Gurdip Sing, Kallik

Managing Labeling Needs to Become as Easy as Using a Banking App

Gurdip Sing, Kallik

A lot of promises are made by organizations about making systems more intuitive, convenient and user-centric, but in reality most improvements tend to be designed to meet regulatory or internal system needs rather than better serve the people who use them. The user experience needs to be modernized, especially in heavily regulated industries where inaccurate or non-compliant labeling is laden with risk.

If banking can modernize its heavily regulated processes, no facet of business operations in any enterprise, in any market, should be off limits for transformation.

In 2020, humans are much more adept at knowing what they need to accomplish what they need, and their patience is wearing ever thinner. As instinctive smartphone, tablet and fast broadband/4G consumers, people are used to being able to access the information and resources they need in their personal lives, and complete tasks on demand to achieve instant outcomes. As soon as a new need or desire surfaces, they’re able to satisfy it.

Enterprise business applications have been slow to catch up with the modern consumer experience, but if the complexities of banking, with all of its historical form-filling and prolonged workflows can be distilled into simple and intuitive mobile delivery, then why not other seemingly-complicated enterprises such as enterprise labeling also follow the same innovation, learning from the banking industry? After all, the more that content is stored and managed digitally, the greater the scope for smart process transformation.

At its annual Directions conference a year ago, IDC suggested that by 2020 more than half of all organizations would be “digitally determined”— with an integrated digital strategy, a single roadmap, and an integrated enterprise-wide technology architecture—in contrast with their “digitally distraught” peers.1 The comments accompanied IDC’s prediction that annual enterprise spending on digital transformation will approach $2 trillion by 2022, representing three times the growth rate of general IT spending over the five years leading up to that point.

If banking can support intuitive task fulfilment, any market can. Having had extensive experience of delivering transformation and change in both financial services and life sciences across my career, I have identified many parallels in the challenges as well as the opportunities facing both industries.

Both markets are heavily regulated and traditionally conservative in their approach to modernization, for instance. Yet, at the same time, both are being disrupted and face considerable competitive challenges—as well as pressure to deliver improved productivity, speed of turnaround and cost efficiency. Change is imperative, therefore.

Banking has come a long way, in recognition of that fact. The once long-winded processes involved in setting up new customer accounts, or setting up regular payments, can now be managed simply, speedily and securely from a handheld device.

The life sciences industry, and indeed other strictly regulated markets, could benefit significantly from equivalent innovation. One area that is ripe for transformation, for a range of operational and compliance reasons, is global labeling management, with all of its labor intensive complexities. I would suggest that these too could benefit from more coordinated, streamlined and automated processes— those that can be tracked and managed via a handheld device—even on the daily commute, in some instances.

From the label creation process, to labeling approvals and even distribution—including that of electronic/online information for patients—there is enormous scope to do things in new and better ways. If the life sciences industry is serious about delivering a more user-centric experience (not just in look and feel, but in teams’ ability to execute their duties more intuitively and easily), this could be a real game-changer for firms. As human beings we are starting to, and in many cases already have, erase the solid line between a clear start and end time for work. The always available cloud world, the constantly in our pocket mobile device has made it much easier to be able to execute transactions away from a 9–5 work-from-desk day, at any time and any place. User experience has been the true disruption in this space—more so than even the always available world. Just think how easy is it for us to do things on the go and how easy are the things that get done on the go to do!

Innovators Lead from the Front

Today, however, true user-centricity remains the exception rather than the rule in many aspects of business—with regulations and internal system requirements more likely to dictate any improvements to the way things are done. This in turn compromises the potential for impactful transformation.

Predicting technology trends for 2020 and beyond, horizontally across all markets, Gartner recently noted that technology users increasingly expect and demand more control over the IT functionality and apps they use to get their jobs done, as the gulf continues to gape between people’s corporate experience of IT versus the intuitive apps they use in their personal lives. Where this once led to employees simply preferring to use their own devices at work Gartner predicts that, by 2023, “40% of professional workers will orchestrate their business application experiences and capabilities like they do their music streaming services”.2

Although this might not be quite so easy in a specialist area such as labeling management, the observed trend does suggest that companies need to make a bigger effort to transform the way people are able to perform tasks. Otherwise, there is a danger that employees will become frustrated and/or try to find their own workarounds, which could disrupt hard-won rigor around information management and process consistency. They might even leave the company altogether, compounding already significant skills shortages.

The urgency to change user experiences for the better through digital process innovation is a message that life sciences companies would do well to heed—especially as it is within their power, and in their interests, to transform the way that busy teams process critical but routine tasks.

Why Not Labeling?

With the right coordination and controls behind the scenes, app-driven labeling management could empower label creators, approvers and distributors—to drive up the safety, quality, consistency and speed of all forms of market-facing information, in a way that matches how people instinctively work.

From intelligently determining which mandatory elements need to appear on a label and how the impact of any changes of circumstance might cascade across global operations to being able to visualize finished output and assess exceptions and process approvals on the go, firms ought to make user-oriented improvements a priority in 2020. That’s if they really want to push boundaries, drive progress and accelerate time to market.

Being willing to view—and do—things differently is a good starting point.


  1. Miller, M. (March 2019). IDC: “Multiplied Innovation” Will Feed Digital Transformation Over the Next Five Years.
  2. Panetta, K. (October 2019). Gartner Top Strategic Predictions for 2020 and Beyond,