Jul 5, 2021

Cognizant: Building a Vision of Efficiency

Viatris
Cognizant
3 min
Cognizant’s unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients like Viatris envision, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses

Cognizant’s unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses. Srinivas Shankar, Global Head of Life Sciences for Cognizant, talks to us about the massive shifts happening in the industry and how digitisation is helping clients like Viatris to find better ways of working.

Shankar has been with the company for more than 12 years and remains so with a smile on his face, “I’m really happy to be here,” he says before delving into what makes the Cognizant life sciences business special.

“At Cognizant, for us, life sciences are two distinct industry segments. The first is biopharmaceutical companies and the second is medical device companies. We work with all of the top 30 biopharmaceutical companies and 12 of the top 15 medical device companies. I've been with the company for 12 years now, all of it in life sciences. And I'm very passionate about what we do every day to leverage technology to improve the lives of patients.”

Speaking to the drivers that are influencing the life sciences industry, Shankar says, “There've been a few secular trends in the life sciences industry that are both applicable to biopharmaceutical, as well as the medical devices industrial segments. The first is what we call desegregation of care, which is moving away from the traditional confines of a hospital setting to remote patient monitoring, ambulatory care centres, personalised point of care, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

“The second is the move to value-based care, moving us away from fee for service models, which is traditionally how the industry has been compensated, to more value-based models where drug pricing is based on things like outcomes delivered. 

“Last but certainly not the least, due to Covid-19, regulations have been evolving at a faster pace around things such as the virtualisation of clinical trials and digital therapeutics. When it comes to privacy, there's been a lot of evolution in regulatory guidelines around areas such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). You will see both of these continue to evolve very quickly and it's important for the industry to keep pace with the changes.”

“If you look at commercial, a lot of the industry is moving to what we call omnichannel marketing, which is finding alternate means of reaching physicians, primarily using digital channels. We also have seen a significant increase in manufacturing and the need to manufacture vaccines and many other COVID-19 related products at scale. That scale requires a huge infusion of manufacturing capacity, so we're seeing concepts like Industry 4.0, which is the fourth industrial revolution, playing out very quickly in life sciences and being manifested in concepts like smart digital factories.

“In relation to services that we provide to clients, we see significant adoption of digital technologies, such as cloud, IoT, data analytics, and digital engineering. And we're using all of these digital technologies to be able to bring solutions to clients. 

On Cognizant’s relationship with Viatris, Shankar points out that the partnership is “very strategic.” “It predates the coming together of Mylan and the Upjohn division of Pfizer to form Viatris (2020). In 2014, we started a relationship with Mylan. After that, we started providing a whole range of strategic services from infrastructure support and operations to application support services to large and complex ERP implementations. More recently, with the formation of Viatris, we have been supporting the organisation around core infrastructure services for day-one preparedness, which includes end-user support services for about 13,000 users across 14 global sites. We are also a strategic partner for post-integration services for the Viatris organisation.”

“We're truly excited about our strategic partnership with Viatris and I think that the coming together of both these organisations, Cognizant and Viatris, can truly drive meaningful, positive value in the lives of patients.”

 

 

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Aug 1, 2021

Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?

Bitcoin
Apple
Microsoft
Amazon
Simon Chandler, Writer at Cryp...
4 min
Simon Chandler from Cryptovantage discusses Bitcoin in the technology sector and discusses rumours around which tech giant will be next to buy it,

PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.

 Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?

This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.

Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?

If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.

Image removed.

Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.

That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.” 

Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.

Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.

Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?

Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.

Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.

More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.

Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.

Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency

Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.

But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.

 Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.

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