Don’t Get Data Stuck in Email
Changing Business Landscape
A quickly accelerating paradigm shift is under way among scientific enterprises. Whether in the energy sector, food and beverage, biotech, chemical engineering, or pharmaceuticals, companies that have historically relied on in-house research & development (R&D) have begun to outsource as part of a growing trend.
Due to globalization, specialization, and the competitive needs of reducing costs, a new era of collaboration and partnership is spreading in the push to stay ‘lean.’
The use of contract research organizations (CROs), joint ventures, academic partners and consortiums are on the rise as organizations try to innovate faster, focus on core competencies, and reduce operational expenditure. In the 2016 Contract Pharma Outsourcing Survey, 73% of industry professionals highlighted an increased demand for outsourcing.
In fact, the pharmaceutical/biotech industry has the highest level of R&D outsourcing across hi-tech industries, and some large companies in the sector expect that 40% or more of R&D spend will be outsourced in the near future with clinical operations functions expected to eventually be outsourced entirely.
Despite this acknowledged realignment of business practice, many concede that their businesses are plagued by a lack of clear strategy in how these changes can be successfully implemented to achieve their desired benefits. Moreover, the key ingredient that’s missing to glue the disparate silos together, is a unified channel for data communication and a reliable ‘central repository’ for data storage that
can work for all parties despite location, firewall restrictions, and discipline.
The Black Hole of Email
With teams no longer located at one fixed site, differing corporate cultures and informatics systems create hurdles for data management and communication flow. In a 2015 survey on Laboratory Knowledge Management, 70% of key pharma and biotech companies recognized ‘Increasing data usability in and out of the laboratory’ as their top priority, with 65% listing ‘Investment in practical software/hardware solutions to increase efficiency of work flow’ as their biggest hurdle.
For many, the constant thread of emails too often becomes the primary default means of content sharing, with no unified way of tracking information dissemination or document review. Secondary document sharing portals like Dropbox and SharePoint provide only limited solutions, without a standardized protocol of version and labeling systems.
The opportunity for missed connections, faulty data, and lost time is high, and even with a structured agreement across sites and platforms, emails get lost, older messages where data may be attached are purged via automated company protocols, and important information gets buried in a thread involving multiple participants.
When dealing with sensitive communications and data, keeping track of who does, and does not, have clearance and access to certain materials is nearly impossible to ensure. What happens when a contract is terminated or a project stage is completed? Who will be designated to oversee this process? How can up-to-date archiving and version management be maintained? Overall, with email and basic document exchange tools as the medium for communication, time, efficiency and cost are all eventually compromised.
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