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Life Sciences Industry Looks to Digital Innovation to Help Navigate the Pandemic and Beyond

STAMFORD, Conn.–()–The life sciences industry is under considerable pressure to embrace digital innovation to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and other marketplace forces, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensLife Sciences Digital Services Global Report sees several challenges pushing biopharma and device companies to become more innovative through digitization. In addition to COVID-19, these include the rise of patient-centric business models, growing public demand for more convenient and efficient digital delivery, and an aging population increasing overall demand for healthcare. Heightened merger-and-acquisition activity and new regulations also are creating competitive pressures within the industry.

“Unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing the digital envelope to cover all aspects of patient engagement, telemedicine and areas of drug development that were once considered off limits,” said Jenn Stein, partner and leader, ISG Life Sciences. “These new approaches are taking hold in an environment where regulatory hurdles and cost pressures have never been higher.”

Life sciences firms have been using contract research organizations, or CROs, for decades in outsourcing relationships, the report notes. However, improvements in technology and accompanying cost reductions have led many biopharma companies to increasingly rely on CRO partners for more strategic and business-critical activities.

In addition, manufacturing supply chain functions are increasingly being covered in outsourcing agreements in the life sciences industry, the report says. This outsourced supply chain often engages with a global network of contract manufacturers for the production and distribution of medical devices, drugs, vaccines and tests. Digital transformation plays an important role in this area because supply chains are becoming increasingly automated, using connected sensors and intelligent automation to improve efficiencies.

The report also finds the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the direct interactions between drug manufacturers, healthcare providers and patients. These interactions will continue even as the pandemic subsides because of the now-proven efficiencies, cost savings and improved patient-centricity they have created. With wider adoption of technologies such as telemedicine and remote monitoring, few healthcare providers and patients will be willing to go back to pre-pandemic delivery models.

But delivering digital services for life sciences can be complex, the report says, requiring extensive support and services from suitable providers. In addition to the CROs, traditional IT providers are important players in this market. These two groups of providers have offered converging products and services in recent years.

Several CROs have developed sophisticated IT capabilities in response to client demand for advanced technological solutions. At the same time, traditional IT providers are working to develop deeper expertise in life sciences to offer comprehensive solutions specific to the industry. In addition, CROs and IT providers are increasingly combining their respective capabilities to meet the changing demands of life sciences clients.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensLife Sciences Digital Services Global Report evaluates the capabilities of 25 providers across three quadrants: Clinical Development Digital Transformation Services, Patient Engagement Digital Transformation Services and Manufacturing Supply Chain Digital Transformation Services.

The report names Capgemini, Cognizant, HCL, TCS and Wipro as leaders in all three quadrants. Accenture, Atos, IQVIA and PPD are named as leaders in two quadrants, and Stefanini is named as a leader in one.

In addition, Genpact and Hexaware were named Rising Stars—companies with “promising portfolios” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.

Customized versions of the report are available from Hexaware and PPD.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensLife Sciences Digital Services Global Report is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG’s global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG’s enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, the Nordics, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 700 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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