Smoley said that augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotics were some of the emerging technologies which would have the biggest impact on the pharma sector. These also tied into the biotech startup mentality of large corporates looking more like software engineering companies.
"Virtual reality is something that is helping us in a number of areas," Smoley said. "We're excited about that. I think the whole machine learning robots, and to some extent chatbots, and artificial intelligence is an area that I would more broadly - maybe as a computer scientist - lump into software engineering.
"As part of insourcing work and shifting to more contemporary IT, the emphasis on software engineering is becoming increasingly important for companies like ours - I think we're going to be doing more and more ourselves."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.