“Once you decide to outsource, you can explore ways to leverage technology to automate processes or make more effective use of the data,” noted Tony Carita, president of CTB Solutions.
The challenge is in blending the technology platforms used by the many groups within an organization and integrating legacy data. Typically, the outsourcing, legal, finance, and project-management groups “all have different platforms, and more than 90 percent of the time, they don’t talk with each other,” he said.
Building a common platform integrating these groups necessitates determining system requirements, considering the business processes, identifying the handoffs, and designing a tool that allows each group to add its information.
“It may be as simple as an Excel Workbook,” he said, or may be a fully functional application like SynSource, which CTB Solutions designed for the R&D environment, to cut across functional silos and provide an integrated solution.
“SynSource supports requests for information, requests for proposals, bidding, negotiation, contract finalization, invoicing, benchmarking, earned value analysis, metrics, forecasting, and change management with a built-in document-management system all within a single web-based application.”
An R&D outsourcing management tool should integrate each of the activities and groups involved in managing an outsourced project across the enterprise, and include an audit capability to match invoices against purchase orders. It should be visible across the organization and consistent across all providers.
Currently, Carita said, “Very few tools are designed to optimize clinical R&D outsourcing across functional areas throughout the contract lifecycle. Usually, R&D uses tools designed for a fixed production environment, and we then make an attempt to force the more dynamic clinical trial process to fit the tool.”