Over the past decade, the Swedish pharmacy market has experienced rapid development. Today, it is the most highly digitized pharmacy market in the world, with almost 100% of all prescriptions digitally prescribed. For many pharmacies in Sweden, online shopping makes up almost 30% of revenue and a large portion of that income stream is generated by prescribed drugs.
Although Sweden is a unique market, many countries across the global pharmaceutical industry are facing a similar digital transformation journey. In Europe and North America, for example, retail pharmacy consumers are beginning to expect a faster and more seamless customer experience. Similarly, some countries are considering changes to legislation that would allow for expanded consumer services. How can conventional pharmacies prepare to meet these rapidly changing market conditions?
Preparing for shifting market conditions and changing customer behavior
Because digitalization across the pharmacy industry is evolving quickly, it’s crucial for organizations to consider how they plan to keep pace with up-and-coming pure players and how their IT landscape is facilitating their ability to compete in a modern market.
Currently, many pharmacies are using obsolete custom-built systems, and their customer base is too small to share the burden of cost of transforming them. Historically, pharmacies have had little incentive to invest in updating their systems and, as a result, it is increasingly challenging for them to quickly adapt when technological and legislative changes occur.
Because existing systems are often built on outdated technology, it can be difficult to find resources to develop new systems that are suitable for advanced eCommerce. Similarly, a country’s industry regulations could quickly change and allow pharmacy chains to offer home delivery of pharmaceutical prescriptions. Existing pharmacies that have not modernized their systems will struggle to protect themselves from bigger players (like Amazon) that have sophisticated and highly developed logistical systems.
Three ways to build agile IT architecture
Investing in the right IT architecture now will enable pharmacies to become agile and ready to adapt to a quickly changing market. Following are three recommendations that can help pharmacies begin their digital transformation journey.
- Plan for the future today
Don’t wait for regulatory changes to force you to modernize your systems. Honestly assess whether your current systems would keep pace with a rapid shift toward digital commerce and create a digital transformation strategy.
- Embrace data-driven development
Plan for data-driven development instead of development driven by your current data structure or data model. That means focusing on the data that is necessary, rather than on how the data is currently presented. A data-driven development strategy will enable you to change data sources without having to interrupt your preferred way of working or your current processes.
- Adopt “best-of-breed” thinking
While it may be tempting to build a single system that meets all your current needs, it’s difficult for a monolithic solution to be agile and adaptable to rapid change. Taking a “best-of-breed technology” approach to building a technology stack means your organization selects various tools that serve specific purposes. When it’s time to scale up your organization’s eCommerce with a new warehouse management software or change your process to speed up the dispensing process for faster deliveries, you can upgrade different components without having to update your entire system landscape.
CGI: Helping pharmacies begin their digital transformation journey
I invite you to contact me to discuss how CGI can help your organization manage the technology and digital acceleration that is rapidly transforming the life sciences sector.