Change is afoot in the Life Sciences industry and it’s bringing a new perspective to how and why cloud solutions matter. Organizations are moving beyond regulatory compliance and its role in forcing process and usability changes to ensure compliance. Now, companies are proactively streamlining stakeholder-wide business processes to gain efficiency, improve productivity and gain competitive advantage.

Yes, compliance still matters. It always has been and always will be a primary objective of any Life Sciences company. However, as these organizations take a more strategic approach to how they manage information, often a strategic imperative is to break down information silos and enable internal and external resources to work together seamlessly, smoothly and collaboratively, on a specific business process.

As I’ve shared in prior blogs, Life Sciences customers are striving for strategic benefits. Processes and workflows reaching across the extended enterprise can create wholesale productivity gains, as the company connects outsourced clinical researchers, medical writers and contracted manufacturers with internal employees and vice versa. Globe-4In order to satisfy the need for both easy cross-team access and adherence to security requirements, cloud approaches are being explored to efficiently stretch specific workflows across the entire extended enterprise to realize strategic advantage. In some cases, the fastest path to collaboration can be facilitated by the cloud.

However, to reap these benefits, companies must be realistic about their technology maturity level as well as their organizational tolerance for risk. They need a strategy for how and when to leverage cloud technologies. Knowing that “cloud” is not a one size fits all proposition, EMC Enterprise Content Division (ECD) offers multiple deployment options to fit your company’s “cloud personality type.” Aligned to business goals and core business processes, cloud solutions in Life Sciences can empower resources both inside and outside the organization and help overcome organizational barriers holding back efficiency.

Application Meritocracy and Organizational Fit

The first consideration for leveraging cloud is actually to avoid thinking about cloud. First, evaluate regulated content management solutions on the merits of the solution itself. The  highly regulated, global Life Sciences industry offers ample opportunity for improving through efficiency and productivity – but it starts with choosing the right solution.

A common wrong turn I see customers make is to get distracted by the type of deployment model. They start by “choosing cloud.” Then they spin up a “cloud-ready” application quickly. Soon enough, however, they find that the key industry functionality or integrations to improve their most critical processes was left behind. Or they didn’t adequately plan for or test the needed scale for when the solution is fully rolled out.

At EMC Enterprise Content Division (ECD), our cloud approach is to start with  out-of-the-box regulated content management solutions that deliver value and meet specific needs across multiple Life Sciences domains. Clinical, Regulatory, and Quality teams can access feature-rich, Life Sciences-specific content management solutions. These solutions can also tap into a common platform designed and proven for scale allowing for seamless growth and expansion as future needs dictate. Industry-standards and best practices (i.e. templates, taxonomies, reference models), gleaned from almost 25 years of real-life usage in the Life Sciences industry, also enrich the suite of solutions.

The starting point to ensure that organizations maximize the benefits of a solution (or suite of solutions) is an understanding of the internal organizational resources and needs and then judging each solution by its merits.

Easy Access Across the Extended Enterprise

Next, evaluate the nature of your extended teams and what workflows they can positively impact. Do you contract with research organizations to conduct clinical trials? Do you rely on contract manufacturers to scale production and meet manufacturing milestones?

Public cloud deployments, like the EMC Documentum for Life Sciences Solution Suite, can help dismantle one of the most common obstacles impacting such extended teams – shared application access. EMC Documentum Electronic Trial Master File (Documentum eTMF) for example, can speed clinical trial set-up and ensure efficient clinical documentation management, while EMC Documentum Quality and Manufacturing (Documentum Q&M) can automate processes affecting compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs).

By choosing EMC Documentum for Life Sciences public cloud solutions, companies can leverage the ubiquitous public internet for user access. Mobile-CloudThis ensures easy anywhere, anytime access to make external contractor teams as productive as internal teams. Most importantly, your key processes can be worked on productively by your combined resources.

The Secret Ingredient — Choice

Once you have considered application functionality and access needs, the single most essential factor will be determining the right deployment option. You may want a managed, private cloud deployment for your Research & Development application in Europe for privacy reasons. But you may want a public cloud deployment for your global eTMF solution. Both your current and future needs should also be taken into consideration.

A recent AIIM survey reported on the adoption of cloud content management solutions and demonstrated that there are many choices and preferences when it comes to cloud deployment models. In the Life Sciences industry specifically, Gens & Associates regularly surveys the community about cloud adoption trends. Again, the point is that organizations must know themselves and understand their needs in order to determine the best “cloud fit” for their organization. Today anyway, it’s not a one size fits all model.

When to Call the Experts

Like any technology decision, many factors, technical and business, should be considered. Your own customers’ experience will also impact your decisions. In some cases, leveraging a cloud-based, hosted clinical trial, regulatory or other Life Sciences content management solution can help your competitive advantage. Just as you turn to contract manufacturers or contracted clinical researchers, there are situations where this makes the most sense.

As a leader in enterprise content management and a partner to Life Sciences companies for decades, EMC can provide a complete, hosted public cloud solution. However, a full range of cloud and on-premise options are available to meet your specific needs. Life Sciences consulting experts can also help develop data migration strategies, integration plans with other critical systems and  help establish compliance best practices, to cite just a few examples.

Tapping into specialized help – whether Life Sciences cloud innovations or content management expertise – can help unlock content and leverage talent across your extended enterprise. Ultimately, empowered and efficient teams will drive the competitive advantage every Life Sciences company is striving for at a strategic level .

Cloud Solutions Matter

Streamlining stakeholder-wide business processes to gain efficiency, improve productivity and gain competitive advantage is just one aspect of how life sciences organizations are using content management solutions in a strategic way. By breaking down both internal and external information silos, companies can ensure a more seamless flow of information across the organization.

The EMC Documentum for Life Sciences solution suite provides cloud-based, feature-rich solutions based on a proven, scalable and trusted platform with all the flexibility you need to drive unified business processes and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders while ensuring a single source of regulated content.

To realize maximum benefit:

  1. Evaluate solutions based on their merits and choose the right solution
  2. Understand your company’s access needs, security requirements & risk tolerance
  3. Determine “cloud fit” based on your companies’ resources and needs
  4. Contact the EMC ECD experts for advice and help in formulating a plan
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