by Georgina Swan and Rodney Gedda

Eli Lilly opens innovation lab with HCL

Jul 14, 20113 mins
Healthcare IndustryInnovationIT Management

Global pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, and Indian outsourcer, HCL Technologies, have opened an IT innovation lab in Singapore aimed at developing novel technologies and improve operational efficiencies.

The Co-Innovation Lab in Singapore is a global first for both companies and will establish a collaborative framework for incubating innovative ideas and concepts based on business needs. The new laboratory, opened by senior vice-president and chief information officer at Eli Lilly, Michael C. Heim, will also function as a component of the company’s IT innovation strategy.

“We are delighted to launch this Co-Innovation Lab with HCL which will serve as a center for our company’s efforts to leverage IT to create competitive differentiators for our business,” Heim said.

“HCL’s domain expertise in the pharmaceutical industry and excellent track record in IT transformation make it an ideal partner on this journey, which we believe will ultimately bring benefits to the patients we serve.”

The HCL-Eli Lilly Co-Innovation Lab will be housed in a 35,000 square foot area in HCL’s Jurong Development Center, Singapore. HCL, which already has more than 1000 engineers based at the facility, will work with the Singaporean government to promote the lab as a global hub of IT innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

[Read CBA signs outsourcing deal with HCL Technologies for payments system.]

President and head of HCL’s Asia-Pacific and Middle East and Africa regions, Virender Aggarwal, said the company has partnered closely with Eli Lilly in recent years, beginning with collaborations in emerging markets and Japan.

“This Co-Innovation Lab will accelerate the pursuit of innovation-led transformation by providing a collaborative environment and systematically cultivate new ideas and possibilities for Eli Lilly,” Aggarwal said. “We are confident this lab [will] become a benchmark in business value generation.”

HCL works with Eli Lilly as part of a global agreement and the new lab will focus on cutting edge areas. HCL also recently opened an enterprise mobility lab in Singapore.

“We realised that in the normal structure of procurement and response that the notion of innovation breaks down, so we thought ‘let’s work on some other structure’,” Aggarwal said.

“It is just like a startup, which allows people to do people things without boundaries. We have been able to get some of the brightest minds together and encourage a real free-flow of thinking.

“Companies that have become big find it hard to innovate. This is a different model — it’s like engine funding.”

HCL has delivered mobile applications for the pharmaceutical giant on BlackBerry and iPad platforms and will continue to focus in this mobile space for both internal- and external-facing applications. The idea is to help the organisation to respond quickly to competitive technology changes in the market.

“We’re not developing the apps for consumer use but we are developing applications which will enable use by mobile phone, or mobile parametics, polling the opinion of doctors and making staff more productive,” Aggarwal said. “Or it could be as simple as giving access to the company’s portal and information from mobile devices, be they iPad devices or Android, communication and so on.”

Further down the track, the lab will looks at applications such as provision of analytics and BI on mobiles. The lab’s primary role is to work on proofs of concept.

“If something becomes mainstream, it will rolled out globally by the normal product teams,” Aggarwal said.

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