Voices: Kuehn

Pharma's Need to Know

Information technology remains the lamp illuminating a path to operational truth

By Steven E. Kuehn, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to Pharmaceutical Manufacturing’s Information Technology Almanac 2014. We’ve departed from our usual format to deliver a special issue designed, like Farmers’, to provide a handy reference with information to help operational types like yourself get the most from large fields of data generated by your organization and its operations. For example, we’re featuring several case studies that reveal keen insight into how industry leaders are implementing IT solutions. Up first, though, is “What’s Trending in IT 2014” covering a virtual panel discussion between some of the industry’s IT technology leaders to get a first-hand look at how their customers are leveraging the software platforms and informatics systems they’ll need to manage the complexities of drug manufacture in the 21st century.

I asked each of my “panelists” a series of questions and their answers are in the pages that follow. However, of those questions, I asked what they thought were the biggest innovations in IT systems for life sciences environments and what did they consider the “bleeding edge” as far as the technology goes. “It is impossible to talk about IT innovation in life sciences without talking about the shifts in business models that are forcing these changes,” says Veeva Systems’ Jennifer Goldsmith. She explains that the expanding use of contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) is driving organizations to evaluate how they can best leverage recent innovations in cloud capabilities and mobility. “Cloud applications are easily accessible,” notes Goldsmith, “enabling all parties to collaborate regardless of location — while allowing companies to retain control and maintain regulatory compliance.”

Global, information sharing is also on the mind of Brian Vogel, representing Rockwell Automation. “There is an underlying need to reduce total cost of production and standardize execution through the use of IT and enterprise systems,” he says. “This will drive single-site, multi-type and multi-product manufacturing locally while sharing the information globally.” The innovations he sees driving competitive agility include the use of wireless mobility, the cloud, data/hardware farms, remote access, and innovative execution interfaces and wearable devices like Google’s glasses.

Werum IT Solutions Rolf Blumenthal finds that “in the area of IT technology, mobile computing is a trend where the expectations for solutions are high.” No doubt because mobile technologies are here to stay and the interface opportunities and connectivity they offer is becoming almost mandatory when it comes to managing complex operations. BIOVIA’s Gene Tetreault notes that the Internet of Things is a really interesting concept because it marries device identity schemes with operational routines. “I’m really excited about where we can go,” he says, “Google Glass has tremendous potential because it mixes physical reality of the lab with the virtual reality of the data available.” In other words, there’s already a pair of glasses available to any manager wanting to gain a deeper kind of operational clarity — and that’s certainly a vision we can all share.

Read the 2014 IT Almanac here


More from this voice...


Pharma's Need to Know

Information technology remains the lamp illuminating a path to operational truth


Innovation Is Often a Journey

Technology offers a path to achieve operational and competitive leadership, but it’s in the application that drives true innovation


Who Really Designed the Design Space?

Quality by Design is a great idea for Pharma, but some dispute its industry origins


Assuring Drug Safety in a Global World

Margaret Hamburg tells British regulators she’s having a little trouble sleeping at night


An Encounter of the Viral Kind

At Interphex I met a bug I didn’t like and lots of things pharmaceutical that I did


Pharma’s Global Climate Change

Manufacturing pharmaceuticals is not for the faint of heart, no matter where you’re from


Contract Pharma Takes the Field

Contract services companies are playing great cGMP ball


A New Capacity for Change

Dollars are flowing fast into cost effective and efficient pharma manufacturing capacity


Incentivizing a Culture of Quality

From the lab to commercial process and across the global supply chain, quality is a gift we all can share


Large Molecules, Larger Impact

The biopharma industry remains one of the most robust and healthy of industries, not only in the states, but also around the world


Lean Forward, Pharma

Operational excellence requires collaboration and efficient allocation of resources


Chasing the Dragon in China

China's crackdown may ultimately prompt better, more ethical behavior by capitalist and communist alike


Enter the Innovators

Whether cheaper, faster, safer or easier, innovation puts the “-er” in Pharma manufacturing’s progressive improvement.


Finding the Good in GDUFA

Providing funding certainty to the FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs will help unjam the ANDA backlog, but many see the fee structure unduly burdening smaller players


We Are All Bostonians Now

Pharmaceutical industry among the tragedy’s first responders


Here’s to the Next 10 and 50 to Follow

A happy 10th anniversary to both the FDA’s Pharmaceutical GMPs for the 21st Century as well as Pharmaceutical Manufacturing magazine


Germs, Vaccines and Stainless Steel

Biopharma continues to shape human history, fighting the good fight against germs and chronic disease; winning through innovation and sometimes, just plain old persistence