Playing a critical role in the development of new pharmaceutical products and medical devices, clinical research organizations (CRO) are subject to the same industry trends that impact their clients. These are closely connected and reinforce each other. They include consolidation, globally coordinated and more stringent regulation, and patient-centered product development. CRO technology solutions need to enable them to take the right steps to benefit from these developments and turn change to their advantage as they perform their research engagements and pursue the best patient and care outcomes.
Solid CRO foundation in the cloud
As I mentioned in an earlier article, in the Sikich CRO practice, we often collaborate with our clients in deploying NetSuite as their business management platform. Such NetSuite projects include our extensive library of standard CRO processes, which incorporate industry best practices and our collective expertise.
The 10 largest CROs have for years been in control of more than half of the global market, which comprises approximately 3,900 CROs in the U.S. alone. As these leading companies and their challengers continue to grow, many of the smaller CROs are going to be acquired, merge with others, or partner in new ventures. Often, smaller CROs may own skills and specialized expertise that are highly valuable to a larger organization. Recreating these assets may be too lengthy and expensive, and acquisition can be a more efficient way to grow.
NetSuite is a modular, cloud-based technology that can easily accommodate the transitions that many CROs are undergoing or anticipating. The cloud is engineered for practically endless scalability and unlimited flexibility. When you run your business on a cloud solution, there are no challenges to overcome as you add new legal entities, user groups, projects, or clients. A cloud solution also provides people with access to software capabilities and information. When your NetSuite is also optimized for standardized CRO processes, those can also become available to new users and business groups in a few simple steps.
Simplifying compliance and organizational change
For companies making an acquisition, a cloud business infrastructure makes many areas of the business more manageable and efficient. For the NetSuite environment, we have built out-of-the-box reporting tools that make CRO compliance, finance, performance, project management, and operations fully transparent. Executives and managers anywhere can access software solutions in the cloud to review business and project performance and make educated decisions. On a cloud platform, you can more easily consolidate operations and establish a consistent, client-focused project management practice.
In your CRO cloud, you can also greatly simplify the efforts and reduce the risks and costs of compliance management. You can easily reconfigure the solution’s workflows to support more stringent compliance mandates or extend compliance measures across global operations. Your cloud solutions enable control in financial management and accelerate the company-wide data gathering and reporting to support compliance.
A CRO-enhanced cloud platform is also to your advantage when you expect to be acquired by or merged with another organization. You can demonstrate sound business practices and provide full visibility of your compliance measures, complete with audit trails of your transactions and engagements. Potential partners, larger potential clients, and those likely to pursue an acquisition or a merger can receive proof that your company’s pharmaceutical, medical, and research expertise is matched by its business management.
Safeguarding patient data while keeping processes efficient
When it comes to patient-centered product development, CROs need to make sure patient information is managed and stored securely, compliant with HIPAA regulation. That also means no patient-identifying data should be passed on from your LIMS or other scientific or project-related software tools into the NetSuite cloud environment. At the same time, you want to take advantage of the systems integrations we realized to streamline workflows and avoid re-keying data or looking it up in multiple locations. To ensure the confidentiality of patient data without compromising efficiencies, our solution uses a patient identification number at the key junctures. Once that measure is in place, you can move scientific and research project data where it’s needed while preventing patient information leakage.
An easier way of managing the CRO business
If you’re used to working with a more basic set of software tools which does not easily support your objectives, there is much to look forward to when you adopt a cloud solution tailored for CRO requirements. If, for example, you now need to log in to separate instances of the software to see the financial or other information from several legal entities, that will no longer be necessary when you use Sikich for CROs Built on NetSuite. Instead, you can create and manage business entities in one centralized resource that supports the entire flow of your business, from first client contact to sales quotes, to managing projects and resources, and keeping close tabs on financial performance and KPIs.
We also make it easy for lab technicians and research specialists to report their time and expenses promptly and accurately to their projects, so you can review project financials as they happen.
Sikich knows how to help CROs succeed. Please contact us at any time if you want to discuss how we can assist you.