target audience: TECH BUYER  Publication date: Aug 2021 - Document type: IDC MarketScape - Doc  Document number: # US48126821

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Life Science R&D BPO Services 2021 Vendor Assessment

By:  Nimita Limaye Loading


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This IDC Health Insights study is the first of a three-part IDC MarketScape series focused on IT outsourcing in life science R&D. With a specific focus on life science R&D IT BPO, this study seeks to determine how the major IT vendors compare with each other, building on criteria that should be important to life science companies when considering the selection of an external service provider to take over noncore business processes. IDC MarketScape assessment of BPO outsourcing in life science R&D was previously performed in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2018.

Dr. Nimita Limaye, research VP, Life Science R&D Strategy and Technology, at IDC, noted, "While BPO remains a somewhat smaller component of the traditional IT outsourcing, BPO remains an important piece of driving the operations of the life science industry. However, pharma and biotech companies are looking at BPO players to leverage significant amount of technology play to drive cost efficiencies and speed. BPOs that do not do so will be replaced by other players or by technology built within the sponsor organizations themselves. This does become a catch-22 for the BPO industry, which has traditionally thrived on numbers, as it cannibalizes its own business by bringing in technology. Those that leverage technology to replace routine manual operations and play in high-end niche areas, bringing in domain experts, and that also have data fluency and are tech savvy will lead the way. Others will become redundant."

The life science R&D BPO industry is slowly reaching maturity in some of the business processes that have been traditionally outsourced by the life science industry. However, the industry is making inroads into newer areas. With the maturing of the industry, the pharma-biotech industry is seeking more meaningful partnerships with seasoned BPO players. In addition, outsourcing is no longer the holy grail of cost savings, as even emerging geographies are rapidly moving up the cost curve. Therefore, IDC believes that the pharma-biotech industry is looking for partners that can offer the entire package, including the offshore scale and cost efficiencies, while ensuring quality, the onshore niche skills and front-ending resources, complemented by enterprisewide IT transformation and strategic consulting capabilities.


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