The art of software

pharmaphorum podcast Episode 135a

Harnessing the power of technology seems to be on the agenda for many life sciences companies these days. But when it comes to software, there is an art to utilising these advanced capabilities that results in a value-add, rather than just an add-on, within industry.

In this episode of the pharmaphorum podcast, web editor Nicole Raleigh speaks with Rob Pears, VP and head of automotive, manufacturing, and life sciences at Capgemini, which partners with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology.

From accountancy to the front end of business, such a pathway permitted Pears to navigate the technology sector - with a personal connection to research design, development, and the manufacturing industries – into the life sciences space in the past few years.

Commenting on the Capgemini Research Institute Report, Pears explains how platforms are becoming a more recognised route to patients, using software-based technologies to manage data, manage the experience, whether trials and treatments themselves all the way through to connecting medical professionals with rich and real-time information to support their decisions. Additionally, software itself is becoming the product – Software As a Medical Device.

The pace of the sector, though, is much faster than other industries. Competition for skillsets will become ever hotter. The ability to prepare for pace of change is, therefore, key.

Software uniting the human with benefits and practicalities is clear, but a balance is required in that investments are ensured to deliver those benefits. There exists a more mature capability around software now, though.

In R&D, when looking at the product lifecycle – what software is at times, a product – it represents an agile management, wherein operations can adapt to new ways of working. The whole operation has to be stitched together, however, in alignment. In terms of User Experience (UX), whichever team or stakeholder – all of it can come together to support a more effective use of R&D budget.

In respect of generative AI (GenAI), it’s about augmentation, using the technology to support development, not as a primary part in development. AI itself is already a recognisable technology – chatbots on websites, for example  - but there are further rules and guidance to come on the use of such technology, a welcome component, says Pears. Is it the silver bullet? It could be, but there is a way to go to understand exactly how to harness it.

The implications for the UK market are considerable, but education will become even more vital. STEM has been on the curriculum for some time now – a core capability – and so a continuum and extension of that will support the greater aim at every stage. To bridge the gap, though, catapults and investment hubs that bring academia, technology, and industry together to fast track innovation to find ways to embed and utilise technology are highly promising.

At the end of the day, though, understanding the structures of the data – its use, protection, monitoring, and feeding – are foundational and must be gotten right, and quality, education, and strategy are core considerations when it comes to the art of software.

You can listen to episode 135a of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer, or find it - and subscribe to the rest of the series - in iTunes, SpotifyGoogle Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Podbean.