The Cloud Imperative in Life Sciences

Cloud is no more a “buzzword”. It has gradually transformed into a value-creating technology. You will find companies across industries are increasingly adopting cloud solutions. And, yes, the pandemic has only accelerated the pace.

Cloud is no more a “buzzword”. It is now a value-creating technology. Companies across industries are increasingly adopting cloud solutions. The pharma story is no different! In fact, the pharma industry has been at a crossroads of advancing innovation and adapting to change. While doing so, it has to ensure drug supply, protect employees and adhere to compliance. These are among the several reasons why the life sciences industry is often referred to as “slow to adopt technology”.

Organizations have begun to understand that cloud can fill the gaps and play a pivotal role in their transformation journey. However, this value-creating technology is usually caught within the storm of tech jargon that limits “savings” and “security” as the only business benefits. In reality, the benefits of cloud transformation go way beyond that!


If you take a look back, roughly 2 years ago, it was the onset of COVID-19 that led to sudden discussions around scalability, resilience, infra to handle gigantic amounts of data, and the need to find new ways of care delivery. For instance, it took uncertain times for us to finally realize the huge benefits and convenience of virtual care or telehealth that has been around for years. Telehealth witnessed a sudden rise in adoption by patients as well as increasing acceptance by healthcare providers and other stakeholders. Now the cloud is more than a technology solution, it is also a marketplace. Big techs like Google, Microsoft et al. are aware of this. For the pharma industry, especially, it could help open a myriad of opportunities including these:

1.      Modernizing Clinical Trials

The ball is already set rolling. Organizations have begun conducting virtual clinical trials that are not restricted to a specific area or race. More diverse volunteers mean better results. Cloud can store the gigantic amounts of data generated, which boosts the capacity to get relevant volunteers, optimize processes, and improve the identification and monitoring of eligible patients. Going by a recent study, the market size of global virtual clinical trials is likely to touch USD 12.9 billion by 2030 [1].

The reason is straightforward – healthcare cloud services efficiently and quickly randomize data. This reduces and even eliminates the possibility that someone will be able to identify the volunteer. By moving trails related data to cloud-based technology allows for more collaboration across the pharma ecosystem. This can also help bring together real patients who are willing to volunteer without compromising security.

2.      Paving the way for SaaS Solutions

In the last few years, there has been no dearth of smart wearables. You may have noticed that many people – fitness enthusiasts or not – track daily activities using smartwatches or other trackers. This wider acceptance along with SaaS (software as a service) medical devices have paved the way for patient-centric wearable technologies in clinical trials.

With this, healthcare personnel can offer today’s modern and evolved patients or rather consumers a more personalized therapy before, during as well as after treatment. Cloud ensures that information gathered by these wearable sensors is accessible anytime, anywhere. This provides patients with precise instructions outside of the clinic. SaaS medical gadgets will accelerate digital therapeutics.

3.      Handling complex operations with electronic records

Another aspect, where cloud transformation can make an enormous difference is in claims administration and processing. It can get way too complex to manage the voluminous data from healthcare providers, government officials, insurers, labs, pharmaceutical firms, and others. Electronic health records (EHR) or storing data in the cloud reduces the time spent by personnel in managing claims, thereby increasing healthcare service efficiency. This also means, during emergency, physicians or administrative personnel can instantly retrieve the required patient data. A holistic view of the information combined with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and advanced analytics can help derive real-time actionable insights. Using these insights, stakeholders can take the next best decision, eventually reducing costs and delivering outcome-based patient care.


With patients or rather consumers actively participating in their treatment and willing to share information, the amount of data created, stored and analyzed is likely to grow exponentially. Cloud can:

  • Keep up with the need for scale and speed across the pharma value chain
  • Power a data-driven approach to create a technique for the whole pharma life cycle
  • Ensure flexibility, quick deployment and personalized patient experiences

Be it trials, drug discovery, R&D or manufacturing, cloud solutions powered by AI, ML and other technologies can ensure operational efficiencies and compliance across the value chain.


The cloud is already seen as a disruptive force within the pharma industry. Going by reports, the healthcare cloud computing market may surpass $79bn by 2027 [2].  Hyperscalers like Microsoft, Amazon and Google have already started making strides in the healthcare and life sciences industry. We’ve also been seeing wearables and apps from the ever-growing startup space as well as big tech players like Apple.

For traditional pharma and healthcare organizations, building resilience throughout the enterprise is essential to not just survive but thrive in the new normal. But, this cannot be done in silos!

While technology is an enabler, collaborations will ensure true success. All stakeholders – providers, employers, insurers, clinicians, technology providers, government and consumers – must work together to ensure better, outcome-centric patient experiences.



[1]Research and Markets, Global Virtual Clinical Trials Market 2022-2030, Jan 2022

[2]Global Market Insights, Healthcare Cloud Computing Market worth over $79bn by 2027, Feb 2021


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Author Details

Flavio Aliberti

I love to study, scale, and optimize solutions to new digital dares. To accomplish this, I do three things: I choose technologies that are mature today and have the potential to grow tomorrow; I build teams and partnerships that innovate in temporary and changing environments; I create and share contagious visions while keeping the ball on the ground with best practices and strict methodologies. This requires a lot of reading and talking, and I like them both. Lately, I have started to note down my opinions around innovation and how new digital technologies are shaping the way we live. I publish them on Medium under publications like Data Driven Investors, Illumination, and An Idea. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed working with highly reputed consulting firms leading large transformation programs in automotive, manufacturing, airlines, insurance, and life sciences industries, over more waves, and with virtual teams. I own two Master of Sciences, one in Space Aeronautic Engineering from the University of Naples (IT), and one in Advanced Information Technology and Business Management from the University of Wales (UK). Summing up: I’m a digital humanist focusing on technologies enhancing human interactions.

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