Real-time data, analytics challenge IT

New demands for life sciences IT are to "simplify, rationalize, consolidate, and visualize," says Scott Lundstrom, VP for research at IDC Health Insights. Analytics is moving center stage for life science companies--"it's the single most important investment area," he says, during the Life Sciences Technology Insight conference in Boston.

New integration requirements are being fueled by new data, and by better access to real-time data. Cloud-based R&D initiatives, meanwhile, drive innovation. Investment in integration services and business intelligence applications is on the rise.

Lundstrom's colleague, research director Alan Louie, says that cloud services are offering life sciences companies both near-term value and perhaps long-term opportunity. In a show-of hands poll, 30 percent to 40 percent of the estimated 50 conference attendees say they are doing something with cloud computing.

Clinical trial practitioners, Louie says, will be late adopters of cloud services, behind those in drug discovery. Data generated in trials is a high security risk, he says, especially as trials spread to countries having less reliable infrastructure.

In addition to data security, privacy and vendor stability are additional cloud risks. "I'm not worried about Amazon, but I'm not so sure about the others," Louie says. Another issue with cloud computing is the difficulty of moving data between vendors.

- see Louie's previous analysis of clinical trial management systems