Over the next couple weeks, I'll be blogging frequently about Microsoft will be demonstrating and showing at the 2008 DIA Annual Meeting in Boston.  We'll be covering everything from Part 11 compliance, collaboration, validation, electronic data capture, clinical trials management, and a new paradigms around data visualization.

One of the themes of our booth this year is around "Compliant Collaboration".  Now, I know what you're thinking: "those two terms - compliance and collaboration - are not often used together".  And yet, why not? 

Typically they aren't thought of together because some of the legacy systems that Life Sciences companies use for regulated document management aren't thought of as particularly user friendly, or thought of as particularly integrated with the usual authoring environments, or thought of as particularly easy to find the information that is stored in them.

And yet, that appears to be changing.  The first driver behind this is the incredible uptake on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.  The number of organizations deploying SharePoint is vast - and not just Life Sciences companies themselves, but other organizations too.  For instance, CDISC is now using SharePoint for collaborating on developing the CDISC standards. 

The second driver is the number of software vendors that are themselves adopting SharePoint, and utilizing it as a front end for their own software: Documentum, FCG (now CSC) FirstPoint, and NextDocs as examples in the regulated document management space.

But the question of compliance still comes up.  In response to that, last year we wrote a white paper on configuring SharePoint for Part 11 compliance, a white paper that has had a HUGE number of downloads over the last 12 months.  (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/e-n-us/architectur/bb286569.aspx)

This year we are going a step further by taking that white paper and implementing it in a demonstration of "Compliant Collaboration" using SharePoint in a clinical trials environment.  And then, post DIA, we'll be using this space to talk about how the demonstration was configured, and how a Life Sciences company can take that learning and apply it to their own situation.

You'll want to pay attention to this space over the next couple months, as we dive into how the demonstration was built, and how SharePoint can be used to share documents in a compliant, clinical trials environment.

So - do take a moment to drop by our booth at DIA and see what Microsoft is up to in the Life Sciences!