Life Sciences BPO Experienced Healthy Growth in 2016, But Political Uncertainty May Dampen Outlook—Everest Group

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Life Sciences companies, typically laggards in technology adoption, face increasing pressure to leverage analytics, IoT, automation and omnichannel marketing

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Even though service providers in the life sciences BPO market are strongly positioned to help their clients capitalize on new technologies, life sciences companies are slow to adopt

The Life Sciences Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) market grew at a healthy pace of 10 to 12 percent since 2014 to reach US$4.6 billion in 2016, according to Everest Group. Increasing adoption by first-generation buyers, the rising cost of drug development and clinical trials, and a shifting focus towards a patient-centric model are some of the key contributors to growth in life sciences BPO market during this period.

Looking ahead, Everest Group expects the global life sciences BPO market to grow at a lower but steady pace of 9 to 11 percent over 2016-2018. Political uncertainty and other industry challenges in the key buying geographies of the United States and the United Kingdom (which together represent nearly 90 percent of the buying base) will contribute to a slight dampening of the growth rate. However, life sciences companies will continue to be highly motivated to optimize costs through BPO. Life sciences companies will look to their BPO service providers for help in expanding their businesses, reducing time-to-market, removing inefficiencies, reducing costs, achieving higher customer mindshare, and building multi-channel capabilities.

Adoption of life sciences BPO by first-generation buyers will continue to be a primary growth driver, but expansion of contract scope will contribute as well. Deals will increasingly include services around drug discovery and clinical trials, regulatory compliance support, analytics, and sales and marketing.

“Even though service providers in the life sciences BPO market are strongly positioned to help their clients capitalize on new technologies, life sciences companies are slow to adopt,” said Manu Aggarwal, practice director at Everest Group. “The reticence of life sciences companies to move beyond the occasional pilot program is stifling momentum in the market, which is hurting these enterprises and delaying the ROI they could be enjoying today.

“Nevertheless, analytics certainly has a greater role to play in the industry, and we’ll begin to see more advanced analytics solutions, as well as IoT and omnichannel marketing solutions, especially as the concepts of Real World Evidence and personalized medicine take hold,” continued Aggarwal. “We’ll also see more growth in Robotics Process Automation, driven by the more progressive service providers in the market as they seek to relieve the pressures on their profit margins.”

These findings and more are discussed in a recently published Everest Group report, “Life Sciences BPO—Annual Report 2017: Personalization Bug Biting the Market.” The report provides an overview of the Life Sciences BPO market and service provider landscape. It also explores key solutions (such as analytics, automation, omnichannel marketing, and IoT) that buyers and providers can leverage to mitigate challenges prevalent in the life sciences industry.

Other Key Findings:

  • While North America continues to be the most significant market for life sciences BPO, Europe and Asia Pacific have witnessed significant growth.
  • Slower growth in developed or mature markets of North America and Europe, along with increasing adoption of generics, continues to be one of the key challenges faced by biopharma companies.
  • Increasing pressure from regulatory bodies, especially to reduce prices and move jobs back to onshore, and rising expectations of customers are also likely to play a significant role in the future strategy of life sciences companies.
  • Increasing focus of biopharma companies on personalized medicines presents a whole new set of opportunities and challenges.
  • Despite a decline in share, the input-based pricing model (fixed fees and FTE-based) still dominates the life sciences BPO market.
  • Share of big pharma (revenue greater than US$20 billion) in the life sciences BPO market has declined over last few years.
  • Adoption of analytics is at a more advanced stage when compared to adoption of RPA in the life sciences BPO market; however, currently the primary focus area for adopting analytics involves the use of basic analytics (reporting and descriptive); use of advanced analytics solutions, such as predictive and prescriptive, is less common.
  • The market continues to remain consolidated at the top, with Accenture, Cognizant, Genpact, and TCS together accounting for more than 60 percent of the market by revenue.
  • While pharmacovigilance emerged as the most outsourced segment, sales and marketing emerged as the most competitive segment within the life sciences BPO market.
  • Emergence of startups and the entry of BPO+IT players has caused significant disruption in the life sciences outsourcing market, especially among some of the more traditional players.

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, and sourcing. We are trusted advisors to senior executives of leading enterprises, providers, and investors. Our firm helps clients improve operational and financial performance through a hands-on process that supports them in making well-informed decisions that deliver high-impact results and achieve sustained value. Our insight and guidance empower clients to improve organizational efficiency, effectiveness, agility and responsiveness. What sets Everest Group apart is the integration of deep sourcing knowledge, problem-solving skills and original research. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com.

Media Contacts:

Andrea M. Riffle, Everest Group
andrea.riffle(at)everestgrp(dot)com

Robert Cathey, Cathey Communications for Everest Group
+1-865-386-6118
robert(at)cathey(dot)co

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