Some of the most interesting and transformative developments in Cloud Computing are taking places in the Life Sciences industry. With connections to health, agriculture, medicine and food science, all of critical importance to a rapidly growing and aging population, the advances made possible by the Cloud are causing a sea-change in the ways in which the various companies in the industry operate. Here’s how:
This is necessarily one of the most highly-regulated industries in the world and it can be hugely difficult for companies and individuals to ensure they are operating within ever-changing official guidelines at all times. Through document management in the Cloud, which is available from specialist providers such as www.mclarensoftware.com, transparent audit trails and documentary evidence make it much easier to achieve full compliance.
Many life sciences companies are now waking up to the benefits of collaborating with a wide range of partners. Key personnel can be spread over several companies, in different sections of the industry, or even be separated by continent, and still have access to the same information at the same time. Therefore doctors working on medical trials might see real-time data released by researchers for example. Sensitive corporate information can be sectioned off using a hybrid solution while still encouraging a collaborative atmosphere.
Cloud computing usually means significant reductions in cost and resources – if a biomedical company can make use of a shared infrastructure, instead of having to create and manage its own in-house solution, that means vital capital can be diverted to other areas. Research by IBM has suggested that life sciences companies could potentially reduce their annual operating expenditure on clinical IT systems by as much as 25%.
In addition, many routine workloads can be standardized in the Cloud, allowing them to be delegated to third parties, while life sciences companies can focus on other areas.
Big Data presents big challenges to life sciences – the volume of information arriving from a multitude of sources can be incredibly difficult to store and process effectively. Huge data-sets and complex calculations are often required. But if the data only needs to be stored in one place, the Cloud, and can then be accessed and analyzed by a network of users, then it becomes much easier to deal with efficiently. The Cloud also offers scalability of data storage, which many in-house solutions cannot match.
When you combine this additional speed with the accumulated knowledge and experience available through the collaborative effort, research and development gains a fresh impetus. The overall result should be in new products being able to reach the market much faster.
Operating within the Cloud can also help the life sciences industry sharpen the effectiveness of its global supply chain – costs and delivery times can be reduced if various companies come together to pool resources and place orders; sales reps can immediately see from their tablets or laptops what the stock situation is, and share that knowledge with their colleagues. If the companies operating within the various spheres of the life sciences industry can put to one side their commercial strategies and pool their resources, this could be a model for the benefits of Cloud computing.
This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson. Follow her on Twitter: @katht35