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In the midst of a global pandemic, pharmaceutical companies around the world are rushing to develop a vaccine to COVID-19. In an industry that typically takes years to create, test and market new drugs, the incredible time crunch for the COVID vaccine is pushing companies to their limits.
But it’s not just pharmaceutical companies that are in the race to create a vaccine. There are also companies helping behind the scenes with digital transformation. NECI and its president Tom Ramundo are working with pharmaceutical companies to create a digital stack so they can bring their product to market much more quickly.
Digital transformation and industrial automation greatly speed up the testing process by using data and predictive analytics to see how a vaccine performs in trial. Ramundo says that many of the companies working to create a COVID vaccine were born to be digital companies. They are taking the digital fingerprint of the protein that makes up the virus and utilizing it to develop their product. When working on a project that changes the timeline from months and years to days and weeks, companies must be digitally enabled. Without a digital transformation, companies couldn’t come close to creating a COVID vaccine in record time.
Companies don’t need to be finding the cure to a global pandemic to undergo a digital transformation. Ramundo says it’s critical for every company, no matter the industry, to adopt digital solutions to improve their processes and become more efficient.
Ramundo’s work on the COVID vaccine has highlighted three digital transformation trends:
- It’s not all about technology. Digital transformation centers around digital tools and capabilities, but the people are equally important. Without passionate people, a digital transformation can fall flat. Ramundo says the COVID team at NECI all volunteered to work on the project because they are passionate about the cause, which helps things move even faster.
- Leadership must be engaged. Everyone has to be on board for a successful digital transformation. Starting from the top, leaders and executives must be engaged and lead the cause. Leaders also need to develop a plan for employee buy-in to get everyone on board and show the value of the changes. Digital transformation includes everyone, from IT to HR, finance and beyond.
- Don’t take your eye off the ball. Digital transformation is about smart, integrated technology, but at the end of the day, it has to solve problems. A digital solution that is flashy but doesn’t actually improve the company is a waste. What are the problems you are trying to solve? Ramundo recommends starting small, achieving business results and then repeating the process on other problems.
Digital transformation is paving the way for a COVID vaccine to be introduced in record time. It can have an equally transformative effect on companies that focus on strategy and tie the digital offerings back to their business goals.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her new course here. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.