Roadmap for Technology Investments

Jonathan Shough, Chief Information Officer, INC Research
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Jonathan Shough, Chief Information Officer, INC Research

Customer Focus

With increasing opportunities being pre­sented to us through our rapid IT growth, we have become better equipped to exam­ine our work processes. IT plays such an integral part of our overall work that we recognize its impact on our ability to dis­seminate information to our customers. A major focus for us has been to listen to what our customers are saying so that we can gauge exactly where our needs, solu­tions and focus should be. The ability to apply our technology solutions for each customer has resulted in more efficient clinical trials. Looking forward, we are examining how working in the cloud can help bolster an even higher level of cus­tomer delivery.

Organize Investments

Our commitment to patient safety and quality research remains of paramount importance. Making the appropriate in­vestments in technology will help to drive better integration, collaboration and au­tomation. We strive to deliver superior monitoring across all clinical operations and eliminate any complexities.

Partnering with Medidata Solutions

As a clinical research organization, our regulatory environment differs from that of other CIO’s, particularly when we part­ner with outside vendors. We have a very different set of rules under which we have to operate. As a result of our partnership with Medidata Solutions, we’ve recently had significant growth with our cloud capabilities. This part­nership resulted in INC Research becom­ing the first CRO to achieve accreditation for the Medidata Clinical Cloud in June 2013.  

“One of the challenges, as we go global are the opportunities where redundant activities tend to creep in, it is important to eliminate those activities which are not value added”

Through this relationship, we can en­able a full suite of cloud-based technolo­gies in conjunction with our Trusted Pro­cess, a proprietary data-driven clinical trial management approach, allowing for greater data transparency and collabora­tion. Delivery of cost-efficient methods that optimize trials from design to data­base lock and give near real-time visibil­ity to the data that are critical to the suc­cessful running of trials.

A New Viewpoint

INC Research recognizes that analytics must be at the forefront of our operational work to enhance the decision making process. This entails disseminat­ing data to the ap­propriate people to ensure the discovery of comprehensive and accurate solu­tions. By enabling our constituents to access a single global interface, we can provide a horizontal viewpoint across the spectrum so that clinical de­cisions are better informed. This not only drives deeper analytics, it also creates a platform to make decisions more efficiently and maintain safety biometrics within clinical operations.

Globalizing Operations to Reduce Variability

Currently, the biggest IT challenge is time. From our perspective, the data we utilize may differ across regions outside of westernized culture. The obstacle here becomes how to drive high-quality ac­tionable data at the right time. This re­mains an area of focus for us to ensure we deliver services that result in high-quality data delivered at the time users require. Leveraging our Trusted Process, we make sure accurate decisions are reached local­ly, regionally and globally.

Service Provider Mod­el to Collaboration Model

As I stepped into the role of CIO, we set up a governance com­mittee to examine the business prac­tices across INC Research and to es­tablish a collaboration model to help drive technology decisions that is fully visible and inclusive. IT is now working closely with our global busi­ness leaders to work toward refining and crafting our future IT investments. We feel strongly this will result in better educated decisions regarding our technol­ogy stack and will eliminate wasted effort and duplication.

Key Listening Skills

An essential starting point to any dialogue is the ability to listen. That has been the focus of our governance committee, so we can truly comprehend where the business actually wants to go and how technol­ogy can help to generate these goals. We take time to understand the importance of the front-end operational processes and how they impact the back-end technol­ogy processes. We are currently updating and optimizing many of our technologies that will better enable us to deliver on our commitments to customers.

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