Why Dr Reddy’s is thinking like a tech company as it focuses on digital transformation
Digital transformation is a must for businesses to think big. Rajdeep Ghosh, the 37-year-old head of Digital Centre Of Excellence at Dr Reddy’s Labs, concurs. He believes that a mindset change is all that’s needed to drive change, and be more agile and future-ready.
Speaking on the sidelines of AWS re:Invent 2019, the massive annual Amazon Web Services cloud computing conference held in Las Vegas, Rajdeep said, “Seventy percent of digital transformation needs human transformation. If you show value to them, they will embrace technology.”
Rajdeep has 15 years of experience in the healthcare field. His stints in the hardware, software, and the digital world make him one of the few leaders who have a keen understanding of how businesses across the healthcare industry are transforming themselves. Transformation in business is not about using a software tool or talking about AI, he says.
"Today's businesses realise the power of digital technologies and platforms. Instead of reinventing and building from the scratch, you can leverage Cloud services and create immense value for your business,” Rajdeep said.
On the transformation path at Dr Reddy’s, they created a dedicated centre of excellence for digital transformation. The company roped in Rajdeep from Tech Mahindra, where he was heading the Medical Devices and Healthcare IoT practice and driving technology-led transformation solutions related to Medical Devices Engineering, Remote Patient Monitoring and Healthcare Platforms for global healthcare organisations.
Why was the 22,000-employee-strong and Rs 15,488 crore company keen to change?
The leaders were well aware of the disruptive potential that digital technologies such as mobility, AI, IoT, and Cloud can enable for the organisation.
How they did it
Rajdeep categorised the goals for the Digital CoE as a 3P strategy: “3 Pillars for Digital Transformation”.
Process: Using Digital for enabling exponential value creation through Process Transformation,
Products: Driving the vision towards beyond Pill Value Creation and enabling better outcomes for the patients through Digital Products.
People: Enabling people with tools and skills for building digital quotient for empowering them to drive digital transformation initiatives within their functions.
“The first thing you have to remember is that transformation does not mean that you have to spend millions of dollars. With open source technologies and the Cloud Platform & Services we don't have to build everything from scratch; today’s technology landscape equips you to drive a frugal innovation approach towards transformation. With a basket of ready-to-use services being offered by Cloud Providers, you can conceptualise, build, integrate, and release any solution faster,” Rajdeep said.
“The key here is to look at Cloud as PaaS (Platform As A Service) and extract value, and just not as another alternative to on-premise infrastructure. Using Cloud services, we have been able to cut down the overall development timelines by 30 percent,” Rajdeep said.
They have been leveraging Cloud services such as RDS, Redis Cache, S3 Bucket, API Gateway, Cloud Front, Sage Maker, SNS, Lambda, Cloud Watch, and Pub/Sub.
How did transformation begin at Dr Reddy’s Labs?
The first thing the COE team did was to focus on transforming core processes across the organisation. “The team, along with manufacturing and quality teams, conceptualised, developed, and launched transformative solutions for improving core quality and manufacturing processes. A few prominent examples include Change Control and AI-enabled Standard Operating Processes (SOP).”
Using Digital Lean as a principle the team successfully transformed the existing Change Control process and could exponentially reduce the average turnaround time by 5X.
Similarly the team conceptualised and delivered a one-of-its-kind Digital SOP solution for transforming the process of SOP creation and usage. Using Deep Learning models, the team has enabled SOP writers to create high quality SOPs, which are easy to follow. It has deployed Interactive Digital viewers for enabling easier search, navigation, and information reference within the SOP.
“This way, standard operating procedures becomes a powerful knowledge base that can improve process compliance across the organisation.”
Targeting core operating processes
Could AI help in improving core operating processes? This is what happened at Dr Reddy’s Labs.
The focus on enabling Patient Centricity, Brand Differentiation, and improving Treatment Outcomes using Digital Platforms will enable the company to be relevant in the future and open up new opportunities and business models.
The team is working with hospitals and HCPs for enabling better treatment outcomes and care management for cancer patients. The platform will be helping hospitals, patients, and their care givers to come together, engage, and collaborate effectively while also preparing them for the treatment journey.
For example, a patient going through chemotherapy needs to be educated about his condition, treatment protocols, and also know what kind of a diet plan they have to follow which can help them immensely to recover.
“We can help care providers create a digital treatment journey for the patient, empower patients and their care givers for managing their side effects better, improve treatment adherence while also helping care providers to track the progress of the patients, to be more proactive in terms of Patient Management and take required interventions on time. All this is HIPAA-compliant, and patient data is protected,” Rajdeep said.
This is an experiment towards creating a Digital Product portfolio to enable patient centricity while creating significant value around key existing therapy product offerings.
So, from a manufacturer of medicines to a digital product company that uses platform and data is the clear path for DRL in the coming years. “It's a journey, and we are still a long way from calling ourselves digitally transformed,” Rajdeep said.
A culture of change
The other remaining pillar in Dr Reddy’s digital transformation is People and how they are being empowered for driving Innovation.
The company has an app called MyDay, which was launched three months ago with the aim of improving employee productivity. Employees can use the app to manage their day-to-day tasks efficiently, draft minutes of meetings, track meeting outcomes, and can manage all approvals in one place.
This helps the company go beyond emails for carrying out day-to-day tasks. The company calls this a cultural transformation initiative, which can enable speed and accountability for every employee, including senior leaders.
Dr Reddy’s has also embarked on the journey of Robotic Process Automation where they have focused on automating mundane and repetitive tasks across the organisation with a focus on improving efficiency and employee productivity.
Under a new innovation initiative, the company, in 2019, has chosen a list of promising ideas that have potential for transforming the current business. Each idea will be executed as a “Garage Concept “ like a startup and will have a dedicated eight to 10 member core team driving a use case around transforming existing processes and businesses.
According to research firm Statista, by 2023, the spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation worldwide is expected to rise to $2.3 trillion from the current $260 billion. Dr Reddy’s Labs has set out on its digital journey, and it’s expected that many more from India and the world will soon follow suit.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)