Are you on the right road to unlock the value of digital technologies?

30 August 2022
Technology Strategy

Digital Technology Roadmap Part 1: Problem Statement

“The output of the Digital Technology Roadmap will provide the wider industry with a clear path forward, defining the additional technical and regulatory development focus needed for successful implementation.” Gareth Alford, Innovation & Manufacturing Technology Lead at GSK, and a key thought leader for the BioPhorum Digital Technology Roadmap team.

Can’t see the wood for the trees?
Most biopharmaceutical manufacturers and the wider industry have recognized the potential of digital technologies for many years. It is widely acknowledged that the value gained from implementing these technologies has not been fully realized due to the complexity of the industry landscape and the challenges involved in delivering transformational change into a highly regulated environment. As a result, digital technologies are not fully integrated, data is not contextualized or fully accessible, and solutions are not leveraged enterprise-wide

The value of digital technologies is mostly being realized through pockets of activity, delivering local value, technological innovation, and the development of specific standards across the industry. However, many of these initiatives contribute to a ‘proof-of-concept purgatory,’ because either their scope does not consider broader requirements of the organization, or their success is not subsequently replicated enterprise-wide.

High-level roadmaps outline the challenges in the industry and frequently benchmark adoption across a select group of companies, but many of these documents do not signpost the way forward.

BioPhorum’s new Digital Technology Roadmap focuses on unpacking complex needs and offering insights into how to achieve a successful digital transformation. It consists of two documents that look at the barriers to adopting digital technologies and articulate a strategic vision and offer practical guidance and ‘tools’ to enable that process.

Part 1 of the Digital Technology Roadmap outlines the problem statement and introduces a vision for 2030+. Part 2 will address the challenges outlined in Part 1, provide visual tools to develop a ‘fit for purpose and future proof’ digital strategy, and bridge the gap between a strategic and tactical approach for biomanufacturers and supply partners.

Part 1 reflects on the Technology Roadmap First Edition (2017) and the revision of the Trends and Drivers from the refresh. It also discusses the part played by the Digital Plant Maturity Model (DPMM) in assessing the maturity of a facility.

The vision 2030+
The key output from Part 1 is a consensus view of the industry in 2030+. It is divided into six segments. The facility segment aligns with the aspirational Level 5 of the DPMM, and the other segments (data needs, processing, supply chain, workforce/people and processes, and quality/regulatory) describe a vision with a broader scope than the biomanufacturing facility, extending across the end-to-end product lifecycle.

Part 1 looks at the barriers to adopting digital technologies and how to accelerate digital transformations, driving organizations to deliver the end-to-end data accessibility that will unlock the value of digital technologies.

The vision is the backbone of the digital strategy because it represents the destination for the roadmap. The approach adopted by the team was to ask, “What will the biopharma industry look like in 2030+?” and then, “What capabilities will the industry need to support that vision?” Answering these questions provides a focus for the discussion and helps decide which digital technologies can enable those capabilities and realize the vision. The team developed tools and techniques to support the value proposition at a strategic level and execute change across the organization to deliver the key capabilities. Part 2 will explore this further.

biophorum post images value of digital technologies 380

Digital transformation faces many barriers, but implementing digital technologies is particularly challenging. Only when a critical mass of biomanufacturers successfully deliver digital transformations, and data flows between them, can the industry truly see the transformational change described in the vision.

With the pace of change in the digital world, the vision will require frequent revision, and the need to collaborate to accelerate progress is clear. BioPhorum has facilitated companies to come together and share thinking on the challenges ahead for Part 1 and members have seen value in participating in this way.

Alford commented, “Having access to the experience and knowledge within the BioPhorum Digital Technology Roadmap team has provided validation for our own internal activities as well as alignment around what is possible now and what the future vision can and will look like.”

The tools to be shared in Part 2 will be developed by consensus and the team is inviting feedback on Part 1, knowing that they have only started the conversation. They are keen to bring others into the team who know the reach of this topic and recognize the innovation that is taking place across the industry to ensure that Part 2 reflects current thought. Let us know.

What are you doing in this space?

If you want to share your thoughts or be part of the team, contact

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