Can’t See the Forest for the Trees in Life Sciences?

Lori McKellar

Lori McKellar

Director, Market Development, Life Sciences

People usually use this phrase when trying to describe the tendency to become too involved in the details of a problem versus looking at the situation as a whole. Could thissunrise in a forest same concept apply to an industry such as life sciences?

During our webcast, “Improve Compliance by Gaining a Complete View of Regulatory Activity” held earlier this week with IDC, we polled the audience.

  • The first polling question asked, “Which of the following is a primary concern at your organization today?” 37.5% of the respondents answered, “Eliminating data silos and creating a unified information architecture.”
  • The second polling question asked, “What would you consider to be your highest RIM priority in the next 2 years?” 57.9% of the respondents answered, “Centralizing/integrating systems to unify RIM functions (single authoritative source.)”

In an industry where most life science organizations have historically taken a siloed approach to product development—that is, they create, manage, and store information by function (clinical, regulatory, manufacturing etc.); could these survey results indicate a potential opportunity for transformative change?

Well, let’s start with how information flows across the lifecycle of a drug in a pharmaceutical company today. As a new compound is discovered and goes through non-clinical and clinical testing, information must be shared internally with Regulatory Affairs (and ultimately with health authorities) in order to gain approval. Information from across the drug development process must be shared and overviews, study reports and summaries authored, reviewed and approved. Once an application is submitted to the regulators, there are on-going interactions with them through approval, and then continuing on for the life of the drug. Upon approval, specifications and formulas which originated in R&D, now have to transfer to production manufacturing. And the process continues on through sales and marketing, pharmacovigilence etc.

So, what would the process look like if it was redefined? How transformative could it be? What if information residing in each functional area could flow seamlessly throughout a drug’s lifecycle? For starters, workers wouldn’t have to export and import information from Diagrammsystem to system along the drug development lifecycle. By leveraging a consistent data model, information could be linked across solutions. This could reduce the risk and inefficiencies of manually exporting and importing information, stem the proliferation of multiple copies and eliminate the difficulty associated with determining final versions of documents. In addition, this would provide an authoritative source for drug development information and provide detailed audit trails across the process. Most importantly, it could help streamline the process helping to get needed drugs to market faster. This makes sense, doesn’t it? Organize information according to the business process and lifecycle of products rather than by business function.

What do you think? Do you think your organization is beginning to see the forest that includes the trees and embark on this type of transformation?

The Mobile Challenge for HHS – “Hey, is that a scanner in your hand?”

Rob Silverberg

Rob Silverberg

Industry Director, Public Sector, Information Intelligence Group - EMC

There have been many articles written about the move to mobile devices by the public.  The statistics show that the majority of people now have smart phones and a lower Mobile_Public Sectorpercentage are accessing the internet using laptops and PCs. This is especially true of lower income families that often have a smart phone but no home computer. This is why it is especially important for government health and human services agencies (HHS) who provide services to this group, to enable access to services and constituent interactions via mobile devices.

In order to determine eligibility for benefits or aid, the HHS agency needs to review documentation provided by the applicant. The documentation is primarily related to determining income level and establishing the profile of the applicant. In the past, applicants would need to bring this paperwork to the local HHS office where it was copied or scanned. In the event that a key piece of documentation was missing, the applicant would need to return another time with the required documentation.

Several leading HHS agencies that I work with are working to revolutionize this process.  The vision they have is for the applicant to be able to apply for benefits or aid using only their smart phone or tablet. Developing a mobile app (or mobile friendly web site) that allows the applicant to enter data is relatively easy, but what about all that documentation? Does the applicant still need to bring all that to the local office?

For these leading HHS agencies, the answer is now no. The smart phone or tablet has a camera that can be used as a scanner with the right additional technology components.  Think of the revolution in how you currently deposit a check through your mobile phone.  You snap a picture of the check and then something converts that picture into a quality scanned image. The same is true for the documentation needed to establish eligibility for aid or benefits. All of these documents can now be delivered by using the scanner in their hand.

Is your agency working to provide mobile access to the public?

How do you handle documentation?

70% of IT Resources Spent on…Being Boring?

Tom Broering

Tom Broering

Head of Americas Alliances and Channel Sales, Information Intelligence Group at EMC

“We want this to be boring!”

George Florentine, Flatirons Solutions

George Florentine, VP of Engineering at Colorado-based Flatirons Solutions said as we discussed how he guides organizations to shut off legacy hardware and applications, archiving the data into EMC InfoArchive through the use of Flatirons’ Application Retirement EMC Certified Solution.

Usually, he says, it’s an easy sell. The technology of the XML-based repository works beautifully and the savings are substantial.

But clearly, you’re also upending old, established ways of doing things, which can be tricky.

“People don’t like change. We know that up to 70 percent of IT resources is often spent just on maintaining old systems. Why? Because the applications still work, the data is still needed occasionally, and it’s easier to just keep writing that monthly check than to think about blowing things up.”

But sooner or later, things won’t work. “Each day of doing nothing builds a risk debt,” says George. Risk grows as systems age, and one day, data may become inaccessible, which in regulated environments like financial services and healthcare, could trigger millions of dollars’ worth of fines.

Banks and healthcare companies get it,” says George. “They understand risk and want to avoid it. That’s why they’re among our best customers.”

Still, how do you ease the transition? That’s where being boring comes in.

“We had one client,” George recalls, “a giant company running decades-old systems. I mean old, green computer screens. And they were accustomed to working that way. So, instead of forcing them to adapt to whiz-bang touchscreen bleeding edge stuff, we built a web-based interface that mimicked the look and feel of those ancient screens, so users felt comfortable right away. No drama. Boring. But it worked!”

Has your organization reached critical mass with too much IT capital tied up in maintaining old “boring” systems?

The Surprising Dynamics of Time & Productivity in IT

Laurie and Elaine

Laurie and Elaine

Laurie and Elaine are a power team at EMC's IIG Services division, ensuring customers have access to expertise and training across IIG technologies. Share with them your feedback on courseware, custom end user training ideas, or your own tips & tricks for learning new technologies. Expertise: IIG education, training, on-line learning, Six Sigma, IIG technology expertise

Before it was known that light travels faster than sound, we assumed they took an equalSpeed of Light amount of time to arrive anywhere. Similarly, we might think the time to productivity for our IT people is fixed. In fact, how you develop and train your team will put them at very different speeds of adding value to your organization.

In talking to several IIG Education alumni this week, we uncovered a few laws of what we’ll call “Education Physics,” all worth sharing. Follow these, and you’ll find extra time on your hands.

Law 1 – Learning Curves Can Be Accelerated

First, just as light waves slow down through certain materials like water, your newest hires or personnel transfers may be operating less efficiently when first placed in new environments. Targeting people freshly arriving to new roles and placing them in 2-day training can eliminate that sluggish start. As one student told us:

“My greatest time savings came from training.  It sped up my learning curve for my new role. ”

Evaluate the common tasks and deliverables you’ll expect from your new hire. Before or during their transition, ensure they have formal training. Access to a specialist can rapidly whisk away technical questions and zip them up the new technology learning curve.

Law 2 – Knowledge Has a Ripple Effect

Second, the initial proficiency learned is only the beginning of speeding up IT development and application implementation time, as we heard from our students. While it will take a formal class up front to solidify technical fundamentals, likely a few days long, the benefits will ripple through the organization every work day.

As an xCP student shared:

Training 1“It wasn’t until I led a new project developing templates for five business units that I realized how my technical skill could make-or-break the organization’s success. If I couldn’t get others excited and knowledgeable about how to design and edit these templates, our project would never get off the ground. I had used the skills for myself, but seeing them impact the rest of my team was an added benefit I hadn’t thought about initially when I signed up for a class.”

As you think about investing a week or several days for a single team member, think about how those new ideas might reverberate across your teams. Will it spark new motivation? Will it enable you to take on projects you constantly kept on the back burner?

 How you develop and train your team will put them at very different speeds of adding value to your organization

Law 3 – Unseen Forces Can Be Mitigated

Third, a person’s confidence might be tricky to measure, but it’s obvious when it’s lacking. Sometimes the hidden reason you don’t take on a new project, or your team’s hard work on a corporate initiative keeps stalling, can be tied back to a lack of confidence.

It might be as simple as learning a new feature that moves them past staying frozen in fear, to confidently performing their tasks. Cites one student:

“The use of Effective Date is one feature I have found to be a critical security blanket in dealing with the business unit.”

Note the word choice of “security blanket.” This says it all. Whether a new hire or a veteran, a team member’s comfort level with a technology will affect how quickly they attack and solve a problem.

Law 4 – Time Begets Time

This all leads to the universal question of what your teams will do with their new-found time! We asked students, and expected to hear comments like “play Minecraft” or “learn the guitar.” But in fact, as reflective of our highly intelligent and talented user base, a common answer was:

“The more I learn, the more I want to learn and use.”

While the speed of light will slow in water, it can still travel a staggering 100 million meters per second through the most dense of materials – a diamond. Once your teams have confidence in their tools and methodologies, they too will speed through any challenge in any organization. Just follow the laws of “IIG Education Physics,” and invest time in training to gain back time — again and again. Share the new IIG Course Catalog with your teams to get started.

EMC Named a Leader in Enterprise Content Management by Gartner Inc.

Dane Becker

Dane Becker

Product Marketing Manager for EMC Document Sciences xPression, specializing in Customer Communications Management

According to Gartner, the worldwide market for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software grew by 8.6% last year, indicating that ECM technologies continue to attract more users and deliver value to enterprises worldwide.

At the foundation of ECM is the ability to solve vital business problems by marrying document and content management with workflow, imaging, and compliance. EMC has focused on the Value Office segment of the market and strives to provide measurable value for businesses as they transform the way they work.

These benefits include helping enterprises take control of their content and thereby boost productivity, encourage collaboration, meet compliance initiatives, enable better content-centric processes, and make information easier to share.

ECM solutions and services can be used to help achieve a wide range of productivity goals, including:

  • Improved effectiveness
  • Reduced operational cost
  • Optimized business processes
  • Regulatory compliance, better information governance and e-discovery
  • Attraction and retention of customers

Today, we are pleased to announce that EMC has been recognized as a “Leader” in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management.”

The report focuses on the ECM software market worldwide and provides a detailed evaluation of 22 enterprise ECM solutions, including EMC Documentum. In addition to rating product capabilities, Gartner analysts also evaluated vendors based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute.

gartner MQ image finalAccording to the report, Leaders have the highest combined scores for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. They are doing well and are prepared for the future with a clearly articulated vision. In the context of ECM, they have strong channel partners, presence in multiple regions, consistent financial performance, broad platform support and good customer support. They are very strong in one or more technologies or vertical markets.

We feel that this type of recognition further reinforces our position to build the most innovative and scalable ECM platform on the market for creating, managing and deploying content-centric business solutions that enable organizations to extend and enrich their existing Value Office capabilities with easy access, sharing, and repurposing of critical content at the center of their business processes, in full compliance with regulations and policies.

To learn more, download the Gartner report and read more on the EMC Pulse blog.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from EMC.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.