The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled life sciences organizations to inject their R&D activities with cloud technology, as they look to accelerate research and collaborate with ecosystem partners.
That move marks a departure from past practices in the life sciences vertical. Companies, while using the cloud, tended to shy away from the technology for use in research, which remained mainly an in-house function. But digital ecosystems have begun to grow, addressing such issues as data exchange.
"The industry finally has started thinking differently about cloud," said Todd Konersmann, national leader for the Life Sciences Information Technology practice at Deloitte Consulting. "For a while, there were concerns around privacy and concerns around compliance."
Deloitte research has found that 60% of life sciences and healthcare organizations already run more than half of their applications in the cloud. The industry's cloud adoption spans public clouds and private clouds as well as SaaS packages, said Nicholas Merizzi, principal of cloud strategy at Deloitte Consulting. The urgency of developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines has prompted life sciences firms to deploy those cloud technologies to support research. The need to support cooperative research efforts also lends itself to cloud-based approaches.
"Organizations were brought together for the first time -- in some cases, competing organizations," Konersmann said.
He cited the example of the Plasma Alliance, which includes biotech firm CSL Behring, pharmaceutical company Takeda and companies that specialize in plasma-based drugs. The consortium, which also includes Microsoft, is developing an anti-coronavirus immunoglobulin medicine.
The companies in the Plasma Alliance previously "never had any reason whatsoever to talk or collaborate or share IP or data," Konersmann said. As life sciences unite to combat COVID-19, they need to quickly stand up an organization that supports cooperative research.
"There's no way without cloud to quickly gain access to the capabilities and underpinnings you need to move quickly," Merizzi added.
While the Plasma Alliance and other life science research groups are using cloud technology, Konersmann said other organizations have yet to fully develop interoperability and cloud platform strategies. "That is going to be paramount to really work through now," he said.
The expanding use of cloud among organizations in healthcare and the life sciences vertical could open opportunities for cloud consultancies. Service providers can already point to cloud-based initiatives. For example, a digital transformation pact involving Takeda, Accenture and AWS supported the launch of a data sharing and clinical trial platform for the COVID R&D Alliance in less than five days, according to Accenture. The COVID R&D Alliance, which includes Takeda, aims to accelerate COVID-19 therapies and vaccines.
In addition, SADA Systems, a business and technology consulting firm in Los Angeles, is working with HCA Healthcare and Google on a system that tracks the coronavirus curve. And InterVision Systems, an IT service provider, partners with AWS and cloud cost optimization firm Strategic Blue to assist COVID-19 research teams with cloud adoption.
HP Inc. pursues prosumer segment with partners
HP Inc. said its Amplify channel program has gained traction among its partner ecosystem and is set to expand this spring.
Rolled out in November, the HP Amplify program places a strong emphasis on collaboration between HP and its partners. By working closely together, HP aims to identify ways to deliver unique outcomes and value propositions to customers, ideally in a proactive manner, said Christoph Schell, chief commercial officer at HP.
"There are a lot of touch points that our partners have with customers and that we have with customers," Schell said. "The best way to think of this is that during this research process, prior to purchasing, prior to making decisions, there is certain information that customers [look] for. … To us, it is important that we bring consistency into all of these [touch points] that a customer has while they research a purchasing decision or an outcome that they want to have."
Schell said the program's focus on collaboration also helps the company think about how partners can complement HP offerings with services.
Partners' feedback about the HP Amplify program has been largely positive, Schell said. He noted that the company is preparing to roll out the HP Amplify program to its retail partners in the spring of this year.
In addition to enabling collaborative efforts, the Amplify program has also helped HP pursue "the prosumer segment," Schell said. HP defines a prosumer in two ways. The first type of prosumer is a professional who works remotely and wants to incorporate enterprise capabilities into their home environment. These types of buyers seek technology and services capable of powering one's professional activities as well as non-work activities, such as entertainment, he said.
The second definition relates to professionals that design and manufacture at home. During the pandemic, many engineers and manufacturing companies had to adopt different ways of designing and producing, and, as a result, "the overall buzzword of digital manufacturing really got a boost," Schell said.
Some HP 3D-printing customers found new applications for the technology during the pandemic, he noted. The experience has demonstrated the flexibility inherent in a digital manufacturing setup compared with the traditional manufacturing methods. As customers look ahead, they are now thinking differently about manufacturing and business model strategies, Schell said. "I think there is a lot of good change and a lot of good opportunity coming out [of this]," he said.
Since the prosumer segment prefers to consume technology like consumers do, subscription models are critical. "These are not customers that want to sign a contract that they have to commit to for multiple years. They want to consume a service every day and … be able to change that service, maybe even cancel that service," like they can with Spotify or Netflix, Schell said.
He cited Instant Ink, HP's printer ink service, as an example of a successful subscription-based offering for HP.
Lenovo readies MSP program
Lenovo is developing an MSP program for the PC and smart device side of the company.
Lenovo's North America channel chief, Rob Cato, cited the MSP sector as a new opportunity for the company in 2021. He envisions MSPs expanding their managed services contracts to include remote monitoring and support for Lenovo PCs and devices. Device as a service and periodic technology refreshment could also be part of an MSP's offering.
Currently, Lenovo's PC and smart device channel encompasses four primary distributors in North America, a mid-tier of national solutions providers that includes systems integrators, and more than 10,000 Gold, Silver and Authorized partners.
Cato said he anticipates launching a pilot program for its MSP initiative by April, the beginning of the company's fiscal year.
Lenovo, meanwhile, has expanded its product roster to include the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, which the company described as its thinnest ThinkPad, and new ThinkBook models targeting mobile professionals working at SMBs. The products were unveiled at this week's CES event.
SADA launches program for SaaS providers
SADA is providing Google Cloud Platform (GCP) optimization services and go-to-market support for SaaS providers.
The company's SADA SaaS Alliance Program is currently working with four SaaS providers: Cysiv, PacketFabric, Quantum Metric and Virtru. Digital-native SaaS companies and ISVs represent the "most prolific, active, highest-demand segment we see" for GCP, noted Tony Safoian, CEO at SADA, which provides services around Google's cloud offerings.
The program includes GCP training and cost optimization whiteboard sessions and 24/7 support. But SaaS providers need more than technology and advisory services, Safoian noted. "They need go-to-market help," he said, citing SaaS vendors' drive to accelerate growth and expand revenue.
In addition to help with GTM strategies, SADA's program offers co-branded marketing collateral, a guest appearance on the company's Cloud N Clear podcast, sales enablement, co-selling and lead generation.
SaaS vendors are assigned an account manager when they join the program. The company has hired one account manager to date and will hire additional managers during 2021. "We are building a team to help manage these new partnerships and relationships," said Nikki Harley, SADA strategic alliance manager, who oversees the SaaS program.
- Atlantic Street Capital, a private equity firm based in New York, said it made a platform investment in the IT services market, combining StratX IT Solutions and Compufit. The companies, both based in White Plains, N.Y., provide outsourced IT services, specializing in IT support for healthcare organizations. Other vertical markets include financial services, professional services, manufacturing and real estate.
- ThoughtWorks, a software consultancy based in Chicago, agreed to acquire Gemini Solutions Inc., a software development and consulting services firm. Gemini was founded in 2005 in San Francisco and has a development center in Romania. The acquisition will expand ThoughtWorks' European reach and provide nearshore support for its clients in the United Kingdom and Germany, according to the company.
- An Accenture report revealed that 61% of organizations that run capital projects expect new initiatives to experience delays or be put on hold in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scope of the report spans owner-operators of factories, mines and refineries as well as public, telecommunications and utility infrastructure organizations. Accenture said the pandemic "impacted an industry that was already challenged in using digital solutions to help deliver project results on time and on budget."
- Pax8, a cloud distribution company based in Denver, has launched Pax8 UK. The move follows Pax8’s acquisition earlier this month of Wirehive, a cloud hosting and consulting firm based in the United Kingdom.
- Leidos Holdings Inc., an IT and engineering company based in Reston, Va., completed its purchase of 1901 Group for about $215 million in cash. The deal was disclosed in December 2020.
- In the AWS partner ecosystem, nClouds said it achieved AWS SaaS Competency status. San Francisco-based nClouds is an AWS and DevOps consulting and implementation services provider. The SaaS designation recognizes a partner's ability to successfully design and deploy cloud-native SaaS offerings on the AWS platform.
- Kaseya took the wraps off its Unified Remote Monitoring and Management offering, which the company said is the cornerstone of Kaseya VSA.
- Akamai Technologies revamped its partner program, adding new training, support and financial incentives. Additionally, the program introduces engagement options for solution providers, fulfillment partners and global system integrators. Partners will migrate into the new Akamai Partner Program over a six-month transition period, the company said.
- Security vendor Malwarebytes updated its OneView management dashboard to include streamlined server management and integration with ConnectWise Manage business management software.
- Nerdio, which provides Azure deployment and management software for MSPs, launched a new office in the U.K. The office will be led by Neil McLoughlin, who will officially join Nerdio in February, the company said. Nerdio will host its inaugural virtual conference, NerdioCon, from Jan. 26 to 27.
- D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., extended its previously offered 60-day repayment terms until the end of 2021. The extension applies to partner purchases made through DLL, D&H's financing partner.
- SingleStore, a database vendor in San Francisco, partnered with CRG Solutions, which will resell the company's technology in the India and ASEAN markets.
- Cloud business management vendor Sage named Aziz Benmalek as executive vice president of its global partner organization. Benmalek joined Sage from Splunk, where he served as vice president of worldwide indirect sales, partners and business development.
- ConnectWise made the following executive appointments: Chris Timms, executive vice president of growth; Tom Greco, CISO; and Tony Clancy, senior vice president of engineering.
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