Thought Leadership

Life Sciences Insights & Innovation Teams Are Working on Overdrive. It’s Time for a New Breed of Market Research Outsourcing.

October 17, 2022
Life Sciences Insights & Innovation Teams are Working on Overdrive

Historically, the pace of life sciences product development has lagged behind other industries. This is to be expected, given life sciences deals in, well, life. The benefits—and risks—to health and life mean guardrails are higher, regulations stricter and compliance essential. All of this slackens the pace of innovation, keeping life sciences on a slow but steady path from research to trials to regulation to launch. Then something happened.

Something that changed everything. Modern pharma delivered a vaccine to combat a pandemic in a matter of months. Compare that to the 1955 polio vaccine that took nearly a decade. Granted, COVID-19 vaccines were not typical new product launches. An unprecedented global crisis accelerated early-stage research, emergency regulatory approval and the quick implementation of different late-stage commercial strategies. 

It is unlikely a nine-month lifecycle becomes the norm for life sciences product development and launch. But the industry isn’t looking back. Advanced technology—including promising new applications of mRNA technology—and a proven accelerated model for mass production, marketing, and distribution of medical products and devices are strong indicators that commercial insights teams will be operating on overdrive for years to come.

That’s not all. Contributing to the increased pace of innovation and commercialization is patient-centricity. Patients are demanding more ownership in their health choices and pharmaceutical companies are listening. As patients’ voices rise, commercial insights teams need to listen harder, more often, in more ways, and to more diverse patient groups. That takes time. One solution is team augmentation with high-caliber market research outsourcing. 

In life sciences, we are seeing an increased emphasis on consumer-branded merchandise, patient-friendly marketing and a focus on amplifying wellness versus mitigating illness. Of course, in this business, patients have always come first. But in a patient-centric era, in many respects, patients are leading the way. This means commercial insights teams will need to be even more agile to keep up with patients’ evolving needs and preferences. Yet another reason to consider staff augmentation services.

Finally, we are in a period of considerable economic uncertainty. Businesses across industries are busy deciphering the indicators and reading the economic tea leaves. But there is no proven playbook for this particular moment. In response, many business leaders are future-proofing through flexibility and fine-tuning the art of the pivot. Being ready to act quickly and decisively seems to be the best preparation for uncertainty.  Flexible staffing solutions can be part of the equation.

Time to Rethink Market Research Outsourcing as Team Augmentation

The insights and innovation side of life sciences has been hit by a triple whammy. A record-speed vaccine raised expectations for speed-to-market. Patient-centricity raised the bar on insights and attention to the voice of the patient. And now, looming economic uncertainty. All this means you may find yourself being asked to do more with less.

Assuming you are not one of several Fortune 500s already in a hiring freeze, your initial reaction might be to add headcount. Fast. But permanently increasing team size may not provide you with the flexibility to respond to surge demand during peak periods. Nor does it give you the ability to cycle down as workflow ebbs. And hiring is tricky now, especially in a still tight labor market. Business leaders are looking for ways to lower staffing risks while continuing to deliver quality insights and analytics.

Another route is contracting for need on a project basis. However, this staffing solution can get bogged down by contracting hoops and the need to re-scope projects for every little change. Insights flow continuously. Not always on a project basis. Keeping workflows humming and insights flowing requires a more fluid and flexible staffing solution.

Then there’s the agency partner route. But often the various skill sets needed to save time and have a meaningful impact aren’t available under an agency roof. This presents a challenge to those looking to meet the accelerated pace and increased volume of Life Sciences research requests.

There’s another way: Market research outsourcing reimagined as a fully managed team augmentation service.

Team Augmentation as a Managed Service Up Levels Your Output and Saves You from Burnout

For the past five years, Escalent has helped insights, brand, and innovation teams in top life sciences companies deliver timely, actionable insights while up-leveling the value they bring to their stakeholders. It’s a deceptively simple idea. We build dedicated teams of skilled analysts and consultants fully committed to a client’s business. Dedicated teams allow you to increase bandwidth without increasing headcount. As a fully managed service, our staff augmentation model ensures top-quality deliverables and the ability to scale up and down during peak and non-peak periods. Your augmented team stays with you, builds institutional knowledge and learns to predict your needs. This is not a traditional outsourcing model. You get a skilled team of analysts, fully managed by a single point of contact.

Tighter timelines and increased deliverables for insights, analytics and innovation teams are here to stay. With Staff Augmentation, your core team gets the boost they need to beat the life sciences triple whammy.

If you’d like more details, download our Guide to Boosting Bandwidth & Winning Back Time.

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Special thanks to Kathleen Relias for sharing her insights and thought leadership for this blog.

Tim C. Taylor
Tim C. Taylor
Vice President, Life Sciences

Tim Taylor is a vice president in Escalent's Health & Life Sciences group, with more than 15 years of consultative experience. He has helped Life Sciences, CPG, and Sports & Entertainment companies minimize the risk of strategic business decisions and uncover new growth opportunities. With client- and supplier-side strategic consulting experience emphasizing new market access, brand positioning and optimizing operations, Tim is a relentless value provider and revenue contributor to industry-leading organizations. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics, business management from The City University of New York, CCNY.  Away from the office, Tim enjoys photography and is an avid cyclist.