During the industrial revolution companies that can effectively manage their raw materials gain competitive advantage through their efficiencies. Take for example Carnegie Steel Company in the early 1900s. Carnegie Steel was the most successful company in its time because it was effective managing raw materials and the complexity of its businesses by being innovators in its industry. Now in the global information economy of the 21st century, effective information management is critical to gaining competitive advantage. In virtually all industries businesses collect, store, validate, analyze, and share data. Company that can best transform these data into information will have an edge in realizing their speed to insight. When data can be transformed into information, vast knowledge can be gain resulting in better and timely decision making.
In the Pharmaceutical industry there are many challenges to product development. This is an industry where intellectual property asset is the life blood of its survival.
Challenges in the pharmaceutical industry:
Lack of data integration forces pharmaceutical companies to introduce many manual measures into the overall clinical trial processes to ensure quality of data, compliance to regulatory mandates, and provide quality patient care. In late phase clinical trials, shortening cycle time is critical to being competitive in this highly regulated industry, especially in “block-buster” drugs. Huge opportunities exist to leverage information technology in ways that would shorten the lifespan of clinical trials without sacrificing quality. So what can we do to address these business imperatives and technical challenges with data integration?
If we break down the fundamental components of data integration challenges, we would see the following information value chain; Collection of Data, Storage of Data, Validation of Data, Analysis of Data, and
Sharing of Data. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Information Value Chain
Off course the information value chain is only one major component of the Information Ecosystem. In order for pharmaceutical companies to capitalize and realize efficiencies; information standards and architecture standards must be define to ensure common implementations.
In the Information Ecosystem, the following characteristics are important.
Information collected, stored, validated, analyzed, and shared are created by end users and consumed by end users via the same access mechanisms for example, Desktop computers, Tablet PCs, and PDA.
See Figure 2: Information Ecosystem
One could make the case that these fundamental activities are common to all industries in addition to the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry. For example companies need to manage their information system to as a naturally consequence of doing business. In the Automotive Industry, Ford Motor Company would transform information into the cars and trucks that we drive. In the Life Sciences industry; pharmaceutical companies such as Merck would transformed information into the drugs we consumed.
In all cases data integration is a key component in effectively management the Information Ecosystem. In the Pharmaceutical industry as in most other industry, data are constantly being collected. The actions and decisions performed on these data are then collected to form new data. This constant data interactions is a natural occurrence as a by product of normal interactions between the consumers of the data and the data itself. See Figure 3 – Data Interaction.
Figure 3: Data Interaction