Spotlight on IT Innovations | ChannelDrive.in
With the help of its unique software expertise, Soham ERP has been driving a lot of innovation for India’s pharma industry over three decades. It is providing a full suite of modern, secure, cloud-based business management applications. To support the next phase of business growth, the company has turned to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to enhance operational efficiency, improve application performance and ensure scalability.
Suketu Shah, MD, Soham ERP speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s current strategy and its future plans.
How is the Indian pharma industry shifting gears when it comes to tech adoption?
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is in the midst of a great transformation. Today, all new plants are built as per WHO, USFDA, and PICS validation standards. The Indian pharmaceutical industry caters to more than half of the global demand for vaccines. Globally, India ranks third in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and fourteenth in terms of value.
Technology is playing a pivotal role in the pharma industry. Technologies such as the cloud, artificial intelligence, data analytics, IoT, RPA etc are helping pharma companies modernize supply chain, improve process efficiencies, accelerate innovation, lower costs and fast-track R&D, speeding their time-to-market as a result. More and more pharma companies will look to a cloud-first approach for superior price-performance benefits and to enhance stakeholder experience.
What are your views on Pharma 4.0 in the Indian context?
Quality, quantity, and on-time delivery at a competitive price are all required to compete in the global market. Since last year, we’ve seen a 180-degree shift in people’s mindsets, from a people-oriented process to process-oriented people, for growth. In my view, Pharma 4.0 is a natural extension of Industry 4.0 in the Pharma space. For example, increased use of blockchain can help accelerate production while reducing errors and mistakes, along with establishing a single source of truth to improve trust and quality. This can bring about radical improvements in distribution and supply chain management.
Data is another crucial ingredient for success. One of the most critical elements in decision-making is accurate, consolidated data. Companies have been focusing on combining data from multiple software applications onto a single dashboard and integrating it with shop floor machines for real-time decision making.
The pandemic compelled many pharma companies to strengthen business resilience. Embracing Pharma 4.0 will further help elevate India’s position in the global Pharma space.
What are some of the key focus areas for Soham today?
Soham is committed to providing pharmaceutical businesses with the best IT solutions. We work on reducing their costs and increasing their profitability as their strategic technology partner., helping them focus better, sharper on their core business. We strive to be the best pharmaceutical IT company in India.
How is Soham helping pharmaceutical companies achieve business excellence in this pandemic era?
We have been providing IT solutions to pharmaceutical companies with the highest levels of customer satisfaction for the past 33 years. We work with over 700 pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, knowledge transfer is an added benefit of partnering with us. As a result, we have 700 “experts” ranging in size from micro to medium-large. They are the backbone of our ERP and educate us on pharma systems.
How is Soham helping pharma customers accelerate their digital journeys in the new normal?
Our primary focus through this pandemic has been on delivering the best possible service to our customers, given most are in the essential services space – the medicine manufacturing and distribution business to be specific. Soham ERP Solutions, in turn, provides critical services for those clients. The objective was to stgand with them and deliver uninterrupted service.
We first empowered our employees with all the right tools and systems to ensure minimum disruption to customers’ business. In a very short span of time, we made sure all our employees’ connectivity needs are taken care of, so they can be on call 24×7 to support customers. Our leaders were involved very closely with each customer, assuring them 24×7 service during the lockdown to make customers stress-free as far as software support was concerned. Through our self-developed support software called “Task Manager” in place, customers and the entire support team remained in sync to identity and address any issues real-time.
Last but not the least, during the lockdown, we also ensured skill refresh and upgrades for our employees with several online training courses on various topics.
What is the significance of Soham’s strategic partnership with Oracle? How is it helping you to drive innovation?
Our Cloud-based ERP application suite runs on Oracle’s secure, second-generation cloud infrastructure. Using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), we have seen 30% improvement in application performance, leading to faster turnaround time for complex processes. We have also reduced costs by 40%.
We no longer have to worry about ensuring our application’s availability and access to our customers, with Oracle ensuring SLAs even for performance. We have been able to focus better on our core business and accelerate innovation to support our customer requirements better. We have also been able to better utilize our resources to create mobile apps and analytics employing business intelligence tools that better address customer needs.
What are some of the big advantages that your customers get with the help of your partnership with Oracle?
Our customers can gain access to the world’s best database at a very competitive price, complete with autonomous capabilities. Server maintenance assistance, and hands-on support by the Oracle Consulting team has helped us fine-tune our product and offer new features consistently to customers.
What are your future plans with Oracle?
We are in the process of upgrading our ERP from Forms and Reports to a cloud-based service using Oracle Apex with OCI. This solution will open up a huge market opportunity for us in India and abroad. We are looking to accelerate our global expansion and further grow our business beyond India in the next 12 months.
Can you share with us Soham’s digital innovation roadmap and growth plans for the next 12 months?
Currently, we are focused on building an innovative document management system (DMS) as an Oracle Apex expansion of PharmaCloud. Once ready, we’ll offer this to hundreds of our existing customers, several of whom have already expressed interest to use this. Subsequently, we have plans to develop a number of other products specialized for the pharmaceutical industry over the next 12 months.