Is the Growth of Your CRO Rapidly Outpacing the Capabilities of Its Software?

As the Contract Research Organization (CRO) industry as a whole and individual CROs grow rapidly, many companies outpace the capabilities of their software tools. At the same time, financials, project management, reporting, compliance, and other areas of the business become greatly more demanding. They can become increasingly complex and unproductive unless CROs make an effort to create a unified software environment designed specifically for their business. SuiteSuccess for CROs by Sikich is a comprehensive business management solution built for the industry. It can help you adapt to meet changing client requirements, act on market opportunities, enable key business roles to be more effective, and make important business processes more controlled, yet easier.

Fast Growth in a Critical Industry

Contract research organizations (CRO) are essential for the sustained innovation in the life sciences industry. CROs have emerged from the shadow of life sciences organizations to become ever more accomplished at delivering profitable client projects with great promise for the health and well-being of our societies.

In the U.S., the CRO market is on track to double in size, reaching $25 billion by 2027. While that bodes well for the industry as a whole, individual CROs cannot sit back and expect to profit from growth. For one thing, the industry is highly competitive. The larger companies aim to grow their market share while fast-growing competitors threaten their dominance. CROs may repeatedly perform projects for the same clients, but, for many of them, there is never any assurance that clients will commit to more. That leaves their accounts vulnerable to a competitive takeover.

The business drivers of cost-competitiveness and top-quality project delivery for clients and the need to run an efficient, healthy business force CROs to have full visibility and control of their finances and generate the best possible client results with their resources. In this regard, the larger CROs that support multiple life sciences clients and perform dozens of projects simultaneously can be as challenged as those that operate at a smaller scale.

The Right Technology Can Help You Compete

Many CROs use disparate software applications that cannot support complex, fast-growing businesses, let alone meet specific CRO requirements. Under these conditions, the cost of technology ownership is frequently not in a healthy relation to the business value of outmoded software, and IT teams are busy with basic management instead of helping the company grow. While that is the case more often than not, you can generate a substantial competitive advantage by modernizing your software environment.

The fragmented software environments in many CROs cannot enable the visibility and control CROs need. According to a recent report, 100% of the responding CROs stated that they needed to unify clinical applications, and 100% also said that they wanted to improve methods of information exchange between study partners. At 74%, visibility and oversight were the main drivers for unifying applications. Inefficient manual processes at 77% were the leading condition CROs sought to overcome in facilitating better information exchanges. All CROs shared that they experienced challenges in starting up studies, and 78% disclosed that they use manual spreadsheets to manage that part of the business.

According to the same survey:

  • 73% of the CROs the lack of integration between multiple applications was a main challenge;
  • 64% said that reporting across several software systems was difficult; and
  • 80% sought to shorten the startup times for their research studies.

Some CROs have deployed ERP systems to manage their study projects and business operations more holistically and efficiently. While modern ERP systems meet the needs of many different types of businesses with relatively minor adjustments, standard ERP solutions don’t quite fit the unique CRO model.

In a way, CROs are a hybrid of various business models. They are similar to professional services companies, but their requirements for extensive reporting and regulatory compliance are more like those of life sciences and medical organizations. In addition, they have sophisticated project management needs that one does not generally see in professional services or life sciences.

This is why we built SuiteSuccess for CROs, a customizable ERP solution tailored specifically for the needs of CRO companies. Ready to see what it can do for your CRO organization? Please contact us at any time!

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. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

About the Author