My oldest daughter, Sophie, completed her first New York City Marathon this year. I’m proud of her for so many reasons and watching her conquer 26.2 miles is a memory I’ll never forget.

Since attending the race, I’ve been thinking a lot about the endurance, determination, and, frankly, the planning that’s required when running a marathon. There are many parallels with running a business to scale. 

Often, organizations in growth mode make the mistake of being so focused on the finish line, they lose sight of the many important checkpoints along the way. In doing so their determination may remain strong, but their endurance is likely to suffer. 

After nearly 30 years in leadership, ask me how I know …. 

Looking Toward the Future One Checkpoint at a Time

Today, reflecting on the race we’ve run here at RCH in 2022, I’m so immensely proud of the distance we’ve covered. Seeing our revenue increase nearly 30% year over year has been exceedingly rewarding. More exciting, however, has been watching our team grow and respond in the face of increasing demand from our customers. In 2022 alone, RCH’s workforce grew by more than 70%. And the best part? We’re not slowing down; not only are we continuously developing and nurturing the growth of our existing team, we’re also actively recruiting for additional talent now and into the New Year. 

Much like the marathon runner, we had an opportunity to test ourselves. Working within a biotech and pharma industry that continues to evolve, facing consolidation, budget cuts, exploding innovation, resource constraints, and more, we encountered many important milestones on our path. And importantly, gave ourselves the opportunity to adjust our plan along the way. 

And here’s what we know:  

Large Pharmas and Emerging Life Sciences Need On-Going R&D IT Run Services 

For years, RCH has been the go-to bio-IT partner for R&D teams within many of the world’s top pharmas, providing our specialized Sci-T Managed Services offering based on our experience and understanding of where science and IT intersect. And we’ve been able to because organizations of that scale have a very real need for ongoing, “routine” science-focused IT operational support. The R&D flavor of “keeping the lights on” for their powerful and complex scientific computing environments. We’ve earned the right to be their first call because, frankly, we’re damn good at helping R&D teams and their IT counterparts move science forward without disruption or delay. It’s a role we’re comfortable in, and a role we like.  

But there was also a need to shift. 

Emerging Start-Ups Also Need Foundational and Project-Based Consulting & Execution     

There’s never been a better time to be an emerging biopharma. The opportunities are monumental and the science is some of the best and most exciting I’ve ever seen. But not without challenge. 

With limited Bio-IT resources, scientist-heavy teams, and often a compute ecosystem that’s not optimized for performance and scale, we’ve found these firms to have a pressing need for advice before execution. The need for a trusted advisor to help them learn what they don’t even know could be possible. To turn their compute environment and tech stack into a true asset that will not only help them achieve their scientific goals, but also their business goals as they eye the future and what it may hold. 

However, although they’re racing toward discovery, development and products, with speed as the top goal, they still need to hit their checkpoints. 

This year, RCH has been able to expand beyond our reputation as the “people who just get it done” (though we always knew we were capable of doing much, much more) with ease. Leaning on our experience serving some of the biggest and best teams in the biz, we built out a comprehensive menu of outcome-based Professional Services to meet the needs of quick moving teams like I just described. 

Some of those services include assessment and roadmap development, Cloud infrastructure architecture and execution, and a range of what we call “accelerators,” which help teams reach specific goals related to:

  • Data and workflow management
  • Platform Dev/Ops and automation
  • HPC and computing at scale
  • AI integration and advancement 
  • Front-end development and visualization
  • Instrumentation and lab support, and 
  • Specialty scientific application tuning and optimization, among others

And we haven’t stopped there. Several of our recent and forthcoming service engagements include support that goes well beyond R&D, focusing on Clinical and Regulatory Services. It’s a space we’ve been eyeing for a while now, and the time is now right to officially push in to this new territory.  More to come on that soon ….

Why does this matter? Well, because stopping to reassess and expand how we deliver services—it’s what propelled RCH across one finish line and into the next race. And we did it with many wonderful customers, partners, and supporters along the way. 

So, as we prepare to close one year and look toward the next, I offer you the following: 

Pushing forward too quickly can, paradoxically, be the formula for slowed discovery, development and clinical progress which can lead to stalled outcomes and/or costly missteps. Though innovation requires speed and usually feels like a sprint, scale sometimes warrants a slower burn. 

When assessing your path to the best outcomes, consider the marathon runner. Determine a winning pace, understand what must be done to sustain it, and make sure you’re solutioned for long-term success.

And remember, the best competitor is not always the one who crosses every finish line first—but then again, I may be a little biased.

📷: Sophia Riener, NYC Marathon – November 2022

Michael Riener

Michael oversees the executive management of RCH, including the company’s overall strategic direction, and brings more than 25 years of experience to his role.