The inescapable fact for modern businesses is that data is now the backbone of every organisation. You could even argue that we live in the data age, rather than the digital age. Life sciences – like every R&D-driven business – places an incredible reliance on data. Data is a firm’s most valuable asset, yet is still often underappreciated. Outdated and cumbersome technology, informatics infrastructures, and data management strategies continue to stifle innovation and increase lead times to market of life-saving drugs. This fact makes digital transformation a particularly pressing issue for life science firms. As with all industries in which technology plays a key role, cloud solutions are fast becoming the new standard in driving transformation and accelerating innovation through increased efficiencies. For life science firms, cloud technology is helping to aid collaboration, data reproducibility, sharing, collation and storage across drug development. It is streamlining workflows and ultimately accelerating the throughput of life-saving drugs.
Drug discovery is a complex process involving many organisations, teams and stakeholders, often spread across multiple geographies. Collaboration is essential but variable data-sharing practices and technologies across the many parties can be a hindrance. Increasingly, cloud platforms and solutions offer a way to bring together valuable data in a safe, secure and instantly accessible environment. Additionally, when linked to in-lab technologies, such as electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) and laboratory information management systems (LIMS), experimental data can also be uploaded the moment they are captured, minimizing human error. Research has revealed that up to 50 days in an R&D scientist’s working year is spent recording data using outdated manual methods, such as paper notebooks and Excel. Furthermore, the instruments used, and the laboratory conditions under which various unit operations are conducted, can vary across labs. Moving information to an electronic system can alleviate some of the manual pain points mentioned above – but the ability of the cloud to make this information accessible, from any location, anywhere in the world, can be genuinely transformative. Consider the current COVID-19 situation. Laboratories based in different countries and time zones can collaborate in real-time, thanks to the power of the cloud – and with ongoing social distancing measures worldwide, it means organisations who have been quick to adopt flexible cloud technologies are now several steps ahead of their less forward-thinking competitors. Because cloud providers can manage all updates and upgrades, there are no patches for customers to download or install themselves. Having access to the latest technology and providing new features or fixes quickly to end-users improves adoption, increases ROI, and takes the strain off internal IT teams – reducing start-up times.