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LEADERSHIP Q&A (SESSION #2) Digital Transformation & The Quality Ecosystem

Our industry is embarking on an exciting new frontier. Digital transformation and quality 4.0 are driving organizations to evolve and adapt technologies, people and processes throughout the journey.

In part two of our leadership Q&A series, we sit down with Director of Solutions Architecture & Thought Leadership, Rahul Bhatia, to discuss key themes, current trends and get some client management perspective. 

How much do you see digital transformation affecting the life sciences industry thus far?

Quite a bit. Many of our clients have mentioned goals and objectives passed down from their CIO's and other C-level team members that include digital transformations and digital initiatives. These include everything from automation, to finding use cases for AI and machine learning, to advanced analytics, and even converting paper-based processes and systems to digital technologies.

What are you seeing on the ground from the client perspective?

Digital Transformations can mean many different things to different industries, organizations, and even different People. It’s not necessarily that digital transformation is a complete overhaul of an organization's processes or IT infrastructure, but rather embracing an attitude of evaluating, and where appropriate, adopting digital solutions to enhance and update their current processes, solutions and technology.

We see a lot of organizations looking at even simpler, quick-win opportunities. For example, moving paper-based and spreadsheet-based solutions to digital allow for analytics, global visibility and scalability. 

We are also seeing many organizations 'walk before they run' and where appropriate take a more mediated and hybridized approach to digital transformation. For QMS in particular, we are seeing a lot of organizations create and retain a hybrid approach between digital solutions and existing legacy solutions. Often we will see companies move a new process into digital platforms while keeping their existing fine tuned applications and systems in tact.

What are the biggest challenges when approaching digital?

Change management is certainly one of them. Embracing change requires a large shift in the mindset of users, management, and the overall organization that has been doing things one way for a long time. Sure, your procedures will need to change or be updated, including documentation, training, work instructions etc (just to mention a few), but the piece that everything stems from is a change needed in collective mindset. One that says, "yes, the world is moving toward digital solutions and we should embrace it as well."

What advice do you give to your client teams that are embarking on digital journeys?

Understand your organization’s pace and appetite for digital initiatives. It’s not as binary as you're digitally transforming or you are not. We hear more buzz stories that mention leveraging AI and predictive analytics, and assume that every organization is already doing it in every process and part of the business. But, frankly that’s not the case. Digital Transformations take time, and especially in regulated industries and life sciences in general. It’s not an overnight transformation. So see what areas can provide the best value, including time-to- value for deployment, ROI from a business standpoint, and then start with those 'quick-wins'. Know that a hybrid approach for digital is probably the best approach to begin with that will allow transformation to scale when the time is right