A Flexible, Single Throat to Choke

Dave Hsu

Dave Hsu

Marketing Manager for EMC’s Life Sciences Content Solutions with responsibility for building awareness, advocacy and adoption of EMC’s market leading clinical and quality offerings.

Last month I blogged about finding your Journey to the Cloud showcasing man covered in sticky notes FAN1005910
ORC International’s Part 1 report about what’s driving public Cloud in Life Sciences content management. This month, I had a Q&A session with Kenny Blumenfeld, Research Director at ORC, to give us some insights on Part 2 of this report:

Dave: Part 1 of your analysis showcased the industry forces driving Cloud adoption, what does Part 2 delve into?

Kenny: This report dives a level deeper into the business needs of both large and mid-size life sciences companies for regulated content management. From there we analyzed the landscape of current day solution options.

Dave: What did you uncover in terms of needs?

Kenny: We found a couple of themes: First, whether you’re a big or small organization, compliance is king for content management. Secondly, smaller organizations typically have fewer IT resources, they require more flexibility in Cloud deployment options, and are more likely to utilize outsourced IT alternatives to lower their overall costs.  

Dave: What solution options do organizations have?

Kenny: We analyzed two categories of content management solutions: multi-vendor and single vendor. Multi-vendor options are applications built on top of enterprise content platforms by third parties.  These are solutions such as CSC FirstDoc, built on top of EMC Documentum, or NextDocs on Microsoft Sharepoint. Single vendor options combine the content management platform with life sciences process expertise, so in essence the content engine together with the application from one vendor. Examples of these would be EMC Documentum for Life Sciences Solution Suite or Veeva Vault.

Dave: Are there advantages of one option versus another?

Kenny: Of course, it always comes down to business needs, and how well a given solution meets those needs. Our research indicated that the multi-vendor approach sometimes creates additional complexity in implementation and support, and this tends to be especially acute when problems arise and it is unclear where fault lies in the overall system. The “hot potato” effect is probably all too familiar to a lot of your readers. It is not a new issue, and it certainly is not unique to content management in the life sciences.

In this research, the single-vendor solutions mitigated that issue, while also offering the benefits of being tightly integrated with the underlying platform. Companies we talked to said there was significant value in having a ‘single throat to choke’.

Dave: Ouch…sounds painful! So what are the key takeaways from your analysis, and how can folks get a copy of the reports?

Kenny: Between the two-part analyses I would summarize with three key points:

  1. Life sciences organizations are slower to adopt cloud, especially when it comes to regulated content in the public cloud.
  2. Compliance and security is king, but the mid-market has a greater need for deployment flexibility, more IT outsourcing and lower cost
  3. A single vendor approach delivers a clear owner for support, as well as timely updates in coordination with platform enhancements.

You can read the details from both reports from our website:

So there you have it – flexibility in Cloud, lower costs and single vendor solutions are strong characteristics of content management solutions in Life Sciences. What are your thoughts on ORC’s research? Does your organization view Cloud similarly?

When You’re Finished Changing You’re Finished!

Lori McKellar

Lori McKellar

Director, Market Development, Life Sciences

Benjamin Franklin seems like a man wise before his time or maybe it’s true that the more things change; there are some truths that will never change. Regardless, Ben Franklin’s quote succinctly describes the change that the life sciences industry is experiencing.

Life Sciences organizations are grappling with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, pricing pressures and skyrocketing costs. To drive revenue, organizations are exploring ways to identify new indications for existing drugs while continuing to expand into emerging markets. Business models also continue to change with business processes now taking place in collaboration with multiple external partners from academic research institutions to clinical research organizations to contract manufacturers and beyond.

As industry pressures and business models change, so must the technology that supports the business. Organizations of all sizes aim to streamline how information is shared both internally and externally and both colleagues and partners need a simple and easy way to access information both in the office and on the go. IT leaders must respond to these demands while trying to consolidate systems, determine when to use third party hosted applications (or even outsource altogether) and while trying to divert budgets away from maintenance to investments in technology innovations that will better support business needs. And of course, all of this happens in a highly competitive and regulated environment where securing and preserving intellectual property and being in compliance is paramount.

So where does that leave you? Perhaps feeling like you need a reminder of how to constantly anticipate, monitor, respond and adapt to change and some ideas that might provide guidance? If so, we can help.

On December 4th, we’ll be hosting a webcast where you can gain an understanding of the three pillars of the EMC Documentum for Life Sciences solution suite strategy. Our goal is to share with you our thoughts on how to unify content-centric business processes, derive greater value from some of the investments you may have already made, and provide you with ideas on how to free up maintenance dollars by consolidating systems and employing cloud solutions in a flexible and secure way.

Attend this webcast and hear Jennifer Wemstrom, EMC’s Senior Director of Life Sciences Product Management, share her thoughts on how we can redefine life sciences together!

We will be holding this event at two different times to accommodate multiple time zones. Register here if you prefer the 10:00 am EST event. Register here if you prefer the 12:00 pm EST event.

What are the changes you’re grappling with?

Betcha Didn’t Know We (At EMC Documentum) Did That!

Lori McKellar

Lori McKellar

Director, Market Development, Life Sciences

We’ve all experienced it. You’ve done your preliminary research for a vacation, car or other consumer good. After reviewing the websites of the top brands, checking out available ratings and reviews, and checking in with friends and family who may have made a recent similar purchase, you’ve gained some clarity but you are still confused. On the surface, all the options sound pretty similar. This familiar consumer experience also holds true when searching for solutions in life sciences.

If you look at the competitive landscape for life sciences solutions, you see multiple, viable vendors. Yet, if you peruse their websites, you’ll see a pattern of familiar and similar messages focused on performance, scalability, access, ease-of-use, efficiency, configurability, compliance, control, collaboration and cloud. With so many vendors extolling similar benefits to customers, how do you ask the right questions and make the right decision?

With so many vendors extolling similar benefits to customers, how do you ask the right questions and make the right decision?

It’s never easy. Buying cycles for significant, mission critical applications can be a complex process. The key is to cut through the clutter. To make a good decision, you need to search deeper and increase your knowledge and understanding. In our recent Life Sciences Customer Advisory Board meeting, our conversations not only focused on the “what” but more importantly, on the “how.” Understanding “how” vendors are delivering their stated value is key to simplifying decision-making.

Here are some examples of the “how” approach to get you thinking. Instead of taking the claim of global scale and performance for granted, ask how. Instead of focusing on a single business process, look beyond it to determine how critical information flows in and out of that process….is there an opportunity to share or link content instead of having to import and export the same information across systems? If cloud is important to you, understand how you would deploy it. What type of cloud solution do you need – private, hybrid, or multi-tenant― or maybe some combination of all three? And, it would probably be good to know how the vendor will get you from your current solution to the new solution and how to address all the (soon to be legacy) data that needs to be retained and accessible.

At EMC, we want to answer your “how” questions. And, we suspect that there’s a lot we’ve been up to lately that you may not be aware of. Therefore, we are launching a video series called, “Betcha Didn’t Know We Did That.” These are short, snappy and fun video snippets that highlight some of the ways we’re redefining life sciences with the EMC Documentum for Life Sciences solution suite.

We hope these videos will catch your attention, make you smile but more importantly, highlight challenges that we’ve all grappled with. We hope these videos entice you to ask us questions, have deeper conversations with us and understand the how. Our first video is focused on the regulatory submission process. If you’re looking to bring control to this mission-critical process, take a peek below. Keep checking back for new videos and the start of new conversations.Together, we can redefine life sciences!

What would you like to redefine? Share your comments below.

Don’t stop believing…in YOUR Journey to the Cloud

Dave Hsu

Dave Hsu

Marketing Manager for EMC’s Life Sciences Content Solutions with responsibility for building awareness, advocacy and adoption of EMC’s market leading clinical and quality offerings.

The musical band Journey…some people love them, some people REALLY LOVE them. I’ll admit that “Don’t Stop Believing” is a great song to play at sporting events when it’s time to rile up the crowd, but I’m not a super fan. Some say that their biggest hit song transformed Rock’n Roll in the early 1980’s, and you can’t argue with their sustained success. To this day, “Don’t Stop Believing” is still one of the top 25 most downloaded songs off of iTunes!

Similar to Journey, transformation and sustainability are two key tenants of Cloud computing. Nowadays it seems like there is a perception that if you’re not ‘in the Cloud,’ you’re a step behind everyone else.  One of the things I’ve been interested in, especially for the Life Sciences industry, is to understand if and how companies really are adopting Cloud services. Is everyone jumping feet first into SaaS for content management? If so, which documents/processes are moving? Which ones are staying on-premises? What key factors are driving decisions to move to the Cloud or not?

A recent report published by market research firm, ORC International called “The Journey to the Cloud for Life Sciences Content Management” delves into these specific areas. It’s a two-part series of findings with Part 1 analyzing the overall industry forces driving public Cloud adoption. Per ORC International:


“It was clear from Part 1 of our research that the need for stronger regulated content management has never been more important to ensure compliance and fast time to market for life sciences companies. We found that industry forces are both driving and hindering adoption of public Cloud. Additionally the risk-averse nature of the life sciences industry is further hindering adoption of public Cloud, except for areas where there is less regulation such as sales, marketing and HR. The journey to the Cloud for regulated content management is extremely complex and challenging for the industry.”

- ORC International


You can download the report here.

My takeaway from the report is this: the journey to the Cloud is YOUR journey. Every organization is different and a one-size-fits all approach to Cloud does not provide you flexibility or control.  When researching Cloud solutions, make sure your vendor can provide you with the delivery options, configurability, and flexibility that meets the needs of your business.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this paper from ORC that looks into the business needs of both large and mid-size life sciences companies, and provides a landscape of solution options available for regulated content management.

In the meantime, don’t stop believing in your Journey to the Cloud. For inspiration you can even go see Journey live next year in the Virgin Islands! If you have any feedback or key insights from the ORC report please share them below. What’s driving or hindering your Journey to the Cloud?

When Taking a System Offline Is Acutely Unacceptable

Tom Broering

Tom Broering

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

Keeping enterprise-scale repositories online with minimal downtime to handle backups, data repair and recovery saves more than dollars, as Mike Fernandes, VP, Products, enChoice, can attest. Read his blog below to understand the truly critical impact of backup and recovery in today’s connected world, particularly in the highly regulated industries that EMC and enChoice serve.

When Taking a System Offline Is Acutely Unacceptable

Mike FernandesMike Fernandes, VP, Products, enChoice
Mike Fernandes has over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry encompassing the management of IT departments, online banking hosting centers, and B2B support organizations.

In life sciences, energy, financial services and just about everything else, compliance is the 800-pound government gorilla in the room. Following the rules has never been simple, but the often mind-boggling complexity of the process for regulatory audits, inquiries, inspections, and eDiscovery, plus industry-specific documentation requirements with all their associated demands and deadlines, makes it almost unthinkable to take a major system offline for any significant length of time.

Imagine the consequences if a major bank runs afoul of Dodd-Frank because of a glitch that interrupts the mandated capture and preservation of data at numerous points along the value chain. Now imagine the compounding of the pain when ordinary recovery processes, requiring a system shutdown, trigger permanent data loss or corruption.

At each stage of a drug’s development, the FDA watches everything from software systems to labeling information, all with strict guidelines for record retention and compliance. Violations can halt production, delay or deny an approval, and patients who need the drug, don’t get it, certainly not when they expected it. Data must be protected, and 24-hour or multi-day downtime windows for fixing problems is not an option.

NuclearFrom OSHA to FERC, operating an energy enterprise is a nonstop exercise in regulatory routines with little leeway. Non-compliance can lead to significant fines, business shutdowns, and a damaged reputation. Not to mention the lights going out.

Next-generation data protection software, like our CYA HOTBackup and CYA SmartRecovery solutions, appeal to organizations concerned with compliance issues, because they factor in the human cost along with the dollars. Having the ability to back up your ECM system without shutting down, without risk of data loss or corruption, cannot be underestimated. The capability to recover from operational incidents in minutes, with everything running, instead of after 24 hours or even days of system inactivity, is a game-changer, and it’s going to become equally attractive elsewhere.

We are exploring deployment possibilities in areas where the human cost of taking a system offline, even for a short time, is acutely unacceptable, and data loss, no matter how small, is intolerable. Judicial. Military. Corrections. Places where for obvious reasons, records cannot afford to go missing or get damaged, and slow, imperfect recovery can be disastrous. We expect broad acceptance as the benefits become apparent. Because so much is at stake.

How would a data disruption affect your compliance environment? Have you dealt with compliance violations brought on by corrupted or lost information? Let us know.