it’s a simple healthcare app or a more sophisticated enterprise application, cloud platform development facilitates quick and cost-effective execution. For example, repeat prescription company, PillTime, used the Salesforce PaaS to build and implement an Einstein chatbot that handles more than half of its live chat queries - enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing business efficiencies.
The future of cloud technology in the life sciences
With the life sciences becoming increasingly data-driven, cloud technology will become more important to the sector. What challenges does this bring?
Data breaches can be catastrophic to life sciences companies, costing millions to rectify and permanently damaging relationships. Accordingly, many businesses are sceptical about moving to cloud storage and applications.
However, by choosing cloud providers that meet global compliance requirements and industry standards, cloud applications can be securer than traditional storage solutions and can aid other security-boosting practices too.
For example, cloud-based solutions can help life sciences companies store, connect and share product data, as per EU-MDR. They can also create a master set of personal data to aid requests for access or deletion under GDPR.
Life sciences R&D cloud software, Benchling, is already used by over 170,000 scientists worldwide - from start-ups to multinationals. Cloud is the most widely implemented technology in life sciences, meaning that if you don’t keep up, you risk falling behind.
Cloud technology is making the industry more competitive, with 53% of cloud-led businesses perceiving agility and faster time to market as the key benefit and 26% listing improved customer satisfaction as the lead measure of success.
Keep up-to-date on the latest life sciences technology by following Life Sciences blogs and news sites.
Cloud technology isn’t a skill you can pick up and master on a one-day course. Life sciences companies need talent qualified and experienced in using, manipulating and developing cloud-based applications for storage, collaboration, analysis and product development.
But, with cloud skills being the third most required tech skill of 2020, demand is outstripping talent. Recent research shows that cloud talent shortage is the top challenge for cloud success, with 63% agreeing that it’s harder to find a qualified cloud engineer than Bigfoot. Specifically, 58% of life sciences companies find security integration expertise hard to find, 42% find in-house vendor management difficult to recruit for, and 42% list risk management expertise as an issue.
How Panda International can help
At Panda International, we work with future-focused life sciences companies and candidates, ready to ride the wave of technical disruptions.
We work with you to secure the best candidates for your future success, using our fruitful industry knowledge, global connections and sector insights to surpass expectations.
We steer your career in the direction of the future, providing you with tailored career advice, world-class opportunities, and mission-focused support.
Embrace the life sciences disruptions by getting in touch.