Life sciences companies often start small, and their business operations may remain so even as the organization and its activities expand. While scientists and researchers explore promising approaches to new medication or other vital pursuits, a core group of finance, IT, and business managers is responsible for business processes and infrastructures. Some life sciences companies go public with just a handful of people on the finance team. Even with demanding system workloads and stringent regulatory requirements for managing data and intellectual property, the IT team often remains small as companies grow and evolve.
Business software is often not considered strategically when life sciences companies begin operating. That can result in compromises and process bottlenecks that can interfere with an organization’s mission.
When technology lags behind company goals
Many new life sciences businesses begin operating with just the basic essentials when it comes to technology. That often means a fragmented software environment comprising simple accounting software with foundational reporting, business productivity tools that almost everyone uses, and specialty software systems to support and manage clinical trials or support collaborations among far-flung contributors, together with the documents they create and exchange.
Often, a year or two into the life of the business—and sometimes much sooner—it becomes obvious that they are not robust and scalable enough or lack the financial reporting the company needs. Commonly, basic software tools are also not capable of preparing and facilitating equity events.
A platform for sustained growth
Replacing a business software system can be distracting and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Not when you can adjust the entire approach and also shift the venue to the cloud, where technology changes are easy to make and additional computing power or storage can be provisioned at an instant’s notice. If colleagues on your team are still making do with workarounds that rely on paper-based activities or basic software functions with frequent updating and emailing of spreadsheets, you can tell them to breathe easy. Instead, you could implement a cloud business management solution like NetSuite—as versatile and easy to use as most people’s preferred business apps, and as scalable and richly featured as the ERP systems that power large, fast-growing companies.
For many smaller life sciences companies, a critical juncture arrives when they are on a path to going public, but still run the business on the shoulders of a small team. Nonetheless, they need to implement the financial and approval controls and workflows that keep them compliant with regulatory frameworks such as Sarbanes-Oxley and nonnegotiable requirements like the need to realize a proper segregation of duties. On the right software platform, you can design, configure, and manage the roles, controls, and workflows the business needs, without necessarily having to onboard more finance professionals or IT managers.
Implementing the right controls and reducing audit risks
Working with more than 30 life sciences businesses during the last two years, we have made an art of building team-adjusted workflows in NetSuite and helping companies refine them on their own. No matter how big your team is or how complex your project and program operations may be, we can deliver financial approval workflows optimized for life sciences companies with the needed level of transparency and separation of duties. These processes can scale with the scope of your business operations, but their setup and realignments can remain fast and simple.
Auditors scrutinizing your business will want to see that all necessary controls are in place. That includes documentation and tracking of any changes in those controls and associated workflows. In NetSuite, you can easily ensure complete tracking when you adjust any portion of a workflow, and you will not need to make use of an additional change management reporting (CMR) tool. Having CMR within your business management platform keeps the visibility of any process changes high. And, doing so with an instance of NetSuite that’s enhanced for the life sciences business keeps your operational and audit costs under control.
Interpretations of regulatory requirements and how they should be reflected in your workflows and segregated roles can differ among companies in the industry, experienced business managers, and even auditors. We adjust our practice and recommendations to stay current with the most efficient and manageable ways to keep your business compliant and its contributors accountable.
Making users’ lives easier
In NetSuite, you can also accommodate your growth, including mergers and acquisitions, or increasingly complex portfolio of departments, programs, or business groups without reimplementing your software. Business users familiar with the operation can make adjustments, add dimensions—and transact and report against those dimensions—and set up and manage multiple business entities or subsidiaries in NetSuite without IT assistance. We can work with you to make sure company structures and processes are efficient and controllable, and help you meet your goals now and in years to come.
Visit our life sciences ERP recommendations page to learn more and get in touch with the Sikich life sciences team.