Enabling a digital culture through integrated business processes

February 17, 2023 by Sara Sheriff (4 minute read)

Category | Integrated Offerings


In contrast to a physical work environment, where stability and experience are key, a digital business environment focuses on innovation and connectivity. Companies work to foster this proactive, data-intensive approach to business because it tends to drive integrated solutions through collaboration and new ideas. Pharma 4.0™ refers to the specific application of digital capabilities to advance pharma manufacturing and deliver better products through innovative processes and techniques. When done correctly, integrating core processes, enabling optimal Pharma 4.0 solutions, and creating a digital culture within a business can lead to better delivery on commitments to customers by expanding service offerings, reducing timelines, resolving problems more quickly, and focusing on service and product quality.

Challenges to digitization

The current pharma services and manufacturing environment increasingly requires businesses to embrace digital approaches to their work despite several common challenges (see Figure 1). Working with and learning from partners who have already integrated digital business practices into their environments can help newer adopters navigate the process and minimize these challenges.

IT: information technology; KPIs: key performance indicators

Five factors that anchor digital culture

The following five elements of a successful digital culture serve as anchors in the transformation from a physical work environment to a digital work environment:

  1. Data visibility and integrated data—Increasing connectivity and data visibility supports the development of an overall digital ecosystem and allows the business focus to shift from processes and tasks to results and quality.

  2. Teams operated as communities—Collaboration across functions streamlines transfer processes and optimizes communication across the business.

  3. Customer/patient centricity—Data integrity and data quality should be at the center of any digital culture. Every decision along the way must bring the business closer to meeting the customer’s or patient’s needs.

  4. Effective use of fit-for-purpose technology—Many solutions and platforms exist to facilitate a digital transformation. Developing a thorough understanding of options and capabilities allows for the proper application of these solutions to business processes.

  5. Creative and keen problem-solving—The digital workforce is the driving force behind innovation in a digital culture. Recruiting talented people who are passionate about their work and are not afraid to think out outside the box is critical for achieving the vision of a digital culture.

The transformation to a digital culture is a multipronged and interrelated process. Efforts to increase data visibility do not become effective if the right technology, tools, people, and leadership are not in place. Attention to each of these five anchors will contribute to a smooth transition.

How to approach a digital transformation

The individual needs and goals of an organization will drive the specific processes for transformation to Pharma 4.0. In the case of Thermo Fisher Scientific, we needed to transform our operations to create capacity through productivity increases and to fuel organic growth. We prioritized data-driven decision-making and wanted to improve our quality, speed, and customer experience. Establishing the five anchors listed above allowed us to identify needs, resources (including the appropriate workforce), and processes required to support an optimal digital transformation for biologics, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), viral vectors, steriles, and oral solid dosage (OSD) forms.

Having a partner with expertise in creating a globally integrated and connected ecosystem allows companies to put data where it is needed. The transformation affects not only the processes associated with manufacturing, but also the culture of the organization, allowing for more innovation, greater agility, and improved quality services for customers and patients.

To learn more about how Thermo Fisher Scientific fosters its digital culture and how you can begin your organization’s digital transformation, click here.