ANALYSIS & OPINION

Cost-effective EDMS helps small pharmas with electronic submissions

7 January 2008



According to a recent report, the average information worker spends up to a quarter of his day searching for relevant information, with each document being copied (unnecessarily) an average of 19 times.

To solve this problem, many larger pharmaceutical companies are employing electronic document management systems to streamline the storage and retrieval of essential records, but until now the cost of buying and implementing these systems has been too expensive for small- to mid-size companies.

Good Products, a UK software provider, is attempting to rectify this with a three-pronged approach that reduces the cost of the software licences, the implementation and the hardware of the computer infrastructure. The software also aims to help the smaller pharmaceutical companies with the workflow of providing viable electronic submissions to regulatory bodies, which are gaining popularity across the industry at the risk of creating an avalanche of extra paperwork.

‘There is now an even greater emphasis for compliance with different standards that could result in many of these smaller companies drowning in their own paperwork,’ Steve Dickman, the technical director of Good Products, told scientific-computing.com. In particular, he cites the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, recently passed by the US congress, which places a legal responsibility on the top management levels of companies to ensure that visible audit trails are in place throughout the organisation.

One of Good Product’s strategies to reduce the costs of its products has been to build its g-docs electronic document management system on the Microsoft SharePoint platform, which forms part of the Office suite. By using an existing platform, the company was able to reduce the amount of software development, which in turn leads to a cheaper product. As most organisations will already be running Microsoft Office, it should also ease the integration of the software into a company’s IT infrastructure.

Sometimes, this cost of implementing a software system can be heightened by the need to install expensive hardware to host the software. Good Products is hoping to alleviate this strain by offering to host the software themselves, with access available via an internet connection.

The company’s third strategy is to provide a consultancy service to advise small organisations on the best way to implement the software at the lowest cost. Dickman says that in many cases, the software is flexible enough to adapt to the company’s workflow. ‘With most systems, it is necessary to adapt the management processes to suit the software, but we can correct it from the other angle,’ he told scientific-computing.com. Normally the cost of implementing a system would be seven times the cost of the licence, but Dickman claims they have reduced this cost to less than four times the acquisition cost.

It’s a solution that looks set to succeed: Good Products has recently announced that it will be opening a new office in Irvine, California to support its growing North American customer base.

Related internet links

Good Products