Unlocking Better Outcomes in Bio-IT: 3 Strategies to Drive Value and Mitigate Risk

Unlocking Better Outcomes in Bio-IT: 3 Strategies to Drive Value and Mitigate Risk

Unlocking Better Outcomes in Bio-IT: 3 Strategies to Drive Value and Mitigate Risk

Like many industries, Biopharma’s success hinges on speed for drug discovery, product development, testing, and bringing innovative solutions to market. Technology sets the pace for these events, which forces organizations to lean heavily on their IT infrastructure. But developing a technological ecosystem that supports deliverables while also managing the unique risks of Biopharma isn’t simple. 

Drug discovery and innovation in Bio-ITData security, costs, regulatory compliance, communication, and the ability to handle projects of varying complexities all factor into the risk/deliverable balance. For Biopharma companies to leverage their IT infrastructure to the fullest extent, they must be able to translate these requirements and challenges to their IT partners

Here’s how working with Bio-IT specialists can help unlock more value from your IT strategy. 

Understanding the Unique Requirements and Deliverables of Biopharma Organizations

When we talk about requirements and deliverables in the context of Biotech projects, we’re referring to the specifications within the project scope and the tangible devices, drugs, clinical trials, documents, or research that will be produced as a result of the project.

Biotech projects involve a range of sensitive data, including intellectual property, clinical trial data, and patient data. Ensuring the security of this data is critical to protect the company’s reputation and maintain compliance. 

However, this data plays a heavy role in producing the required deliverables — sample specification, number of samples, required analyses, quality control, and risk assessments, for example. Data needs to be readily available and accessible to the right parties. 

When designing an IT infrastructure that supports deliverables and risk management, there need to be clear and measurable requirements to ensure checks and balances. 

Developing Deliverables From the Requirements

Biopharma project requirements involve a number of moving parts, including data access, stakeholders, and alignment in goals. Everyone involved in the project should know what needs Drug discovery and innovation in Bio-ITto be done, have the tools and resources at their disposal, and how to access, use, manage, and organize those resources. These requirements will define the deliverables, which is why good processes and functionality should be instilled early.

When developing IT to support the movement between requirements and deliverables, IT teams need to understand what those deliverables should look like and how they’re developed from the initial project requirements. 

Biopharma companies must be able to explain requirements and deliverables to IT project managers who may not share the same level of technical knowledge. Likewise, IT must be able to adapt its technology to the Biopharma company’s needs. This is where the value of working with Bio-IT partners and project managers becomes evident. With deeper industry experience, specialists like RCH can provide more insight, ask better questions, and lead to stronger outcomes compared to a generalist consultant.

Managing Multi-Faceted Risks Against Deliverables

Knowing the deliverables and their purposes allows Biopharma companies and Bio-IT consultants to manage risks effectively. For instance, knowing what resources need to be accessed and who is involved in a project allows users to gain role-based access to sensitive data. Project timelines can also contribute to a safer data environment, ensuring that certain data is only accessed for project purposes. Restricting data access can also save on computing requirements, ensuring the right information is quickly accessible.

The way in which data is labeled, organized, and stored within IT systems also contributes to risk management. This reduces the chance of unauthorized access while also ensuring related data is grouped together to provide a complete picture for end users.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The more IT consultants know about the journey from requirements to deliverables and the risks along the way, the better they can develop systems that cater to these objectives.

Best Practices for Managing Risks Against Deliverables in Biopharma IT

Given the unique complexities of managing risks and maximizing value across the deliverables spectrum, Biopharma IT departments can follow these best practices to support critical projects:

  • Set realistic timelines and expectations. Not setting milestones for projects could lead to missed steps, rushed processes, and unmet objectives.
  • Establish clear communication channels. Keeping all stakeholders on the same page and capturing information in a consistent manner reduces missing details and sloppy work.
  • Prioritize risks and develop contingency plans. Establishing checks and balances throughout the project helps compliance officers locate gaps, allowing them to intervene in a timely manner.
  • Regularly review and update deliverables and risk management strategies. Continue updating processes, best practices, and pipelines to improve and iterate.

Driving Value and Mitigating Risk in Biopharma IT

The importance of managing risks against deliverables for the success of emerging Biotech and Pharma companies cannot be overstated. Creating an IT ecosystem that caters to your specific needs requires a deep understanding of your day-to-day operations, IT’s impact on your business and customers, and legal challenges and compliance needs. Ideally, this understanding comes from first-hand expertise, given the unique nuances of this field. Working with experienced consultants in Bio-IT gives you access to specialized expertise, meaning a lot of the hard work is already done for you the moment you begin a project. Companies can move forward with confidence knowing their specialized Bio-IT partners and project managers can help them circumvent avoidable mistakes while producing an environment that works the way you do. 

Get in touch with our team for more resources and information about managing risks against deliverables for emerging Biotech and Pharma organizations and how we can put our industry expertise to work for you.






Cost Optimization Strategies in the Cloud for BioPharmas

Cloud technologies remain a highly cost-effective solution for computing. In the early days, these technologies signaled the end of on-premise hardware, floor space and potentially staff. Now, the focus has shifted to properly optimizing the Cloud environment to continue reaping the cost benefits. This is particularly the case for Biotech and Pharma companies that require a great deal of computing power to streamline drug discovery and research. 

HPC Migration to the Cloud for Life SciencesManaging costs related to your computing environment is critical for emerging Biotechs and Pharmas. As more data is collected, new compliance requirements emerge, and novel drugs are discovered and move into the next stages of development, your dependence on the Cloud will grow accordingly. It’s important to consider cost optimization strategies now and keep expenses under control. Optimizing your Cloud environment with the right tools, options, and scripts will help you get the most value and allow you to grow uninhibited.

Let’s explore some top cost containment tips that emerging Biotech and Pharma startups can implement.

Ensure Right-Size Solutions by Automating and Streamlining Processes

No one wants to pay for more than they need. However, when you’re an emerging company, your computing needs are likely to evolve quickly as you grow.

This is where it helps to understand instance types and apply them to specific workloads and use cases. For example, using a smaller instance type for development and testing environments can save costs compared to using larger instances meant for production workloads.

Spot instances are spare compute capacity offered by Cloud providers at a significant discount compared to on-demand instances. You can use these instances for workloads that can tolerate interruptions or for non-critical applications to save costs.

Another option is to choose an auto-scaling approach that will allow you to automatically adjust your computing based on the workload. This reduces costs by only paying for what you use and ensuring you don’t over-provision resources.

Establish Guardrails with Trusted Technologies

Guardrails are policies or rules companies can implement to optimize their Cloud computing environment. Examples of guardrails include:

  • Setting cost limits and receiving alerts when you’re close to capacity
  • Implementing cost allocation tags to track Cloud spend by team, project, or other criteria
  • Setting up resource expirations to avoid paying for resources you’re not using
  • Implementing approval workflows for new resource requests to prevent over-provisioning
  • Tracking usage metrics to predict future needs

Working with solutions like AWS Control Tower or Turbot can help you set up these cost control guardrails and stick to a budget. Ask the provider what cost control options they offer, such as budgeting tools or usage tracking. From there, you can collaborate on an effective cost optimization strategy that aligns with your business goals. Your vendor may also work with you to implement these cost management strategies, as well as check in with you periodically to see what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.

Create Custom Scripting to Go Dormant When Not in Use

Cost Optimization in R&D ITSimilar to electronics consuming power when plugged in but not in use, your computing environment can suck up costs and resources even during downtime. One way to mitigate usage and save on costs is to create custom scripts that automatically turn off computing resources when not in use.

To start, identify which resources can be turned off (e.g., databases, storage resources). From there, you can review usage patterns and create a schedule for turning off those resources, such as after-hours or on weekends. 

Scripting languages such as Python or Bash can create scripts that will turn off these resources according to your strategy. Once implemented, test the scripts to ensure they’re correct and will produce the expected cost savings. 

Consider Funding Support Through Vendor Programs

Many vendors, including market-leader AWS, offer special programs to help new customers get acclimated to the Cloud environment. For instance, AWS Jumpstart helps customers accelerate their Cloud adoption journey by providing assistance and best practices. Workshops, quick-start help, and professional services are part of the program. They also offer funding and credits to help customers start using AWS in the form of free usage tiers, grants for nonprofit organizations, and funding for startups.

Other vendors may offer similar programs. It never hurts to ask what’s available.

Leverage Partners with Strong Vendor Relationships

Fast-tracking toward the Cloud starts with great relationships. Working with an established IT company like RCH that specializes in Biotechs and Pharmas and also has established relationships with Cloud providers, including as a Select Consulting Partner with AWS, as well as associated technologies gives you the best of both worlds. 

Let’s Build Your Optimal IT Environment Together

Cloud cost optimization strategies shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought or put off until you start growing.

It’s best practice to instill cost control guardrails now and think about how you can scale your Cloud computing in the future so that cost doesn’t become a growth inhibitor.

In an industry that moves at the speed of technology, RCH Solutions brings a wealth of specialized expertise to help you thrive. We apply our experience in working with BioPharma companies and startups to ensure your budget, computing capacity, and business goals align. 

We invite you to schedule a one-hour complimentary consultation with SA on Demand, available through the AWS Marketplace, to learn more about cost optimization strategies in the Cloud and how they support your business. Together, we can develop a Cloud computing environment that balances the best worlds of budget and breakthroughs.






You’re Only as Good as the Results You Demonstrate

The Importance of Value in an Evolving Business Climate

As signs of Spring start to boom around us, I can’t help but think of the exciting opportunities ahead especially after coming through a gloomy business cycle for the past several quarters.

Value Performance and Cost OptimizationThose opportunities only become recognized if we are willing to confront the sometimes brutal realities of the current business climate. 

And that reality is this: Businesses [across all industries] are looking closer at their budgets and questing spends. They’re asking hard questions and examining new projects and, quite frankly legacy partners, with a heightened level of scrutiny. 

While the accompanying uncertainty that looms as a result can certainly keep business leaders awake at night, I can’t help but think, for some very specific reasons—it’s about time.   

While cost cutting alone is sometimes a necessary reality, the larger thrust is really about driving more value, rather than simply lowering expenses. After all, work still needs to get done. 

Having led a business built on driving value for most of my career, here’s what “value” questions sound like, according to direct conversations I’ve had with many of our customers:

  • Are your customers on the business side pleased with the outcomes? 
  • Can you demonstrate a return to management?
  • Has paying more yielded better results, other than convenience? 
  • Has paying less yielded any results, other than savings?
  • What is the return you are getting for the investment you’ve made?
  • Are you reaching your goals? 

Let me be more specific, without naming names of course. I’m referring to the large professional services and consulting companies that work with many Biotech and large Pharma companies for strategic and then operational services.  Ok, let’s call them company A and company D. Then there are also the large multinational outsourcing companies that offer low-cost/low-value staff augmentation.  We will call them, well, there are too many to list. 

Please tell me the last time you said: “Wow, company A or company D did such a great job!  They finished on-time, under budget and actually did what they said they were going to do! Let’s give them more projects (and overspend more money next time)!”  

You can sense my sarcasm, of course. But the truth is, many providers in this space are doing Biotech and Pharma companies a disservice in the way they scope, execute, and hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of services that are mission critical to companies in the business of advancing science. In fact, a large pharma customer of ours recently shared, and I quote, “We only use D because A is much worse.”

Take some time to let that sink in. 

On the low-cost, outsourced side, we see much of the same. Poor service.  Inconsistency and turnover within the support team. Lack of accountability. And the inability (or worse, an unwillingness) to evolve and learn more about business in favor of following a dated and static runbook.   

I find myself asking, how much lower can the bar go?  And further, why do companies continue with these vendors for any critical scientific computing projects?

The Way Back to Better

Value and Cost OptimizationI’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why companies continue a relationship with partners that either overcharge or underdeliver (or sadly, both). I’ve asked our customers as well. And what I’ve concluded is that it’s about mitigating risk—or rather, the perception of mitigating risk.

But the question then becomes, what happens if you stay with these providers?  Why would you expect the outcome to be different?  In fact, I wrote a piece last year on the inherent risk of doing what you’ve always done, and expecting different outcomes.  You know what they call that …. 

Of course, I have an answer.  My answer and solution is based not on what we believe at RCH but what our customers tell us and what they have done. 

Our customers are challenged with the market dynamics of having to do more with less—and they’re looking for greater value out of the support engaged to support them.

In fact, several of our large enterprise customers recently cut their spend on the large PS/Consulting companies and transitioned or are in discussions to transition those projects to RCH as their partner of choice.  Why? Because the bar has been elevated and these customers, now more than ever, recognize who has the skills, service model and specialization to rise to the occasion.  

For those that have already pulled the trigger, we continue to earn their approval and trust through results that speak for themselves.  

And for those who haven’t yet made that wise call?  Well, we’re here, we’re proven and we’re ready to add value where the others have not, whenever you’re ready.