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How pharma can harness the cloud to transform and accelerate therapeutic development

Ray Deiotte
Ray Deiotte

Transformation in pharma is happening now. Acceleration is critical. Cloud is a crucial success factor for pharma companies.There’s no denying it—the world has changed over the last 18 months. For pharmaceutical companies, acceleration is the new normal. Companies are challenged to push discovery and development timelines to the limit while still adhering to GxP and other regulations and while retaining tight control on intellectual property.

Pharma companies are accelerating the lifecycle of therapeutic development and delivery while trying to squeeze every ounce of optimization out of the process. From leveraging artificial intelligence and high-performance computing in secondary analysis to automating quality assurance and distribution, pharma companies are innovating and transforming their operations to be faster.

But the challenges to accelerate and transform are steep. Competition is fierce. Saving days on the formulation of a therapeutic can mean millions of dollars in revenue. Internal teams and external cooperative organizations are globally distributed in every part of the lifecycle, and cooperation with other biotech and medical firms as well as supply chain organizations is essential. To maintain this open and flexible environment, data can no longer be siloed. Efforts have been made to build data warehouses and lakes, but this takes time. With requirements for data changing at break-neck pace, legacy on-premises technology cannot keep up.

Taking pharma into the cloud

The cloud delivers vertical and horizontal scalability that is both difficult and expensive to replicate on premises. Bringing cloud capabilities into the larger IT strategy can accelerate pharma by empowering cooperation and collaboration, enhancing scalability, providing consolidation of IT resources, reducing complexity, and parallelizing workflows.

Backup, archive, and disaster recovery—all crucial functions that can make or break an organization when disaster strikes—is ideally suited for the cloud. Leveraging the cloud for these capabilities can speed recovery while reducing cost and improving peace of mind. NetApp® Cloud Backup service and SaaS Backup simplify backing up to the cloud and ensure that cloud applications are backed up—a common task for SaaS application administrators.

Data sharing, collaboration, and cooperation are much simpler to do in the cloud. Most organizations  find it difficult to provision external access in on-premises estates. On-premises security and architectures are difficult to deal with and less-than-optimal for researchers and administrators alike.

Leveraging the cloud simplifies sharing and minimizes IT headaches. The ability to dynamically segment, scale, and otherwise secure portions of the cloud for different purposes accelerates cooperation and collaboration. Data doesn’t need to be moved and can be worked on in situ,  saving time, resources, and frustration.

That’s not to say there aren’t some potential perils for pharma companies in moving to the cloud. Not all clouds are created equal. Capabilities, administration, scaling, and pricing can vary significantly between cloud providers, so it’s crucial to approach the cloud with a well-defined strategy and roadmap.

Without a good understanding of the goals, objectives, and outcomes required from leveraging the cloud, failure is almost certain. By starting with a set of goals and working through planning and rationalization of applications, data, and processes, organizations can successfully leverage the cloud to accelerate their pharma business.

Most organizations find themselves with multiple clouds and on-premises data centers. Existing in a hybrid multicloud environment and optimizing for myriad workloads and collaboration requires a fluidity and consistency in data movement and representation that can only be achieved with a data fabric. Using a data fabric allows data to be optimally consumed anywhere in the data estate, eliminating manual data movement and potential duplication across the enterprise. A data fabric powered by NetApp enables seamless, consistent access to data at the edge, on the premises, or in the cloud using NetApp ONTAP® data management software. ONTAP runs everywhere and delivers performance and functionality across a hybrid multicloud estate. Tools like NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP and NetApp Cloud Insights give unparalleled control and management over cloud storage assets and reduce costs when going cloud native for storage.

So what are you waiting for?

Transformation in pharma is happening now. Acceleration is critical. Cloud is a crucial success factor for pharma companies. By incorporating cloud resources strategically for scaling hardware-limited applications, inter- and intra-organizational collaboration and cooperation, backup, archive, and disaster recovery, pharma organizations can accelerate their enterprise workflows, saving valuable time and effort getting therapeutics to market.

Watch this webinar, Cloud Acceleration for Life Sciences with NetApp and Google Cloud, to learn how you can accelerate pharma research and innovation.

Ray Deiotte

Chief Data Officer - Global Healthcare and Life Sciences at NetApp

View all Posts by Ray Deiotte

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