Life sciences companies have been outsourcing their publishing activities for many years now and gaining significant benefit from those outsourcing relationships. There are opportunities beyond publishing, however, and many companies are missing out on gaining real business process improvements because they aren’t tapping into best practices and innovative developments that can drive agility and harmonization.
By Michelle Gyzen, Regulatory Submission Services, CSC
Often a company will seek support with implementing a software solution; they’ll outsource some of the processes offshore, and they’ll have various other partners for various technology support and processes. But they won’t necessarily have a plan in place to bring all those activities together into a single, agile process enabled through best practices.
What companies lack is the intermediary who can create the link needed to simplify processes. They have brilliant subject matter experts and savvy business leaders, but they rarely have the experience and across-the-board knowledge in-house or the finger on the pulse of evolving standards, practices and trends.
M&A and Globalization
There are two key issues that make business process agility all the more difficult: ongoing merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and operating in a global market. M&A is an almost weekly occurrence in the life sciences industry, but bringing together merging companies with different systems and processes – and often several different outsourcing programs – is far from easy. It requires having someone who understands the overall business and industry objectives, functional areas and stakeholders – and who can map and make sense of converging tools and processes.
The second piece – globalization – is about managing multiple sites and marketing companies in different regions. Harmonization is the key, but that can be easier said than done. For example, while working with one client on an outsourcing engagement, it became clear that the U.S. team didn’t share the same processes as the European team, creating enormous inefficiencies for both. However, we were trying to get them to follow a single process that would be beneficial to both teams, taking into account their individual resource and technology capabilities, as well as their limitations. We achieved this by designing a multi-phased approach that allowed the client to transition at a rate that was comfortable to both teams, and by showing them that harmonization would give them the tools and capabilities for future development.
The fact is, business process development is a journey. Processes constantly need to be reevaluated and assessed against current best practices and trends. There is no endpoint when it comes to business processes. New technologies are always emerging, new standards are being developed and existing ones updated and very often companies struggle to understand how guidance changes will impact their processes.
Without applying best practices to business processes, companies inevitably waste time and money going back to the drawing board and replicating work.
Business process development outsourcing also helps companies tap into an important and transformational trend: digitization. Digital transformation is about taking non-core but essential activities outside the organization. It’s about taking advantage of best practices in cloud capabilities, in mobility and in predictive and cognitive analytics that are driving the next wave of business process automation and enabling companies to innovate in a more capital-efficient and agile way.
With the value of business process agility becoming clearer, a growing number of companies are issuing requests for information around business process development. The result will be more agile organizations with adaptive business processes, able to respond to key trends and developments that will improve how they operate.