By Sharad Khusal, Solution Architect and Customer Service Executive
Imagine this: You’ve just put in place a new regulatory information management (RIM) solution. You’ve tied it to your content management solution so you can see all your data. And you’ve got buy-in from senior management to make it happen. It’s going to make all the difference to how you manage your regulatory data and how you collaborate. It’s going to make doing business easier, except for one thing: Your users can’t easily work out how to access the information they need and how to download documents, and they’re limited to using company-specific computers.
I recently started a blog series, exploring the very broad topic of capital efficient innovation, or how life sciences companies go about doing more with less. There are a number of factors that are critical to building value for the business, not least of which is the user experience. We see it in other industries that offer successful business-to-consumer (B2C) models, and which offer mobile solutions and empower users with accessible data. My observation is that most pharma and medical device manufacturers are lagging. Customers are demanding an engaging user experience tailored to their needs and behavior. They want to co-create value by suggesting ideas and personalizing their usage.
Making It Easy
The fact is user experience really matters. Your users – most of whom are using the technology occasionally – need to be able to access the information required without too much hand-holding. They need to be able to do that from multiple devices, and they need to be able to do it from wherever they are.
Search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook have become so ubiquitous that almost any user can quickly and easily navigate them. Businesses are looking to do the same. Life sciences companies are starting to demand a model that leverages their existing assets while tapping a progressive, flexible user interface. So if a user says, “I want to use my iPad to access the company’s information systems,” or “I want to use my mobile device at the doctor’s to download documents I want to present,” those options need to be available to them. We see enterprise IT getting out of the business of employee device provisioning and support and instead allowing employee PCs, smartphones and tablets to be accepted within the company firewall.
24/7 Access from Anywhere
The user experience isn’t a “nice to have” any longer; it’s a critical element to capital efficient innovation in modern life sciences companies. People expect to be able to work as needed, which is no longer 9 to 5; they need to be in the office even when they aren’t in the office – be that because they are traveling, out on a business call meeting internal or external customers, or working from home.
The scenarios requiring out-of-the-office access from any device are numerous. The sales rep accessing content through an iPad while at the doctor’s office; the busy regulatory affairs executive needing to check a report from a tablet while travelling to a conference or providing an e-signature from a device to allow approvals to flow more efficiently.
Collaborating with your external partners is also simplified by a more intuitive user experience. For example, allowing your clinical research organizations to use their own devices lets them tap into a repository to make updates or review documents as part of their work flow. This improves how your partners work, enhances your RIM processes and oversight, and ultimately delivers capital efficient innovation by letting everyone get on with their tasks quickly and easily.
In response to user experience needs we have adapted our FirstDoc product with a new user experience. In fact, just in March, we released two new versions of FirstDoc according to our planned release schedule (FirstDoc 7.1.1 — Review & Approve User Experience AND FirstDoc Enterprise 7.0.03). The new User Experience program is part of a multi-million dollar investment in FirstDoc to remove the dependency on Webtop, separate the user interface from the business logic and leverage state-of-the art technologies with the intention to significantly improve the user experience. This interface can also run on smart devices. Building on the features and functionality of the FirstDoc 7.1.0 Document Consumer release, the new Review and Approve release delivers an efficient, personalized user experience while continuing to reduce the total cost of ownership and minimizing traditional technology constraints.
A few of the key new features:
- We’ve further improved collaboration capabilities by adding the ability to share personal document collections and libraries
- A new tile has been added to the home page for “To Do” tasks – users can easily access their outstanding workflow items
- Users can now annotate documents and complete workflow tasks
- Users can control what information is displayed and how it is displayed
- Fewer clicks to access information
This release extends functionality beyond document consumers and engages contributors. This broadens the user base, extending the new user experience to those users, and empowers users with greater choice and flexibility.
FirstDoc 7.0.03 is an important technological upgrade as users of this version (and subsequent updates) can now use Internet Explorer 11 to access the Webtop interface.
In summary, as life sciences companies look to improve their RIM capabilities, while doing more with less, the user experience becomes an increasingly critical element to improving the business.
Visit us at DIA eRegulatory and Intelligence Annual Conference, May 11-13 in Philadelphia. We are looking forward to meeting you at booth #500, and show you how to embrace capital-efficient innovation for RIM.