Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) are a subset of contract research organizations that provide clinical trials and other research support services for various industries. These industries can include (but are not limited to, of course):
- Medical Devices;
- Universities; and
- Government Institutions.
CROs may seem like they are not a good fit for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, but the truth be told, CROs face the very challenges that ERP systems address.
Challenge #1: Managing Multiple Solutions
We have found that CROs, on average, use 6-8 different business software applications. Many of them either aren’t able to integrate and work together, or it’s too expensive to integrate them. As such, the organizations have segmented departments with no easy way to collaborate on the projects. Employees must enter in most of the data manually, and often multiple times in the various applications. Manual entry often leads to errors, especially when it is replicated across software. Not to mention, this replication of manual entry is extremely inefficient and slows down productivity.
Challenge #2: Flexible Billing
Many of our CRO clients require various forms of billing. They need to be able to create projects that can handle two or three billing units within the same project. These billing methods are often unit-based billing and time/materials billing. Our clients have requested one software application that can manage all of their various billing methods in the same project, one that can accommodate them as well as track them from the bid-to-bill process.
Challenge #3: Faster Study Execution
The third biggest challenge is something most businesses can agree upon: a way to push their client studies faster and more efficiently to completion. Since most CROs use multiple business applications, these application silos bog down the project. As mentioned above, the manual entry across the applications creates a highly inefficient environment. A lack of communication between these silos and departments only worsens the situation.
For example, one client complained of a lack of “clear hand-off” of a project, which thus delayed the finance department from invoicing upon project completion.
From our survey in the CRO industry, we found that
- 100% of respondents wanted to unify their business applications;
- 72% of respondents claimed integrating their various applications is their greatest challenge; and
- 50% noted that these integration challenges limited their organization’s ability to improve clinical operations.
One ERP software application can overcome all of these challenges. For our CRO clients, we implement NetSuite for the following reasons:
- intuitive management platform;
- operational visibility;
- strong workflow engine;
- scalable solution to full growth;
- unlimited expansion; and
- single platform.
Be sure to check out part one of our webinar on Overcoming Clinical Research Organization Challenges for more details, and read part two of the webinar that addresses exactly how NetSuite is the best clinical research organization software to overcome these challenges.