U.S. Life Sciences CEOs See Quick ROI from Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence Investments

CEOs at large life sciences companies anticipate quickly recouping investments in digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI), while those in the U.S. are expecting or have achieved quicker returns than their global peers, KPMG’s 2018 CEO Outlook found.

“Life sciences CEOs – and particularly those in the U.S. -- are much more optimistic about their digital transformation efforts than some of the other industries, because the ability to capture data more effectively is making medicine more personalized, effective and efficient,” said Liam Walsh, KPMG LLP line of business leader for healthcare & life sciences.

Most life sciences companies have made investments in AI in some form, according to the CEO Outlook. U.S. life sciences CEOs were also more likely to see the strategic value of these investments – as opposed to the tactical value – than their global counterparts.

Among the U.S. CEOs surveyed this year, 25 percent said they have already achieved significant returns from AI investments and also digital transformation programs that have reshaped business functions such as product development, finance, IT, human resources, regulatory compliance, and marketing. Only 9 percent of global life sciences CEOs said they’ve already achieved a significant return on investment in artificial intelligence and digital transformation programs.

Another 33 percent of CEOs surveyed – both globally and in the United States – expect their investments in digital transformation to pay off within 12 months, the survey found.

AI and Life Sciences Jobs
Artificial intelligence and automation have traditionally been seen as threats to employment. However, 60 percent of U.S. life sciences CEOs – 67 percent globally – see artificial intelligence creating more jobs than it eliminates. The anticipated benefits from AI tend to vary by market, where the U.S. based executives see cost savings and risk management as the biggest factor. CEOs outside the U.S. see the technology helping their data governance and customer service.

“AI and other emerging technologies will transform how life sciences organizations operate in the future, since patients can be matched to more effective treatments and business processes can be made more efficient,” said Katie Dahler, KPMG LLP advisory leader for life sciences. “The need for this technology in life sciences becomes more apparent in the ‘beyond the pill’ services that pharma companies are establishing to treat more complex medical conditions.”

KPMG surveyed nearly 1,300 CEOs at companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue, including 400 based in the United States for the 2018 CEO Outlook. For life sciences portion of the survey, 109 were surveyed around the world, including 40 in the United States.