Covid-19 is set to be a major catalyst for the pharmaceutical industry. The rush to adapt to new social distancing and lockdown norms has led to a hurried digital transformation, leaving many organisations struggling to bridge the digital skills gap.

GlobalData’s latest report, “Digital Transformation and Emerging Technology in the Healthcare Industry – 2020”, reveals that lack of specific skills and talents (46%), organisational silos (42%), and insufficient funding (40%) are the main hindrances in pharma’s digital transformation efforts.

Urte Jakimaviciute, senior director of market research at GlobalData, comments: “As more companies turn to digital, a number of innovations covering every possible process in the pharmaceutical value chain is only going to increase. The success of digital transformation will heavily depend on employees being on board and adapting as digital transformation process is a never-ending change.

“While Covid-19 response scaled up digital transformation, it left many companies unprepared.

“Digital transformation is not the same as adding new applications and updating the company’s infrastructure. Understanding and applying new technologies requires specific skillsets, as technologies will fail to add value if people do not know how to work with them.”

Jakimaviciute concludes: “No industry was untouched by Covid-19 and the pandemic has turned digital skills into a ‘must have’ attribute, creating a huge demand for these skills. The gap between the demand and the supply of tech-savvy employees will widen, as companies compete for the same talent pool.

“Interestingly, the risk-averse culture which was scored as a number one hindrance in 2019, moved further down the list (35%) in 2020, suggesting that a larger number of organisations see a digital transformation as a necessity rather than a choice.”