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Hackernoon logoOut with The Old, In with The New: Augmenting Lab Performance with SaaS by@terryfranson

Out with The Old, In with The New: Augmenting Lab Performance with SaaS

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@terryfransonTerry Franson

Tech enthusiast.

Big companies are always looking for the next best thing to augment the strength of their position in a competitive market. Innovation is key to supporting this position of strength since it produces an edge over a rival. Competition drives innovation, and it generates differentiation of offerings from the business next door.

In support of differentiation, cloud-based SaaS products can bolster a company’s core competencies to achieve ongoing success. This concept applies to businesses across the board, no matter the industry in which they operate.

Another driving force of competition through differentiation, is technology. Creative minds working together ignite innovation to produce new technologies that set companies apart.

The pharmaceutical industry is just one of these industries which can reap benefits from SaaS, rendered from the cocoon of the cloud. Kicking out the obsolete ‘old’ to make way for the ‘new’ is the contemporary strategy that is working as a distinguishing factor to bolster performance. Bolstered performance levels then transfer into heightened production levels in the pharmaceutical laboratory.

What is this cloud that everyone talks about?

The cloud is the internet. What happens in the cloud concerns a collection of resources that can be delivered via the internet. Author, Darren Barrington defines cloud computing as “The delivery of on-demand computing resources – everything from applications to data centers – over the internet, on a pay-for-use basis.”

In short, a separate cloud industry is concentrated on delivering resources and services to drive performance in other industries. They provide major elements of hardware, software and services so that other businesses don’t need to be weighed down by activities external to their areas of specialty.

These service models are available in three major packages:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS)

Service model comparison of cloud services versus traditional on-premise infrastructure

As businesses grow, their needs change. These changing needs are reflected in the migration toward the SaaS model.

SaaS for business

Many are familiar with SaaS applications such as Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365.

The less familiar laboratory business applications comprise of:

1. LIMS. Lab informatics management systems

2. LES. Lab execution systems

3. ELN. Electronic lab notebook

4. SDMS. Scientific data management systems

More recently, the focus has turned to harnessing the functions contained in the ELN – electronic notebooks through the cloud, to resolve diverse lab data collection, storage, use and dissemination methods.

SaaS is also recommended as the basis on which to deliver these business software applications to promote lab productivity. The inherent benefits of SaaS encompass security features, cost efficiencies and the flexibility that comes with this cloud model.

Increasing performance levels

Pharmaceutical companies are frequently dispersed across the globe. Finding a SaaS program application that better serves their needs, will improve employee performance levels. As the lab management system is migrated to the cloud, on-site IT expertise can be focused on reporting and analytics for labs.

As the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) progresses, its functions and features are applied to promote lab performance. Support is provided through products like ELN to facilitate the capture and storage of data. Lab protocols for research work, papers, case studies and manuscripts can all be linked for easier access and application.

The value created by a system like ELN:

  • Creates increased processing efficiencies
  • Enhances the efficacy of training efforts
  • Team access and collaboration enhancements
  • Tracks maintenance records for lab equipment in terms of replacement or servicing
  • Provides solutions for enhanced compliance requirements
  • Encompasses other features to streamline lab proficiencies

Additional benefits of ELN include:

  • Cost reductions
  • Quick installation and compatibility
  • Automated updates of software
  • Flexible cloud capacity
  • Mobile and cloud compatibility
  • Scalable system that adapts to changing lab and business needs
  • Secure storage, backup and emergency recovery of data

Migrating management and tracking of lab data to the cloud can finally do away with risky paper and pen methods of recording experiments. The quantity of data generated in a laboratory setup is just too intense for this method to be sustainable. As paper and pen data is transferred to electronic storage, it is inevitable that elements of data capture can be lost in translation.

Dedicating a system such as ELN to cloud management, frees up local IT resources to concentrate on core data lab requirements. Priority can be dedicated to high-value projects. Labor efficiencies are created, and performance levels are enhanced with this strategy.

Data collection is made simple for the lab with focused software applications when lab management and tracking is transferred to the cloud. Data from diverse global locations is uploaded and shared between diverse geographical locations.

This data is then used to generate context and information for joint pharmaceutical projects. The result is that the business assimilates greater knowledge. Knowledge is transformed into wisdom in innovative project development, and a winning edge for the business is created as decision-making is enhanced.

Facilitating productivity with the right tools

It isn’t just pharmaceutical laboratories that are feeling the weight of having to expand on the way that they do business. To remain competitive, all businesses need to maximize their operations, find original ways to cut costs without cutting corners, and conform with compliance regulations.

Lab workflows have also become far more intricate as R&D and external organizations are contracted to undertake research projects. Data assimilation from a broad array of sources has therefore given rise to the need for improved management of this asset.

Cloud adoption by pharmaceuticals and other organizations is therefore increasing to facilitate productivity improvements by augmenting lab performance. Market research reinforces this approach by noting how this strategy has underscored gains, highlighted cost savings, sped up the time to market concept, improved process efficiencies, and lowered IT spend – with the final outcome of overall business growth.

When the quantifiable benefits of implementing cloud technology are combined with ELN, laboratory performance and productivity levels are boosted.

As this industry grows, pharmaceuticals can begin to perfect their personal laboratory ecosystems to customize functionality. The core of scientific innovation lies in the ability to collaborate across vast distances, share data, information and ideas in real time.

As ELN becomes available across different clouds, the potential to increase productivity continues to improve.

When data needs are simplified by the cloud and ELN, scientists can concentrate on doing what comes naturally – research, experimentation and innovation that boosts the pharmaceutical competitive or collaborative status.


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