How life sciences organizations can accomplish more with data management

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You can transition from disparate data sources, inconsistent data management, and risk-prone compliance to a business culture that thrives on insight, streamlined and secure data management, and efficient, low-risk compliance practices. The Sikich life sciences team can help you achieve this quickly with industry-optimized cloud software and a wealth of expertise.

As life science companies make greater use of more and different types of data to augment their research projects, out-innovate the competition, and make smart decisions, they need to find ways to store, protect, and manage these steadily increasing digital assets. Many life sciences organizations augment their research data with additional information from wearable technology, telehealth reports, messaging apps, social media, and other sources. They may also pull in additional data from the research of scientific institutions. Increasingly, life sciences companies rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make sense of ever-growing data volumes.

When data quantity overshadows the value of information

Data acquisition and incremental growth can rapidly multiply the amount of data that is available and potentially valuable, threatening to overwhelm an organization’s resources and challenge its standards and policies. If not managed well, the diversification and ceaseless momentum of data growth can easily result in a fragmented landscape where it can be difficult to maintain good data quality, glean the meaning of data, and gain useful insights from it.

Increasing data volumes can present cybersecurity and compliance risks, and become difficult to manage for IT. Gartner analysts have emphatically pointed out that poor data quality, together with disparate technology and siloed compliance management, can make it difficult for life sciences companies to drive growth and make inroads in new markets. In the Sikich experience of working with many life sciences companies and contract research organizations (CRO), we often hear that fragmented data turns into a hurdle as these businesses aim to understand and manage their operational costs, research investments, and risks.

What life sciences data managers need to do

The challenges of data growth and management for life sciences companies are similar to those in other businesses, but are also highly industry-specific. For one thing, regulatory mandates tend to be complex and demanding, and more so if a company engages in a variety of markets or countries. Also, the variety of relevant data sources is even broader than in some other industries. It may help to identify the most important tasks in the context of managing data to enable data-driven intelligence in a life sciences company:

  • Deliver data to the people who need to evaluate research results, plan new projects, and manage the operation.
  • Provide reporting and analytical tools to assess and understand data from various sources.
  • Store data to keep it accessible and available for insight purposes, without running into hardware or system limitations.
  • Keep data secure from theft, corruption, and natural or human-caused events that could lead to data loss.
  • Develop a strategy and consistent policies for managing data and the software and hardware systems used to store and process it.
  • Comply with regulatory mandates for data management and security, including protecting the identity and records of individual patients and study participants.

These imperatives demand a cohesive, programmatic approach to data management. However, that may not be an immediate possibility for many life sciences organizations. Life sciences companies the Sikich team works with often not only have fragmented data storage systems and business applications, they may also lack the in-house expertise to manage data for use in biomedical research. What’s more, the time and skills of their often small IT teams may be fully absorbed managing everyday operations, and nobody in IT or the other business groups is truly accountable for data management.

Secure cloud foundation for data management and analytics

To address the most pressing data management issues and enable life sciences clients to start using their data assets productively, Sikich often deploys a comprehensive business management system for them: SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences. This solution is built on NetSuite, the popular and highly reviewed cloud ERP system.

With Sikich SuiteSuccess, you can access the data management and analytical capabilities that are part of NetSuite. NetSuite is engineered for cloud-enabled scalability, so you can continue growing data volumes without facing storage restrictions. It also comes with several layers of cybersecurity to safeguard life sciences companies’ sensitive information and protect the integrity of users, applications, and data centers. Individual users can access the NetSuite environment securely from anywhere through 256-bit TLS encryption. Organizations can set up NetSuite to meet their standards for security, using such measures as location-based IP address restrictions, role-based and application-only access, robust password policies, and other options. NetSuite—and, in turn, SuiteSuccess—complies with many security and auditing standards, including SOC 1, SOC 2, PCI-DSS and the EU-US Privacy Shield framework. Security and risk management processes in NetSuite follow the standards of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ISO 27000 series frameworks.

The NetSuite infrastructure also provides the redundancy to protect your assets in case of a disruptive event. It allows for failover and recovery among multiple data center sites. Data is immediately stored and securely backed up at redundant locations, so recovery from any incident can be immediate.

With the ability to accept data inputs from numerous sources in addition to ERP processes, NetSuite offers an arsenal of analytical capabilities. These functions are highly intuitive and particularly strong at spanning across projects, business groups, teams, and subsidiaries in complex operations. As a user, you can with minimal training set up your own repeatable, customizable queries and reports.

More powerful, easier reporting and compliance management

To this software foundation, SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences adds a wealth of capabilities that address industry-specific needs while leaving the usability and simplicity of NetSuite fully intact. You find a large repertoire of preconfigured workflows, based on industry best practices. We simplify compliance management and reporting with functional roles and reports, including SOX compliance roles and SEC reporting. And, to make analytics and data insight even easier and faster, we provide dashboards and KPI mechanisms that you can apply immediately to your business.

From initial fact finding to handing over the system to you, Sikich can perform the entire project remotely and in the cloud. Depending on your objectives, you can let us deploy the complete SuiteSuccess system in one streamlined effort, or you can minimize the time to go live by deploying the most important capabilities very quickly and adding more software modules at your preferred pace.

Once we complete your SuiteSuccess deployment, your IT team can manage the system, or you can contract with Sikich to do so. We can remain involved, either ongoingly or as-needed, to help you overcome skills gaps and address emerging opportunities and challenges for data insight. In any case, you can run your life sciences business on a comprehensive, flexible solution that simplifies data management and helps you plan, think, decide and run the organization based on reliable intelligence.

Next steps

If you want to see how data-driven management with SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences can help you:

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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