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NetSuite: The Solution to Clinical Research Organization Software Challenges

The Overview: NetSuite for Clinical Research Organization

The ‘Life Sciences’ sector comprises of companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies focused on developing products and services that help improve the quality of human lives. Clinical research organizations (CROs) are a subset of contract research organizations that provide clinical trials and other research support services to various industries. These industries include:

  • Pharmacy
  • Medical Equipment
  • Biotechnology
  • Government Agency

Research and development of new products and therapeutics is the primary goal of most life sciences companies. Still, these companies are often unable to accurately and efficiently track the performance of their programs. Businesses in this space require meticulous project management, including accurate tracking, inventory control, and cost management, as pre-revenue research evolves into a marketable product.  The ability to track and map these operating costs across multiple dimensions and segments is a critical need. Unfortunately, many life sciences companies lack the systems and processes to meet these needs. CROs may seem ill-suited to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, but let’s be honest, CROs face precisely the same challenges that ERP systems deal with.

NetSuite provides a comprehensive platform for managing these processes, offering CROs a range of powerful tools and features to support their operations.

In addition, NetSuite provides robust financial management capabilities that enable CROs to manage budgets and expenses, track revenue and billing, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. This is particularly important in the highly regulated clinical research world, where strict guidelines and reporting requirements must be met.

NetSuite also offers a range of reporting and analytics tools that enable CROs to gain deep insights into their operations and make data-driven decisions. With NetSuite, CROs can quickly generate reports on key performance indicators (KPIs), and monitor financial performance. NetSuite provides CROs with a comprehensive and integrated platform for managing their operations, from recruitment to financial management and regulatory compliance. With its powerful capabilities and flexibility, NetSuite is an ideal solution for CROs looking to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and drive better business outcomes.

Software Challenges that Clinical Research Organizations Face

Clinical research organizations (CROs) face various software challenges in their operations, many of which are specific to the highly regulated nature of the clinical research industry. Here are some of the most common software challenges that CROs face:

Challenge #1 – Multiple Software Management

Clinical trials generate large volumes of data, from patient information to study results. Managing and analyzing this data can be challenging, particularly for CROs using disparate software systems. On average, CROs use between 6 and 8 different business software applications. Many of them cannot be integrated to work together or are too expensive to integrate. It is because the organization has segmented departments that don’t have an easy way to collaborate on projects. Employees must enter most data manually, often multiple times in different applications. Manual entry is often error-prone, primarily when replicating between different software. This imitation of manual entry is highly inefficient and reduces productivity. The lack of an inter-connected system can result in team operating in silos, creating inconsistent data, and errors.

Challenge #2 – Financial Management:

Clinical trials are expensive, and managing budgets, invoices, and payments can be challenging for CROs. Many CRO customers require different forms of billing and usually need a medical billing software for small business to perform their tasks. You should be able to create a project that can handle 2 or 3 billing units within the same project. These billing methods are often piece-based billing and time/material billing. Robust financial management software solutions can help CROs track expenses, generate invoices, and manage payments.

Challenge #3- Execution:

The third most significant challenge is one that most companies can agree on—a faster and more efficient way to complete customer surveys. Since most CROs use multiple business applications, these application silos slow down the project. As mentioned earlier, manually entering data in multiple applications creates a very inefficient work process. These silos and lack of communication between departments only make things worse.

This is what the CRO industry survey found.

o   100% of her respondents wanted business application integration.

o   72% of respondents said that integrating different applications is their biggest challenge.

o   Fifty percent say these integration challenges limit their organization’s ability to improve clinical operations. 

Challenge #4 – Compliance:

Clinical research is subject to strict regulatory requirements, including those set by the FDA, EMA, and other regulatory bodies. Ensuring compliance with these regulations requires robust software solutions to manage documentation, track changes, and provide audit trails.

Challenge #5 – Collaboration:

Clinical trials involve many stakeholders, including researchers, clinicians, patients, and regulatory authorities. Effective collaboration is essential for the success of a clinical trial, but it can be difficult to achieve with disparate software systems that don’t communicate with each other.

The Solution: NetSuite ERP

CROs face various software challenges that can impact the success of their operations. Addressing these challenges requires robust, integrated software solutions supporting data management, compliance, collaboration, patient recruitment and retention, and financial management.

NetSuite ERP is an ideal solution for addressing the software challenges clinical research organizations (CROs) face. Here are some ways that NetSuite can help CROs overcome these challenges:

  • NetSuite provides a centralized platform for managing all business functions.
  • Singular Data Repository where patient data, study results, and financial data can be stored. This eliminates the need for disparate software systems and helps prevent data silos and errors.
  • NetSuite includes robust features for compliance with regulatory requirements, including audit trails, document management. This helps CROs maintain compliance with FDA, EMA, and other regulatory bodies.
  • NetSuite offers a range of collaboration tools, including project management, task management, and document sharing. This enables CROs to collaborate effectively with researchers, clinicians, patients, and regulatory authorities.
  • NetSuite provides robust financial management capabilities, including budget tracking, expense management, invoicing, and payment processing. This helps CROs manage their budgets effectively and ensure timely payments to vendors and contractors.
  • NetSuite’s inventory management system can handle many attributes of items required for everyday use. Multiple units of measure can be used to differentiate how goods are purchased, stored, sold, and consumed.
  • Cycle counting allows you to count your inventory step by step, giving you accurate inventory levels in your system and what’s on your lab shelves in real-time.

The Final Outcome

NetSuite, the #1 cloud-based ERP application, has seen a surge in life sciences companies using the system to support their ongoing operational and financial management needs. With NetSuite, organizations can produce accurate reports that meet stakeholder needs and provide operational support to scientists and researchers.

NetSuite ERP Implementation & Solutions by Folio3

Folio3 has partnered with numerous companies to help them implement NetSuite and implement key practices to achieve scalability and transparency while transforming research into revenue-generating products.

Whether your company operates pre-market, conducts clinical trials, manufactures products, or works post-market, our NetSuite experts collect, manage, and deliver data from scientists. It helps bridge the gap between creating valuable reports based on NetSuite.

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