Technological Edge in Life Science Sector
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Technological Edge in Life Science Sector

Silji Abraham, VP & CIO, MilliporeSigma
Silji Abraham, VP & CIO, MilliporeSigma

Silji Abraham, VP & CIO, MilliporeSigma

Expectations of an Executive

The biggest challenge is the failure of enterprise software companies to transform themselves at the rate consumerization occurs in software technology. The extent of innovation in user experience by the enterprise software companies is not fast enough to support the needs of the market. As a result, the enterprise software market has fragmented itself significantly, with hundreds of point solutions, all of which cover a small portion of business operations in terms of user experience and most does its job well. Proliferation of these, however, has made every enterprise equally fragmented in terms of data, and having a real-time view of the enterprise becomes almost impossible.

“The life science industry is about helping researchers solve the toughest problems facing humanity in the future”

Having a plug-in architecture with a global standard for enterprise data would be ideal for managing this complexity, but I don’t believe this is something we can expect any time in the near future.  

 Achieving the 360 Degree View

In a world of digitalization and speed, having a 360-degree view of not only the customers but every entity that interacts with the business is becoming extremely important. Having this in real time is, indeed, the nirvana for enterprise users.


Over the last decade, leading hypotheses by many experts suggested we build an “enterprise bus” to realize this. But the results are nothing that we can celebrate in terms of realization. Most organizations are still trying to build the correlations and 360-degree view with various business intelligence platforms; obviously, this ends up in unsustainable complexity and not at all “real time.”  

See Also: Life Sciences Review Magazine

The only way to realize a real-time digital enterprise is by building the enterprise software stack in a homogeneous platform, as well as building a device-agnostic and application-agnostic user experience from the ground up that merges transactions and analytics together in one high performing platform utilizing in-memory computing advancements. Not easy, but doable if we apply the right thought leadership and abstraction. At the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we are already on a journey to build the first real-time digital enterprise of the future, integrating Sigma-Aldrich and EMD Millipore together to create the world leader in the life science industry.  


The life science industry is about helping researchers solve the toughest problems facing humanity in the future. A leadership position in this industry is based on having a portfolio of hundreds of thousands high quality products in millions of different quantities and combinations for use in various research experiments. Another component of the competitive advantage is the ability to aggregate contents from various research sources and provide a single discovery platform for researchers across all content areas, allowing them to find the right products and protocols for their experiments in a quick, easy way. Finally, the last critical component of success is a well-orchestrated supply chain network, which allows for predictable, faster, high-quality deliveries that build trust. In other words, the life science business is about simplifying the complexity of our research customers’ lives every day.  

As a result of the acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,, a world leader in life science has been created. We have more than 300,000 products addressing every aspect of research for more than a million individual customers around the world, as well as the industry’s leading e-business platform, backed by an unparalleled supply chain and distribution network. As we bring together these two organizations, we plan to transform the business into a true, real-time digital enterprise for the first time in the market.  

Effective Utilization of New Technologies

We have seen unprecedented technology advancements in the last decade. I always believe that if we truly practice with curiosity and passion to transform the industry and the experience of our customers, we will have tremendous opportunities to apply each one of these advancements and make a difference. Of course, one always needs to understand the hype in the promises associated with any new innovation.


Our organization is very much into big data with more than 72 million customer visits to our e-commerce platform. We truly understand the voice of our customers through this treasure of data, applying extreme computational techniques and predictive analytics. We don't consider mobile as a unique initiative anymore; everything and anything we do must be device-agnostic in terms of accessibility and experience in our organization. And if it makes commercial and business sense, cloud infrastructure is also something that we practice in everything we do today.


IoT is indeed something we have as an additional focus now, as we start imagining the future possibilities for our external and internal customers. With sensors and a connected world, we are dreaming of a future of efficiency in eliminating human-based input and scanning.  These take time both from a commercialization and implementation perspective, but I believe the future is amazing for our life science customers. 

“The life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada.”


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