Why Pharma and Life Sciences Companies are Considering DevOps Seriously

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The global pharmaceutical drug delivery market is projected to reach $2 trillion by 2025. 

Although the industry is growing day by day due to the ever-increasing demand for its services, there is also the extra load to produce more medicine for more people in the coming years. The pressure to bring high-quality medicine to people and invent and distribute new therapies means pharma and life sciences companies have to achieve real-time visibility into demand, ensure optimum level of material for drug production,  and maintain the right level of inventory. In addition, they need to constantly streamline the R&D process, ensure quality control at each stage of the development lifecycle, and ensure contracts are signed in time. 

But despite the need to keep pace with increasing market demands, evolving legislations, and supply chain requirements to stay competitive, inefficient contract management and logistics bottlenecks greatly impact timelines, causing delays in clinical trials which invariably delay patients receiving life-saving treatments. This makes high quality and low risk the need of the hour. Read on to learn about the challenges plaguing the pharma and life sciences industry and uncover top reasons why companies are considering DevOps to overcome those challenges. 

The challenges of the Pharma and Life Sciences industry 

Despite the unprecedented growth rate, the pharma and life sciences industry has been facing its share of challenges: right from sustaining their business to driving innovation and keeping up with the growing demands of their customers. Here’s looking at 6 of the top challenges: 

  1.   Driving quick and cost-effective innovation: In the past couple of years, the demand for quick and cost-effective innovation has spiked intensely. Rising competition, constantly evolving patient demands, and the volatile regulatory market all continue to put immense pressure on pharma and life sciences companies to innovate and drive quick value. But in the absence of the right tools and technologies, enabling fast evolution has been extremely difficult. 
  2.   Coping with rising customer expectations: Pharma and life sciences customers expect the same level of convenience and sophistication as they get in retail. Today, they want personalized and tailored services that allow them to better manage their health and well-being. This means pharma companies have to quickly move from mere product-selling to customer-centric and value-based engagements to enable customer-led transformation. 
  3.   Surging policy requirements: In a highly regulated industry such as pharma, policy requirements are always evolving. Any non-compliance can result in huge losses in terms of non-compliance fees, lost reputation, and lost customer trust. Constantly staying abreast with changing rules and regulations and making huge amendments to their existing strategies and policies to ensure alignment has been a Herculean task.
  4.   Adapting to the changing tech landscape: For pharma and life sciences companies, the pressure to adapt to the changing technology landscape is immense. Accustomed to paper-based processes, proprietary tools, and traditional approaches to business operations, these companies have often stayed away from new technology adoption – which is gradually impacting their operational efficiency, competitive positioning as well as the bottom line.
  5.   Overcoming supply chain disruptions: Pharma and life sciences companies have also been struggling to overcome supply chain disruptions. The recent pandemic brought the supply of raw materials to a screeching halt, which led to huge supply shortages. At the same time, growing import/export restrictions, lack of universal policies, and the reliance on resources from a handful of countries mean companies often end up with botched-up inventory levels, which contribute greatly to operational costs.  

How DevOps solves them

The adoption of DevOps by pharma and life sciences companies is driven primarily by the need to enhance operational efficiency, accelerate time-to-market, and improve customer experiences. 

Here’s how DevOps helps overcome the challenges faced by pharma and life sciences companies: 

  1.   Improves regulatory compliance: Pharma companies need to comply with a truckload of strict guidelines and regulations enforced by regulatory bodies to ensure the quality of products manufactured. Since failures can have wide-reaching and potentially fatal consequences, DevOps, via improved communication, collaboration, and tracking, aids in overcoming common bottlenecks. As changes or updates can be made to the code without impacting its stability or reliability, companies can more easily improve the quality of their products. In one such case, at Addteq, with our Codefactori platform and a GXP-compliant e-signable custom plugin, we helped a leading pharmaceutical company improve security compliance as well as accelerate time-to-market. 
  2.     Strengthens ownership: Using DevOps, teams can strengthen the ownership of products by increasing the frequency of software testing at each stage of the SDLC, and thus frequently verifying quality and compliance. Since DevOps drives a high level of engagement, it encourages teams to strive for excellence and take ownership of the development and deployment process – making quality everyone’s responsibility in a highly regulated industry like pharma and life sciences. 
  3.   Accelerates time-to-market: Getting to market quickly with a new drug can be a competitive differentiator in the highly volatile pharma industry. DevOps, through better collaboration, and thus faster development, enables pharma and life sciences companies to achieve market leadership in clinical trials as well as new treatment categories. Since DevOps enables dynamic scaling of IT resources, it allows companies to better address usage needs while alleviating resource bottlenecks and preventing overspends on unused capacity. For a visionary biotech and pharmaceutical company, Addteq, through the adoption of DevOps and a bunch of other modern cloud-based solutions, improved visibility across the application development lifecycle while simplifying release tracking, improving transparency, and enhancing security.
  4.     Enhances the Computer System Validation (CSV) process and makes it cheaper: DevOps enables pharma companies to strengthen the CSV process and ensure each hardware and software component is in line with the required regulatory guidelines. Since DevOps integrates all the aspects of development and delivery in the same cycle, it helps to ensure greater compliance. Companies can immediately respond to and resolve issues pertaining to compliance and improve the quality of their underlying code. 
  5.     Minimizes risk: Since DevOps improves development and testing schedules, it leads to fewer problems with releases and thus better product quality, lower failure rates, and quicker lead times between fixes. Using DevOps, companies can greatly minimize risk while enabling better overall efficiency of application delivery brought about by the increased use of automated processes. For instance, for a leading manufacturer of medical devices, Addteq implemented a robust DevOps strategy along with a highly-functional system for end-to-end application management. It helped the company achieve greater transparency in release tracking, faster releases, productivity gains with streamlined collaboration and communication between teams, and end-to-end visibility into the entire delivery process. 

 

The Significance of DevSecOps 

Although DevOps is helping pharma and life services companies overcome many of the challenges they’re facing today, introducing the element of security through DevSecOps can further up their game. By introducing security early in the development lifecycle, pharma companies can identify and resolve issues quicker and pave the way for better risk management. 

Since DevSecOps makes security everyone’s responsibility, companies can be more confident about the products they introduce into the market while also protecting their business against cyber-attacks, breaches, and misuse. 

Conclusion 

Pharma and life sciences companies often find themselves struggling to align their business needs with the specific requirements of customers. Since considerable development effort goes into the development of medical devices and the support of clinical trial applications, a robust software development process like DevOps can pave the way for seamless communication and collaboration, end-to-end tracking, complete visibility into the development process, security across the delivery lifecycle, and eventually an extremely high-quality product.

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