Mentions of cloud computing within the filings of companies in the pharmaceutical industry rose 113% between the final quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to cloud computing between April 2021 and March 2022 was 109% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When pharmaceutical companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cloud computing is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether cloud computing is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of pharmaceutical companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned cloud computing at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 31% compared to 16% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cloud computing.

Of the 40 biggest employers in the pharmaceutical industry, CSL referred to cloud computing the most between April 2021 and March 2022. GlobalData identified 10 cloud-related sentences in the Australia-based company's filings - 0.2% of all sentences. IQVIA mentioned cloud computing the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.18% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high cloud mentions included ICON, China Traditional and Sanofi.

Across all pharmaceutical companies the filing published in the first quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on cloud computing came from Abcam . Of the document's 2,751 sentences, 27 (1%) referred to cloud computing.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cloud computing and how important the issue is considered within the pharmaceutical industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cloud computing more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into cloud computing have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises cloud computing mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the first quarter of 2022 was 'software as a service', which made up 94% of all cloud subtheme mentions by pharmaceutical companies.