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Daniel Flossbach
Daniel Flossbach
Home | Newsletter | UPDATE 1 | 2017 | From Digitalization to Digital Transformation
April 5, 2017

From Digitalization to Digital Transformation

The life sciences industry is investing heavily in digitalizing its value chain. This is a necessary step, but indeed only a step on the way to the digital transformation.

Electronic lab notebooks, production facilities optimized by machine learning or information portals for physicians, medical professionals and patients. Information systems are penetrating every aspect of the medical sector, replacing or supplementing traditional processes and facilitating the integration of interdivisional processes. There is no doubt: Digitalization is in full swing. It is important to keep in mind, however, that digitalization and digital transformation are not the same thing. The latter goes further – it is the development of new, digitalized business models.


The most important raw material:
Customers and their data

Digitally experienced and demanding customers and patients are at the center of the digital transformation. Their information and data have become a valuable currency, as they provide companies with direct influence and concrete advantages. The disruptive force inherent to customer expectations and new possibilities frequently strikes faster than well-established companies can anticipate, which sometimes gives flexible start-ups a head start. They prove that the transformation starts with attitudes, and that new mindsets and adaptive management and organizational formats have become necessary.


Recognizing strengths and opportunities

It is clear that the life sciences industry is set to undergo significant changes over the next few years. “Too big to fail” no longer applies. But long-established companies have a wealth of knowledge and experience at their disposal that can be utilized as a strong source for the digital transformation.


From Digitalization to Digital Transformation
From Digitalization to Digital Transformation


To take concrete steps towards this transformation, we recommend a gap analysis of your product range to streamline options for strategic action. One of the focal points of this analysis should be the current extent of the following factors:

1. Use of analog or digital methods: Application of digital diagnostics and analytics tools, embedding in channels such as eHealth, mobile apps and health care platforms, et cetera.

2. Connection between the product and its environment: For example, measurement and documentation of symptoms and initial diagnoses by patients.

3. Communication with patients, as assistance with drug intake via smartphones and smartwatches or individual communication between the parties involved (pharmacists, physicians, patients) to establish the so-called “value beyond the pill”.

4. Process adaptation to digital opportunities: The patient becomes the focal point; the opportunities for seamless process integration and interaction between industry and customer offer great potential.

5. Development and use of new business models that can only be implemented digitally: For instance, custom dosage of medication depending on the condition of the patient (measurement and diagnostics via a smartwatch, smartphone camera and bathroom mirror with an internet connection).

6. Digital leadership: Management, organizational structures, staff and their qualifications … – which requirements do the new business models bring, and how are we positioned to meet them?

Experience has shown that this approach highlights the relevant strategic and operational gaps along with the resulting options for action. Both the business model and the products must be evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that all current digitalization opportunities are being used to accomplish the digital transformation.

Andreas Hock