Successful IT transformation recognized: Boehringer Ingelheim wins Digital Leader Award 2020

  • Award values strategic contribution of the IT organization to the innovative strength of the pharmaceutical company
  • Transformation drives company-wide digital innovation
  • Early investments in digital technologies have been crucial to maintain business operations under COVID-19 
Boehringer Ingelheim has been awarded the Digital Leaders Award 2020 by the IT magazines Computerwoche and CIO magazine. The German jury report recognized the successful transformation of the company’s IT organization from a traditional support function to a strategic function ‘whose capabilities today contribute significantly to Boehringer Ingelheim’s innovation power’. 

“Digitization is a strategic success factor in medical innovation for discovering, developing and marketing new healthcare solutions. Our transformed IT organization promotes technology, increases investments and trains our employees in new working methods,” says Michael Schmelmer, Member of the Board of Management of Boehringer Ingelheim with responsibility for Finance & Corporate Functions. “The new structure enables us to create innovative digital products – from the development of new pharmaceuticals and devices to the treatment of diseases. And we can adapt to changes quickly.”

For Boehringer Ingelheim, early investments in agile infrastructure and digital capabilities were crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain business operations uninterruptedly. Before the pandemic started, the company had already developed pivotal digital tools, workflows and channels to communicate with healthcare professionals, veterinarians and pet owners. Since March, up to 40,000 employees simultaneously were able to work and collaborate from home, while securing the global supply of medicines and continuing to advance research of treatment options. 

“The technology and digital solutions now available are increasingly driving core processes, stretching from research and development to our production and supply in Human Pharma, Animal Health, Biopharmaceutical products and our Innovation Unit,” says Markus Schümmelfeder, Head of IT at Boehringer Ingelheim. “This makes our processes and work across business functions faster and more efficient, ultimately resulting in better health outcomes for patients.”

Within the extended IT scope, the digital laboratory “BI X” that was founded in 2017, plays an important role. Within its first three years, BI X already developed eleven digital products that the IT organization then advanced together with the business to either make them commercially available, or support core processes in research and development and production. For example, the smart assistant ADAM (Advanced Design Assistant for Molecules) combines the creativity of scientists with artificial intelligence technology to speed up the discovery of innovative drug molecules. The same principle is successfully applied to a wealth of other activities across the company, where digital expertise pairs with healthcare-specific know how.

Boehringer Ingelheim
Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.

As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of 19 billion euros. Our significant investment of almost 3.5 billion euros in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life. 

We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.

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