Cloud migration or cloud-first technology is probably the biggest trend and challenge facing CIOs and CTOs at life sciences companies big and small. Really, at the moment, it’s the biggest trend facing all businesses. But it’s often overlooked and misunderstood. People get set in their ways, and they don’t like change, so they fail to recognize how this new technology can help them work smarter, not harder. Learn all about cloud migration and how to put it to good use in your company:
WHAT IS THIS CLOUD SO MANY PEOPLE SPEAK OF?
To begin, you must demystify the cloud. If you are an IT professional you first need to help acclimate employees, some of whom might not be tech savvy, understand the cloud. Cloud computing is a movement, and it can help companies work smarter not harder. But few people really know what it is. “Cloud computing basically refers to a process of sharing resources to optimize performance,” according to Gizmodo. “Practically speaking, that means using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single machine.”
Once your team has a basic understanding of the cloud, you can begin to plan for cloud migration, which entails moving data and business processes from an in-house or hosted systems to the cloud.
By leveraging the power of cloud resources, you can free up funds spent on constantly updating in-house technology and work more efficiently. IT resources can be redeployed or retired for additional cost savings. For life sciences companies, this means having more time to work on life-saving medicines and devices.
Migrating to the cloud is an important trend for life sciences companies – which can have immediate impact on the business – right now.
PROOF THE CLOUD IS THE FUTURE
Even legacy software companies, such as SAP and Oracle, are getting in on the cloud phenomenon. At first, there was trepidation. Oracle, in fact, was notoriously anti-cloud, according to ZDNet.
“For enterprises, it's not enough to have just one function, say SFA [sales force automation] or HCM in the cloud,” said Rajan Krishnan, group vice-president of product development for applications at Oracle, according to ZDNet. “They need end-to-end business processes orchestrated by seamless integration across processes and data, underpinned by standards-based technology.”
WHAT THE CLOUD MEANS FOR LIFE SCIENCES COMPANIES
Migration of accounting and ERP systems like Oracle and SAP to the cloud will result is short and long term cost savings. IT labor and support services will be greatly reduced or eliminated. Companies will buy vs. build resulting in cost savings and reduction in FTEs who were hired to build custom software. Commercial-of-the-shelf (COTS) cloud applications will replace manual business process. For the highly regulated life sciences industry, COTS cloud-based solutions will revolutionize business processes.
Life sciences companies can get in on the act. For starters, moving manual compliance workflows – and other data intensive applications for that matter – to the cloud helps companies become more efficient and spend less money. Clunky first-generation, in-house technology requires expensive overhauls and staff. The cloud and COTS software can eliminate those problems. And the old technology is quickly becoming antiquated.
For example, MediSpend is a leader among COTS compliance solutions for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical devices companies. And it allows companies to both comply with global healthcare regulations and track data that could help executives better strategize and set long-term goals.
Cloud-based software apps are typically intuitive and easy to use. Usually, you can set them up in minutes. We use apps for just about everything in our social lives. Now cloud-based business apps will change the way we do business. In the case of MediSpend’s compliance cloud solution, the app is mobile ready and device independent. You can track all interactions with physicians and healthcare providers as well as teaching hospitals. Every interaction can be tracked and analyzed using the MediSpend Compliance Cloud. In addition to being compliant with healthcare laws, you also get to analyze the real-time business data to determine best practices and perhaps even identify people who are putting the organization at risk!
One of the biggest myths is that data in the cloud is automatically more vulnerable to security and privacy issues. In other words, people think clouds are more insecure and less private. But some experts say clouds are safer than traditional systems. Some experts say that traditional IT systems are only as good as the people who build and maintain them. We explore data security in another blog, but let’s address it at a high-level now.
Case studies provide proof that your data would be secure in the cloud. Most cloud providers use REST encryption to keep information safe. Amazon Web Service (AWS) has more than 1,800 security controls controlling its services, and customers can maintain their own encryption and set controls for who has access to the information, said Ian Massingham, Amazon Web Services' (AWS) chief evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa as reported by BBC.
Also, you can take steps to ensure the safety of your data:
- Keep your most sensitive data on a private cloud as opposed to a public cloud.
- Find services that allow you to determine who has access and control using encryption keys
- Be smart about who receives access to the data in the cloud.
- Constantly monitor data access, storage and retrieval. 24/7/365!
The moral of this trend is that you don’t want to be left out of the cloud.