Nutricia Research

Enterprise Electronic Data and Knowledge management optimizes R&D cross functional collaboration at Nutricia Research

Nutricia Research is the global R&D organization behind the Early Life Nutrition and Advanced Medical Nutrition, divisions of Danone, sharing its global mission to deliver health through food to as many people as possible. Pregnant and lactating women, infants, elderly and patients of all ages with special nutritional needs, deserve nutritional support to establish and to preserve their health during early life or later in life. Therefore, Nutricia Research uses life science, food science, technology and the drive and expertise of over 600 employees to deliver nutritional products to those with special needs. For more information see: www.nutriciaresearch.com. Within the Nutricia Research user community, E-WorkBook is a model for effective knowledge and data management.

Dries De Bont Director for Processes and Organization for Early Life Nutrition R&D says ‘We recognized it was essential to provide a platform for cross functional collaboration which embraced paperless working. We needed a system which would protect our Intellectual Property (IP), with robust audit trails and e-signature validation, so we are excited to be working in partnership with IDBS.’

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The Challenge

Karin Van Boom Head Nutricia Research Information Platform says ‘We work in a complex research environment, dealing with increasingly large and diverse datasets. Using paper journals presented us with the challenge of accessing and sharing historic data, running the risk of duplicating experiments and potentially jeopardizing our IP. We needed to optimize synergy and efficiency across our departments, but we recognized this would be a challenge due to the different ways our researchers worked and communicate.

Nutricia Research furthermore needed to find a way to break down the data silos that grow within any global organization to enable easier collaboration among different teams, securely and simply. With Nutricia Research, focusing on early life as well as advanced medical nutrition, the need to ensure compliance and build and maintain trust is even more acute.

Vendor Selection Process

Once the decision was made to deploy an enterprise system to support the Research and Development facilities, Nutricia Research undertook a robust selection process based on detailed end-user and stakeholder requirements. During a two day pilot IDBS was selected to work with Nutricia Research.

Karin Van Boom Head Nutricia Research Information Platform says ‘Many factors contributed to the decision, including the user friendliness of the software and its ability to grow with our needs as data sets grow, future capacity was a key consideration. In addition it was clear further workflows could be created and future integration possibilities were available to us.

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The Solution

Nutricia Research decided to implement E-WorkBook, attracted by the flexibility of a platform that can holistically support the company’s research activities. Digitizing the research workflows in this way means the company can minimize the total cost of ownership by focusing on one platform rather than implementing point solutions for different parts of the workflow. Within the Utrecht facility, collaboration was a key motivating factor for its creation and with E-WorkBook, scientists are able to innovate faster by having access to the same data at the same time and being able to share and discuss results with ease.

The Deployment

The deployment process was planned based on IDBS’ deployment strategy. IDBS provided Nutricia Research with a well designed and realistic deployment plan. Continuous involvement of experienced and knowledgeable IDBS consultants to support super users and IT was key to the success of this project and ensured a smooth transition for researchers.

The deployment was quick due to diligent planning and a close working relationship between Nutricia Research’s internal team and IDBS consultants. User adoption was key during the whole process, Nutricia Research made sure that all end users had access to training and support throughout the process and this in ongoing for post deployment queries.

Karin Van Boom Head Nutricia Research Information Platform says ‘As the software is designed by scientists they understand our needs and can deal with any queries efficiently. We really appreciate that the IDBS support is kept in-house which gives us easy access to developers if needed. The professional and friendly attitude of the IDBS consultants and Support Team, combined with easy to use software and the obvious efficiency gains for the researchers contributed to a successful deployment. Through the use of a dedicated training environment, migration to a production environment was achievable after a 2 hour training session for our researchers.

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The Results

By replacing paper-based workflows, the Nutricia Research user community has been able to eliminate the risks associated with manual data transcription errors thus improving the quality of its data. As with other customers, the company has found that, not only has it become easier to record experiments and improve data quality, its data stores have become richer and deeper as researchers have found it simpler to add data to the system.

As information is added to E-WorkBook the organizational value increases. The advantage of this is that, not only are scientists able to spend more time on innovative research rather than manual processes, but also have easier access to more data - including the original data and the final outcome of experiments, meaning reduced re-working and more effective collaboration. Being able to include raw data makes it easier to check an experiment’s reproducibility and therefore ensure compliance. Additional benefits include the creation of a knowledge legacy, ensuring key innovation is captured and accessible which enables Nutricia Research to learn from past experiences, this also helps with onboarding new people into the organization.

Scientists are also able to store and reference ISO certification documentation within E-WorkBook as well as standard operating procedures (SOPs). Further time savings were made on the review and approval workflow of experiments and the creation of reports.

The overall result is that E-WorkBook has become the go-to source of information for decision-making, reporting and collaboration with all stakeholders having access to key information.

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Dries De Bont Director for Processes and Organization for Early Life Nutrition R&D says ‘We are already seeing synergies across the departments with efficient, standardized report generation and open communication channels. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with IDBS, as our needs grow, we know their software and IDBS people can respond to our needs.’

Erwin Broekhuis Business Systems Analyst within Nutricia Research says ‘With E-WorkBook all data is stored in a consistent format which makes it easy to share and report on, ensuring high quality results and regulatory compliance. Now we can share critical information and data in real-time between departments allowing us to adapt our process as needed.

The deployment of E-WorkBook means Nutricia Research can carry out its research activities using quality data that can be easily verified and reported on. The deployment also furthers the aim of making the Utrecht facility a model for research excellence and innovation by using the latest enterprise R&D technology to replace outmoded paper-based working.