IT outsourcing bucking pharma industry trend

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Outsourcing

Most drug companies are not planning to increase the level of sales
and marketing IT they outsource over the next 3-5 years - a sign
that this niche segment may be bucking the wider pharmaceutical
industry outsourcing trend.

In fact many firms, particularly those with the biggest IT departments, indicated that they are planning to move towards a greater level of insourcing in some or all of their IT support areas.

"Satisfaction levels for vendors are mixed,"​ said authors of a new report by market research firm Best Practices.

"No company reported "high levels" of vendor satisfaction and loyalty. Most functions were merely satisfied."

The report, titled "Outsourcing Trends for I.T. Services Supporting Pharma Sales & Marketing"​ was compiled from a survey of the IT outsourcing practices at ten of the top global pharma firms.

Although the report found that companies outsourcing 50 per cent or more of their IT support services also achieved the lowest IT staffing cost per full-time employee (FTE) user, sentiments echoed by the respondents indicated that this may not be enough of an incentive for them to adopt this strategy on a wider scale.

"Outsourcing is not necessarily inexpensive or of great value,"​ commented a respondent.

"Don't always go for the cheapest solution,"​ warned another.

According to the report, help desk and production support are the only IT services that will be outsourced more by some pharmaceutical companies over the next few years, although this will be offset by an equal number of firms moving towards insourcing the two functions.

Of the firms surveyed, half of them already outsource all their help desk functions, with 40 per cent maintaining a mix of outsourcing and insourcing.

Production support had more scope for change, with only 12 per cent outsourcing this function and the remainder split evenly between either insourcing or a mixture of both.

Data centre services painted a different picture, with 65 per cent already being done in-house and 33 per cent of companies indicating that this will increase.

Offshoring these IT services was virtually non-existent and the only IT segment that showed any trend towards offshoring was production support, with a 14 per cent movement in this direction.

C3i and Dendrite were the most favoured third-party vendors employed for outsourcing sales & marketing IT support functions. Other firms used included IBM, Cyber, Spherion, Ajlon, Satyan and TCS.

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