There is a wealth of opportunities inherent to the rapidly developing technological solutions emerging on the market: digital biomarkers, wearables, big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented reality, 3D printing and infinitely more. Specialist departments are especially quick to jump aboard these trains, hoping to optimize their business. This often leads to conflict with technical, regulatory and organizational requirements or the company strategy as a whole. In any scenario, determining which technology is beneficial for the company or brings a competitive advantage is a sensible first step.
When we speak about digitalization (digital technologies) as a cause and the digital transformation (ways in which we shape our digital future) as its effect, we generally deal with three topic clusters. Firstly, there is technology as an enabler, which we have already highlighted at the beginning of this article. Then, there are the fundamentals, the preconditions of the digital transformation. Finally, we have the actual fields of action where the transformation can bring about measurable success.
To ensure your efforts pay off, these three clusters must be coordinated to prevent the endeavor from fizzling out after a string of expensive launch projects fueled only by a passion for technology and a lot of enthusiasm. More and more people are complaining that the mere use of technology has not brought them any benefits. A critical costbenefit analysis must be prioritized over any general enthusiasm for technology. As a consultancy firm, we carry out such analyses within the scope of any assessment of opportunities and development of a digital transformation roadmap.
Understanding the three levels of digital transformation makes it easier to grasp the wider contexts:
Fundamentals: help or hindrance?
Companies implement and use new technologies on the basis of four fundamentals. While some of them are in an ideal position from the start and accelerate the digital transformation successfully, some may turn out to be a hindrance and ultimately require a complete realignment.
Regulatory and compliance requirements are specific to the life sciences and set digitalization projects apart from those in other industries
Using technology based on an agile organization (which occasionally requires a realignment of structures and processes)
Measurement of performance (using individual key indicators, e.g. from BSC) in order to substantiate the objective of the transformation and measure results continuously
A data structure (data flow, analysis, evaluation, handling, security, data master management) that facilitates the meaningful integration of new technologies
Experience has taught us that heterogeneous data structures often constitute an obstacle that requires realignment. As a general maxim: the better all fundamentals are positioned, the more effective your digital transformation will be.
Fields of action: it’s all about purpose
Practical applications that yield measurable benefits can normally be divided into four categories.
The field of the digital workplace usually experiences the greatest extent of digitalization first. Many technologies, from cloud to collaborative applications, have made work processes more efficient already, and there is plenty of clear potential left.
The digitalization of customer engagement can bring about new opportunities for communicating directly with patients, physicians … and collecting their valuable data (e.g. requirements or experiences of use). This facilitates product optimization.
Process automation has been causing a genuine revolution in the life sciences and beyond. This includes new production methods, such as 3D printing and fully automated production processes based on PAT (process analytical technology), which often produce very personalized results.
In many cases, all these applications bring about entirely new value creation chains or even business models, as new and agile players radically use new technologies and take the market by storm, new market requirements are detected or physical products are paired with digital services.
Despite certain dependencies, various fields within companies use the new technologies in extremely different ways. Some apply them from the top down, implementing a whole new business model with an integrated patient engagement system, a process automation scheme or a digital workplace solution. Others optimize from the bottom up, focusing on the value creation processes that offer the greatest shortterm potential and implementing a digital workplace right away.
Island solutions vs. roadmaps
Approaches to the digital transformation are frequently determined by the envisioned benefit: while concrete, businessdriven projects in the fields of digital workplaces or process automation necessitate a pragmatic or even isolated approach, the optimization of customer engagement or, of course, the business model itself requires fundamental strategic considerations. A straightforward process can ensure a suitable solution for each individual requirement: first, identify and evaluate which potentials the digital transformation holds for your business. Then, substantiate individual use cases and determine strategy. Finally, produce a digital transformation roadmap.
Wherever you intend to start, Qudits will be by your side as a reliable and experienced partner. We support you in systematically taking charge of the transformation and creating clarity on how to derive the greatest possible benefit for your company from digital technologies.
Autor Stefan Eckert
Stefan's consultancy focus lies on strategic alignment and digital transformation. With his passion for complex projects, he creates effective organizations, processes and operating models and develops high-performance teams with a strong results orientation.
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