Accenture joins Salesforce to build out AI-powered cloud service for life sciences companies

Salesforce recently pulled back the curtain on a plan to adapt its customer management and analytics software specifically for the use of life sciences companies, and several supporting roles in that production are now taking shape.

According to an announcement this week, consulting giant Accenture will add its own expertise both in the biomedical research industry and in artificial intelligence technologies to the Salesforce Life Sciences Cloud to help fulfill the new software’s mission of making medtech, biotech and pharma companies more efficient.

The collaboration will build on Accenture and Salesforce’s existing partnership in the field of AI, which kicked off earlier this year with plans to build an “acceleration hub” that would help companies take advantage of the generative AI technology available through Salesforce’s signature customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

“Accenture’s deep understanding of the pharma and medtech spaces and their current work to transform patient experiences will help us create new innovation for life sciences companies and in the new development of Salesforce Life Sciences Cloud,” Amit Khanna, senior vice president and general manager of health and life sciences at Salesforce, said in the announcement.

Salesforce unveiled its plans for the life-sciences-focused cloud service last month. The software is slated to include tech tools to aid in clinical and commercial operations as well as a CRM platform specifically for pharma companies.

The clinical operations tools are designed to help drug and device makers set up and run more efficient clinical trials using programs that compile patient data from an array of sources into a single profile, track drug trial events and speed up trial participant onboarding.

In commercial operations, meanwhile, Salesforce’s software uses AI and predictive analytics to help medical device sales teams track inventory, suggest new products for healthcare provider customers and automatically draft emails pitching those products and arranging follow-up meetings with customers.

While most of those features are already widely available to users of the Life Sciences Cloud—sans some of the clinical operations tools, which are set for early- and mid-2024 rollouts—much of the Pharma CRM solution is still in progress. The software will streamline pharma companies’ processes of managing drug samples, dosage inquiries and provider consent, with the sales automation tools available in mid-2025 and an AI-powered healthcare provider engagement tool on track to be released in October 2025.

Accenture will support the development and rollout of the cloud-based software. Not only will that support include chipping in its knowledge of and experience in the life sciences industry and data analytics, but Accenture said it will also develop “complementary tools and methodologies” that will help its clients test-drive the Life Sciences Cloud.

“The rapid pace of science and technology advancements is making treatment decisions more complex,” Emma McGuigan, senior managing director and enterprise and industry technologies lead at Accenture, said in Monday’s announcement. “Data and AI will drive differentiation around how life sciences organizations engage with their customers. Together with Salesforce, we can help organizations establish a digital foundation to support omni-channel experiences across sales, service and marketing with data and intelligence at the core.”

Accenture isn’t the only consulting giant Salesforce tapped to help launch the life-sciences-centric solution: Deloitte Digital has also come aboard, according to the late October unveiling news.

That confirmation shed some light on the Deloitte subsidiary’s September announcement that it would contribute its own expertise in the realms of life sciences and healthcare to help Salesforce improve its CRM technology specifically for biopharma companies to help speed up new drug development.