It’s no secret that Pharma is at the tail-end of the spectrum when it comes to digital maturity. In fact, in 2012, Capgemini and the MIT Center for Digital Business found that when compared with nine other industries, Pharma ranked dead last when it came to digital transformation management intensity.

However, looking back on 2013, it is clear that Pharma is taking incremental steps towards evolving the enterprise IT model to keep up with its peers in other industries. The question remains, will Pharma accelerate its adoption of the Social-Mobile-Analytic-Cloud (SMAC) stack in 2014 and beyond, or maintain its current position as a ‘Digital Beginner’?

We break down the components of SMAC to examine Pharma’s current relationship with enterprise IT and issue a prognosis of what to expect in 2014:


Of the SMAC capabilities, social has certainly been the biggest headache for Pharma to-date. In the absence of formal guidelines issued by the FDA, Pharma has been left to test the waters at the risk of being chastised for non-compliance (See: AstraZeneca pulls Twitter ads). Consequently, opinions on the utility of social media vary throughout the industry. The majority remain fairly conservative, but novel social media listening techniques are threatening to disrupt the status quo.

Prescription: In 2014, Pharma should ramp up investments in social media analytics, but continue treading lightly when it comes to using social media to engage consumers.


The use of mobile technology in the pharmaceutical industry has proliferated in recent years due in large part to the advent of eDetailing as a new method for the sales force to engage physicians. Beyond the doctor’s office, numerous companies are exploring the power of mobile technology in the area of patient adherence. Smart pills, mobile apps, and gamification are all drawing growing shares of budget and investment into mobile technology, a trend that is likely to continue into 2014 and beyond.

Prescription: Pharma should continue improving its current use of mobile, particularly as the anchor of a multi-channel marketing approach, while simultaneously looking towards the capabilities of mobile as a tool to enhance collaboration internally.


The power of ‘Big Data’ has already proven tremendously impactful for pharmaceutical companies in the areas of sales and marketing. From gathering and synthesizing customer data to developing predictive pricing models, analytics offers Pharma the ability to make highly informed decisions in real-time. The McKinsey Global institute estimates applying big data tools to decision making could generate up to $100 billion in value across the healthcare industry. As with many other industries, Pharma still has a long way to go in terms of building in-house capabilities to efficiently and economically manipulate large volumes of data to realize this value.

Prescription: Pharma needs to strengthen and expand their in-house capabilities in years to come, as major competitors are rethinking and evolving their data management practices.


Despite concerns over privacy and data security, Pharma has begun to display an interest in the benefits offered by enterprise cloud technology. Several major players have adopted cloud platforms for uses ranging from enhancing CRM capabilities to tracking supply chain shipments. In 2013, the Roche Group adopted Google Apps for business in order to enhance workplace collaboration and has experienced tremendous results. As the promises of cost savings and the ability to work anywhere at anytime grow harder to ignore among industry peers, we expect more companies to invest in this area.

Prescription: Invest in cloud platforms where IP and regulatory risk are low. Reduce the barriers to collaboration at every turn.