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Build vs. Buy: Why More Life Sciences Companies are Outsourcing Clinical Data Platforms

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come

Clinical data management and clinical operations leaders know that outdated data review processes can seriously impede achieving faster time-to-market and submission approvals. The need for an effective clinical data platform has never been higher – a greater number of life sciences companies are reporting using upwards of seven external data sources in clinical trials. As the industry grows more reliant on non-traditional data sources like wearables, sensors, and decentralized clinical trial data, many data management teams are struggling to keep up with the vast influx and variety of data. The question of whether to build data management software in-house or invest in an external data platform is often raised as companies try to combat the data chaos.

During the recent elluminate Engage 2021 virtual conference, we heard from a number of industry leaders on ways their organizations are approaching the data deluge. While processes are unique from team to team, one best practice was clear amid the conversations: implementing a robust clinical data platform that can aggregate disparate data sources into a single source of truth is essential for efficient clinical data management.

While identifying the right clinical data management software and then initiating adoption can be challenging, the task of building a platform from the ground-up can present an even greater obstacle. The core priorities of clinical development teams can end up waylaid while expending internal resources to develop software, when they could be applying their knowledge to garner actionable insights from an out-of-the-box data management system.

In the elluminate Engage panel discussion on Digital Transformation and Innovation, eClinical Solutions’  CEO and Co-founder Raj Indupuri asked the panelists their thoughts on whether companies should build or buy a clinical data platform. Greg Moody, Vice President, Research and Development IT at Biogen, Igor Proscurshim, Vice President, Head of Clinical Development at Ichnos Sciences, and Venu Mallarapu, Senior Director of Life Sciences/Global Head of R&D at Cognizant each contributed their unique perspectives on why they would choose a platform like the elluminate clinical data cloud above building software in-house.

The technology capabilities needed to accommodate the growing volume and variety of clinical data are more than most life science organizations are equipped to manage on their own. The rose-colored appeal of building a custom solution in-house can cause teams to take on too much too quickly and end up delaying their larger goals while wading through a sea of code. As Igor Proscurshim shared, “We should be developing drugs, not developing software. Often whoever proposes the building of an internal software vastly underestimates the complexity of that build.”

We should be developing drugs, not developing software. Often whoever proposes the building of an internal software vastly underestimates the complexity of that build.

Igor Proscurshim, Ichnos Sciences

It’s an understandable conundrum, as clinical development leaders look to their highly skilled and experienced team members and ask, “Why shouldn’t we be able to do this ourselves?” However, Greg Moody of Biogen shared as someone who has been tasked with building software himself in his career, the value of working from an interoperable, configurable platform like elluminate is that it “provides guard rails so that we know we have a stable, scalable, reliable and forward-thinking environment that we’re building from.”

When approaching the task of building internally, teams often underestimate the necessity of a platform that they can maintain, scale, and rely on to prepare for future-readiness. Venu Mallarapu recommends that companies make a trade-off from investing in a custom-built solution for one that is much more predictable from an investment standpoint with a commercial, out-of-the box platform. He suggests that companies “invest more in the use of these platforms because that’s where you’re really going to drive a lot more value and a lot more outcomes for your organization.”

In an era of overwhelming amounts of data, outsourcing a clinical data platform helps alleviate the manual data review burden and provides access to higher quality data faster. Utilizing a pre-built platform that provides self-service access to all your clinical data and enables interoperability between different areas of the data pipeline enables teams to make faster and smarter business decisions. With the elluminate clinical data cloud, companies can track data across the trial lifecycle and leverage comprehensive visualization and analytics to proactively manage clinical studies and achieve automated and streamlined clinical data review.

To learn more about the benefits elluminate can provide to your organization, request a demo today.


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