As life sciences companies go from the funding stage to clinical trials, commercialization, and on to an IPO or another equity event, they have increasingly complex and critical needs for data analytics and secure, best practice-driven data management. But the use cases for data insight change, and an ERP solution that is designed specifically for life sciences companies can help bring data visibility and intelligence to more roles, illuminating a greater range of concerns, than companies could accomplish with a set of specialized, disparate solutions. Today, we take a look at what life science companies expect from analytics and how ERP can ease their business journey.
Analytics needs throughout the lifecycle of businesses
According to the respondents to the survey by Sikich and Pharmaceutical Executive, data analytics and reporting is the area of the business that requires the most technology support, with the closely related finance and accounting taking second place. That aligns with our experience in working with clients, whose finance departments often need to meet increasingly complex reporting requirements as a life sciences company matures and reaches the commercialization stage.
When life sciences businesses advance toward commercialization, the requirements for analytics and reporting typically become more intense. Companies then are no longer focused on research and development, but need to master their supply chains and deliver drugs to patients and care providers. It’s to their advantage to perform their management and reporting on spending with CROs, inventory, third-party logistics (3PL) and other vendors, bills of materials, and other aspects of the operation within the ERP system. That makes it easier to identify and address supply chain risks early, maintain business-wide control and visibility, and act quickly, in a streamlined, coherent technology environment.
The technology journey from funding to commercialization
As life sciences organizations transition from the funding stage through clinical trials and eventually reach commercialization, data analytics and finance management remain key concerns while CRO management becomes more critical and, in many companies, extensive. Committing to efficient, compliant processes and systems early in the life of an organization can greatly reduce complex operational and compliance challenges later. It also readies life sciences workforces for a level of performance they can maintain when the business grows and its momentum accelerates.
Practically every successful life sciences organization needs to be ready for an IPO or another equity event. A lack of compliant financial management and reporting systems and processes can be problematic and risky when investors, auditors, business partners, and customers rely on companies to function at their best level. We always caution life sciences clients to consider the thoroughness and lengthiness of potential audits when they plan their processes and systems, even if it’s still early in the lifecycle of the company. Even being able to avoid communicating material risks to customers at commercialization makes it worthwhile to forestall compliance and management challenges.
Ensuring transparency in CRO management
CRO management is one of the critical concerns voiced by survey respondents. For life sciences companies, managing CROs and staying on top of clinical trials is typically the largest portion of their spending. At any time, they need to capture a wealth of information from CROs to understand the progress of their projects. CRO-related reporting has to reflect whether a life sciences company takes an accrued or a prepaid stance toward a CRO. Businesses need to have the flexibility to calculate their finances in relation to contract values or milestones within contracts. Managers also need to be able to communicate clearly and efficiently with their peer collaborators in CROs.
In many life sciences companies, individual managers are accountable for a handful of study trials. We have seen companies monitoring upward of 100 trials with managers tracking the contracts in spreadsheets they maintain. That means accurate reporting and analytics aren’t possible until somebody collates the data from as many as 20 documents. At that point, data insights as well as accrued or prepaid balances are clearly no longer in real time. If an audit takes place, that kind of fragmented, delayed tracking can reduce the auditor’s sense of trust and draw additional scrutiny.
A better way to manage documents
In our survey, document management appears as one of the other top-of-mind concerns of life sciences companies. WIth the Sikich life sciences practice, contracts and supporting content for transactions tend to be clients’ most important documents.
In document management, early planning can greatly simplify workflows when a company can expect to eventually manage a much larger number of vendors, customers, and contracts than it did in its early days. Sikich consultants help life sciences clients consider and roadmap the complexities they might expect and the efficiencies and streamlining they can achieve with SuiteSuccess. Within the SuiteSuccess environment, you can manage contracts and supporting documents in a coherent, contextual manner. For many clients, that obviates the need to purchase, deploy, and manage a separate content management system, although we can also integrate SuiteSuccess with existing document management systems.
Delivering data intelligence
When we work with life sciences clients, we aim to deliver software capabilities that help them manage their business in the early stages and drive it on to commercialization and beyond. That includes reporting and analytics. We built robust SEC and other reporting into Sikich SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences, a cloud-native solution engineered on NetSuite. With SuiteSuccess supporting a company’s processes, they can scale efficiently, maintaining transparency and ensuring compliance even if headcounts or transaction volumes explode at any post-startup stage. When we perform our rapid ERP deployment process, the configuration of segments and dimensions in the chart of accounts determines how an organization captures data and reports on it.
SuiteSuccess for Life Sciences makes real-time data and analytics available to finance managers and decision-makers, no matter where they are. When you adopt the solution, Sikich helps you configure all-up, real-time reporting you can confidently share with an auditor. A single click reveals the journal entries and calculations that support reported values, along with explanatory notes and comments. Auditors appreciate it when companies can explain how they arrived at their numbers. If they’re satisfied with the disclosure, they may not see the need to delve more deeply into an organization’s processes to ensure their due diligence.
To gain more insight and explore technology opportunities for your life sciences organization, you can:
- Download the complete survey report by Pharmaceutical Executive and Sikich.
- See how Sikich supports life sciences companies.
- Read the other blog posts in this series.
- Contact Sikich.