He will be presenting in the Comms and Collaboration Theatre at Cloud World Forum at the Olympia in London (24-25 June) on Collaboration in the Cloud: Lessons Learnt from a Multinational, covering:
- Understanding the experience of moving to a collaborative cloud in a large enterprise
- Overcoming obstacles to opening up systems and openly sharing
- Identifying and breaking down behavioural challenges
- Leveraging the advantages at the end of the implementation journey
We took a few minutes with Ian to talk about his career and thoughts on the Cloud market, covering the specific challenges of the pharmaceutical industry, some of the innovative projects being undertaken at AstraZeneca, and the status of Cloud in his market, compared to other industry verticals.
Firstly, we discuss some of the challenges of the pharmaceutical sector.
What AstraZeneca aims for, compared to generic manufacturers, who take established off-patent drugs and market them as cheaply as possible, is the innovative specialist drug market. The challenge there is the length of time that it takes to get such a drug to market – “you get a 20 year patent on a new drug and yet it probably takes you at least 10 years to get it to market to go through all the clinical trials, effective medicine, the regulatory hurdles to get it to a point they can launch it to the market”. So these innovative drugs can be seen as very expensive, and AstraZeneca are therefore challenged on cutting costs down as much as possible, as well as on price, from the NHS or big healthcare providers in the US market, for example.
“So we have a big opportunity or a big challenge, whichever way you look at it, to try and make the best uses of the data and our processes to try and both cut down cost and also reduce those lead times.”
Another evolution that AstraZeneca and their pharmaceutical competitors are seeing is the degree of partnering in the industry. There are certain processes and products that other companies are betterplaced to develop, rather than them being developed in house. “There are small startup pharmaceutical research companies, BioPharms, the University spinoffs, the ones who have the creative ideas to develop a new drug but just don’t then have the size and weight of the company to take that drug through to market”.So they are looking at what is core to their business, and offloading anything that isn’t core to other organisations. From an IT perspective, a challenge of such partnerships is around sharing data easily across company boundaries. Speaking of data, another challenge is how to get the best out of their data. This is no longer just about information that they have within the company, but information that is available through other research organisations, academic institutions, and other published data.
“So it’s given a huge opportunity to use technologies and techniques for big data mining and to gather the intelligence from the massive amounts of data that this company has generated over many, many years.”
The amount of data generated for the pharmaceutical industry is only going to increase. There is therefore an opportunity to gather far more and far better patient-related data, with smart devices that patients can use to self-monitor, to help them administer their dosages, to record data. Previously the information that came back from the marketplace about the effectiveness of drugs was greatly averaged, but that data is becoming increasingly user-by-user specific.Leading on from this, we talk about some of the innovative, exciting projects that are currently being undertaken at AstraZeneca. Many people see the pharmaceutical industry as being particularly advanced in terms of IT and analytics, and these analytical models are helping scientists increase and improve the personalisation of medicine, looking at how a drug can be tailored to suit an individual rather than the attitude being “here’s a generic drug which everybody with that disease takes and hopefully it will have an overall good effect”.
Ian will be presenting in the Comms and Collaboration theatre at the Cloud World Forum, at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015, on ‘Collaboration in the Cloud: Lessons Learnt from a Multinational.’
Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.