Daniela Jansen, Ph.D., is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA.“Digital transformation” is a common buzzword across industries today, but is it more than just jargon?  Faced by shifting consumer demand, rapidly evolving technology and increasing competition, organizations — to a large extent from science-based industries — are realizing that business as usual (or only incremental change to traditional approaches) does not address today’s challenges in a sustainable, long-term way. Instead, organizations are investigating and implementing disruptive business models and digital technology that can drive significant operational and productivity advancements along with improved collaboration, innovation and competitive advantage.  The call for more substantive transformation reflects how our world has changed. Digital experiences have infiltrated every aspect of our lives: at home, in business, industry and healthcare.  How we think, act, work and live are all significantly impacted by social media, the cloud, mobile communications and the “Internet of Things.” Big Data is increasing exponentially in unprecedented ways — waiting for us to leverage it to take further transformational steps.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is not about digitizing reality; it is about the impact of digital reality on real-world business. It is much more than just people managing IT; it enables people to work more efficiently and effectively and moves organizations from legacy thinking to ground-breaking scientific innovation and creativity. Digital transformation impacts not only industry structures and strategies, but all levels of the organization (every task, activity and process), all the way to the extended supply chain.

Digital transformation is about people executing processes using technology driven by a common digital vision and disruptive strategy. The vision defines how the organization will combine technologies, business models and an integrated technology infrastructure to compete effectively as a unified business in globally connected markets.  Executing on this digital vision requires the commitment to blend digital and physical experiences, to turn scientific information into a competitive advantage and optimize workflows along the end-to-end innovation lifecycle.

Digital transformation in the laboratory

Because digital transformation covers the entire innovation lifecycle from ideation to commercialization, the laboratory is an excellent place for science- and process-based organizations to begin embedding this new paradigm into the enterprise. For example, testing occurs at every stage of product development, from research through development to quality during manufacturing, even into commercialization ― and these stages must never be treated as ’silos.’ By definition, the digital transformation of laboratory operations requires a holistic approach that connects the dots and lets information and data flow freely upstream and downstream, along the entire product lifecycle.

To achieve digital transformation in the laboratory, organizations must:

  • leverage technology by providing an open, scalable technology platform that supports social, cloud computing, mobile communications and the “Internet of Things”
  • blend physical and digital laboratory experiences by supporting physical workflows with digital solutions that streamline processes and connect to the enterprise; documentation should be created automatically as scientific data is generated
  • turn information into a competitive advantage by capturing all laboratory data, information and knowledge in a single system where it is easy to search, use, repurpose and share to drive better decisions and continuous innovation
  • optimize workflows through connected, unified systems and applications that integrate processes and procedures end-to-end ― with a particular focus on people, resources, data and information

Digital transformation is more than just jargon. Digitally transforming laboratory operations through integration, standardization and a unified approach provides a real competitive edge. It improves productivity, collaboration and knowledge management ― fostering scientific innovation and growth. For a better lab experience, you need to carefully define your digital lab requirements and implementation plan. Most importantly, make sure your lab strategy aligns with and supports your organization’s overall business transformation strategy.

Daniela Jansen, Ph.D., is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA.