Barriers Experienced when trying to Automate a Paper or MS Excel based Process in Medical Device or Pharmaceutical Organisations.

Digital Transformation

At the end of 2020 we surveyed a number of our existing clients who are focusing on closing Digital Gaps that exist in their current business functions and corporate systems. These clients are leading Life Science multinational organisations focusing on the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

The most important item to get right when evaluating a Digital Transformation project is to ensure it is actually solving an issue you are having – the resolution of the problem should unlock Continuous Improvements in processes and ultimately change the way you operate on a daily basis for the better.

By focusing on Digital Gaps your processes can “Digitally Evolve” at a smaller pace but with just as much impact. Now more than ever you need to build Operational Resilience into your processes and the best way to do this is to ensure that your processes will continue to operate as normal whether you are onsite or offsite.

We wanted to try and learn more about what the barriers are to closing Digital Gaps that exist with organisations so we could help to address these when working on future projects or adopting new technologies for applications. Below is a summary of the results:

Barriers Experienced within Industry when trying to Automate existing Paper or MS Excel based Processes.

Digital Evolution

Analysis of the Results:

Interestingly previously unsatisfactory outcomes with similar projects scored the lowest – looking at this optimistically we would say that any previous projects yielded good results and did not affect the desire to tackle more projects. The real barriers were to be found in the organisations themselves.

Insufficient ownership of the solution for Business Users (e.g. developers are required for even minor modifications) came out on top with 85.7% of respondents Agreeing or Strongly Agreeing. From this it seems that there is an appetite for more ownership of solutions where the client has greater ability to amend and modify the applications themselves – much in the same way they would with their existing Excel or paper-based processes. The only way to address this barrier is to adopt technologies that allow the Business User as much ability to amend and update as they currently experience with Excel and paper-based processes. We ourselves have experienced this on previous projects. For certain projects, this can be addressed by adopting platforms which allow the clients business users greater ownership and control, such as the Microsoft (MS) Power Platform.

It takes commitment on the part of the customer to invest in licenses for this Low-Code, No-Code platform, but once it is in place the freedom and agility it offers to the client is very powerful. As Microsoft is a corporate standard in most organisations for server environments, Office 365, Collaboration Tools such as SharePoint and MS Teams, the transition to the adoption of the MS Power Platform is usually straight forward from an adherence to corporate standards. Obviously there is additional licensing costs, but by adopting a MS platform, you will also address one of the other hurdles presented by clients when trying to automate business processes, that of meeting Corporate Standards, which was listed as a hurdle with 64.3% agreeing or strongly agreeing.

The next obstacles were:

  • Local IT do not have resources to deliver such processes (71%)
  • Time to deliver the projects (61.5%)
  • Cost of the projects (60%)


The general befits of Low-Code / No-Code platforms is that Business Users, when upskilled, can develop some of these applications themselves reducing the time to spin up the application. This also removes the pressure on IT to deliver applications and, over time, IT’s role can become one of support and governance – a win-win for the Business Users and local IT.

If you are interested in finding out more about adopting such a platform and taking a collaborative approach with a provider like Dataworks, we can:

  1. Work with you to build up your internal capabilities so Business Users can take ownership of applications.
  2. Help establish the correct governance procedures.
  3. Address the barriers to Digitally Evolving your business processes without draining your local IT resources or having to depend on a vendor to make changes to your applications.

Contact Us

At Dataworks, we have the experience and expertise to help you to implement Digital Transformation strategies and intelligent automation to become Smart or Digital sites, and ultimately drive efficiencies which deliver better outcomes for your customers and patients. If you would like to find out more Contact Us today or call us on 051 878 555.



DATAWORKS – Driving Digital Transformation in the worlds’ Leading Life Science Companies
for over 25 Years