As we move forward into 2015, it is becoming increasingly clear that the life science industry is actively moving forward in ways that should help to create a strong foundation for growth over the long term. The active embrace of technology to empower more effective data exploitation within an increasingly externalized ecosystem (building on cloud, big data, cognitive computing, access anytime-anywhere) is becoming the common infrastructure that help users from the bench to the boardroom to use data, information, and knowledge to work smarter and more effectively, both now and for the foreseeable future.
A number of technological innovations will help us to make the transition forward, slowed only by mankind's inherent resistance to change. While I've described many of these innovations in detail in a number of previous writings, it is also clear that vendors supporting the industry have also seen the vision and are actively incorporating these innovations as features today as they seek to differentiate their solutions from those of their competitors. While the life sciences remain a diverse ecosystem with room for a wide variety of pathways to success, it is clear that several commonalities will prevail.
Several advances in the industry promise to help us to move forward, including:
- Translation of industry best practices into automated workflows
- Expansion of semantic search into cognitive computing to expose available information or knowledge relevant to researchers, clinical and business development people alike
- Rapid transition of NGS and other technologies into production environments, shifting the focus from technology to answers
- Enhanced collaborative capabilities and infrastructure to empower bringing the best people and groups together to accelerate progress
- Maturation of human interfaces (e.g. dashboards, reports, and other project/portfolio visualization/interaction technologies) to make regular and ad hoc analyses easier for any competent user to use routinely
That said, there are potential pitfalls that will still need to be overcome, including especially enterprise-wide data security supporting robust protection against data breaches (which we predict will significantly hit the industry this year) and issues with improper and ineffective use of data and information, yielding poor and wrong results from bad data.
Exciting times to come and I look forward to speaking with industry innovators over the course of the year regarding their best efforts to advance the industry.
As always, comments and alternative opinions are welcome.