• Mumbai
  • 26 March 2013
  • Interviews
  • By Manasi

"Cloud computing is gaining prominence in life sciences industry"

In a chat with BioSpectrum, Mr J Sairamkumar, vice president, life sciences, Cognizant talks about the changing role of IT in pharma, their increased focus on Indian companies and how cloud-based technologies will have a larger role to play in the future


Mr J Sairamkumar, vice president, life sciences, Cognizant

Known as one of the leading software services companies in India, few are aware that the healthcare and life sciences industry segments actually contribute upto 26.3 percent of Cognizant's revenues. Cognizant offers a number of services in the domain of pharmacovigilance, supply chain management and solutions for drug discovery. Cognizant was recently adjudged the leader in the recent IDC MarketScape evaluation of drug safety services providers in the life science industry.

Q: How important are the operations for the pharma/life sciences industry at Cognizant?

We are a leading service provider to the life sciences industry, working with 27 of the top 30 global bio-pharmaceutical companies, nine of the top ten biotech companies, and three of the top 10 global medical devices companies. Our comprehensive and diverse solution offerings address the needs of the customers across the dimensions of plan, build and operate through our consulting, BPO, ITO and IT IS services. In 2012, the healthcare and life sciences industry segments together contributed 26.3 percent of Cognizant's revenues.

Q: Can you talk about Cognizant's work vis-a-vis Indian clients? What services do you provide to the Indian pharma industry?

We have increased our focus on the India market in the recent years and are working with quite a few leading companies. We are seeing a strong focus on benchmarking processes, standards and adherence to constantly changing regulatory demands. This has created several consulting opportunities where we have been able to streamline processes, benchmark to standards and provide an IT roadmap. Some of the popular demand areas are QC systems (such as Laboratory Information Management System), SAP (Enterprise Resource Planning),Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), safety and regulatory operations and commercial operations.

Q: Could you also elaborate on how cloud computing is being used in the pharma and life sciences segment?

Cloud computing is gaining a lot of prominence in the life sciences industry segment. Within R&D, discovery and translational medicine are some of the key areas which are driving demand. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is obviously a key application area that requires both storage and compute resources. Other areas such as molecular modeling and predictive modeling are also being moved to the cloud. Translational medicine is another area which, given its multidisciplinary nature, is adopting cloud, again for both storage and compute. One of the leading industry initiatives for translational medicine, tranSMART is on the Amazon cloud.

Security continues to be the top concern for adoption of public clouds, but there are several instances of private cloud for addressing the needs of the life sciences segment. With cost pressures and the need to reduce capital expenses, cloud adoption is gaining momentum across the life sciences value chain and is not limited to R&D functions such as sales force automation, sales effectiveness services, brand management and analytics, and so on.


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