The case for cloud and SaaS: 
a strategic IT focus

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As software has allowed scientists to focus on science, SaaS technologies in the cloud free up IT teams to focus on strategic priorities, writes Brady Haggstrom

‘This will be the life sciences century … because of personalised medicine, information technology, and knowledge on biological systems,’ said Fred Hassan, a partner of Warburg Pincus and former CEO of Schering-Plough. 

With all the incredibly exciting new technologies emerging behind precision medicine in the life sciences industry, unlocking potential pathways previously unnavigable for researchers has become a reality. Along with it, however, comes a complex technology cost of computing, storage, and networking that even the most advanced organisations struggle to implement and maintain. Real benefits can be derived from SaaS technology partner that result in a better served Research and development (R&D)organisation with a more focused IT team. 

Although moving to the cloud has supported many companies in advancing their R&D goals, it often falls short in its service levels for users and doesn’t always free up IT resources in the way that was anticipated. To handle the massive datasets, complex imaging, screening, and evolving data science needs that come with R&D, companies need to go SaaS. In a business environment where the life sciences industry is facing a declining internal return of investment in their scientific efforts – the push to find the next breakthrough is more critical than ever. 

Another transforming factor is the rise of collaborative research and partnerships. Gone are the days where most R&D occurs in-house, from early discovery to manufacturing. The current environment is one of complexity, with young biotechs, academia, CROs and CDMOs, and big biopharma all strung along in this value chain. These collaborations and partnerships occur across workflows that can challenge even the best IT teams with evolving requirements, configuration of resourcing, and considerations to security manage all potential intellectual property. 

All of this has driven the rise of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. Cloud pushes the traditional infrastructure and environment management to the software technology providers, putting IT in a position to evolve and focus on other priorities. This provides tangible business benefits that any organisation can take advantage of. 

Better science

For researchers, the new cutting-edge methodologies and technologies, that allow them to advance their science, is all they’ve ever cared about. For the IT organisation, supporting that group’s advancement and productivity with those technologies is their key objective. Cloud-based software enables IT to focus on those strategic priorities rather than routine work.   

Due to control and practiced implementations, faster project launches leave organisations nimbler and more able to quickly realise scientific benefits.

Credible cloud-based SaaS products have rigorous regulatory and security frameworks in place. High demands from the life sciences industry have created a shared responsibility model that allows IT to manage the risk for their business. This is a non-value added, yet entirely necessary, requirement of technology that creates peace of mind that scientific work is done properly and manages the risk associated with today’s business environment. When managed well, it allows science to progress even faster. 

Built for the future  

Cloud-based technologies can scale with business growth, in comparison to traditional IT resourcing support models. Cloud provides instant scale up and resourcing for a new team or project by the software creator. This is a key advantage for any organisation with the future in mind, and a desire to enable IT with nimbleness. 

For life sciences organisations, cloud-based software has been proven to have real benefits of better science, better performance, and being built for the future. Researchers will be in a more advantaged position to get the most out of their efforts and IT transforms into a more strategic partner inside of the organisation. Rather than being responsible for traditional infrastructure resourcing, IT can focus more of their time on the next generation of technologies and tools for their user base.

Cloud-based SaaS offerings can be a real asset in achieving that evolution inside their organisation. The rise of collaborative partnerships has changed the way R&D is being done on a day-to-day basis and the tools required to facilitate that work needs to not only support, but accelerate it, for it to be successful.  

In the same way that software has enabled researchers to focus on the science, the cloud has empowered IT to focus on strategic, above the value line, initiatives, rather than routine environment maintenance.

Life sciences organisations that leverage new cutting-edge technologies will have a real potential for significant breakthroughs and achieving their scientific objectives. Cloud-based technologies will help lay out a path to those achievements and deliver significant benefits to their business.  

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