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The Problem with Documents

With countless millions still being spent on systems to manage documents and files, the Life Sciences Industry struggles with inefficiencies, human errors, low visibility and the high costs of managing the lifecycle of medical, clinical and regulatory information. These documents and files are critical to drug development and commercialization, but using a document metaphor to create and manage information results in a significant drain on time, resources and budget.

Information Trapped within Documents is the Root Cause of Inefficiency and Error

The problem lies in the fact that information contained and stored within a document is inherently trapped, difficult to find and cumbersome to repurpose. The only way to reuse this information is by copying and pasting between documents. Obviously, this manual, archaic process is fertile ground for the introduction of errors, both during the document creation process or when a high-profile trigger forces a cascading update to documents around the world.

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The Opportunity to Do Better

But what if there was better way? Instead of managing documents containing untold amounts of replicated information, what if you could manage the information itself as discrete components? That’s the vision of component authoring. Create and manage a single version of a dosing table and have it automatically disseminate and populate to any document or website that needs it. Critical content updates become trivial in this scenario and the opportunity to reuse pre-approved components of information explodes.

Some have tried to execute on this vision with various XML and file-based solutions but a flawed starting point can only lead to a sub-optimal solution. The XML path starts and ends with complexity, leaving authors frustrated and unproductive while adding additional burdens to already stressed IT departments. Storing information in files is the crux of the problem to begin with, and the issues will persist until a more forward looking approach is considered.

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The Author-it Solution

Author-it is a world leader in component-based solutions, purpose-built for Life Sciences. We seek to solve one of Biopharma’s major challenges, the inefficiency of managing information across functional areas for the lifecycle of drug development from lab to launch.

The Author-it platform combines a familiar, intuitive user interface with the power of a database to provide a centralized source of reusable information. Author’s are spared from having to contend with complicated XML tagging, and organizations are able to share reusable content seamlessly across documents, websites and presentations created throughout the drug development lifecycle.

Author-it’s customers have felt the benefits. Here a just a handful of their reported outcomes:

  • Reuse of core medical information resulting in cost avoidance savings of 28-42% across 100s of knowledge workers
  • Improved quality, compliance and consistency of disseminated information
  • Achievement of 70-90% component reusability saving millions
  • 50% reduction to localization expense with faster turn-around annually saving $1.2 million
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How to get Started

While the results are impressive, some feel overwhelmed at the prospect of pursuing this path. Granted without the appropriate expertise, guidance and technology there will be many challenges to overcome. Author-it has memorialized the best practices of over 17 years of experience in component authoring into a process that not only ensures, but forces success.

The Best Practice Rollout depicted below summarizes this path. Each step of the process includes a decision gate that ensures value before moving to the next step. De-risking the journey for our customers is a critical tenant of the approach.

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Content Assessment & Information Optimization

The first step in the journey is to prove the benefit of adopting component authoring before asking anyone in the organization to change the way they currently do business. This non-intrusive step begins with Author-it Content Strategists employing sophisticated text analysis software across your document set to unveil hidden opportunities for reuse, standardization and improvement of authoring processes. The direct result of this effort is a content architecture that defines the business value of pursuing component authoring for the creation and maintenance of mission critical documents. You will know at the outset the specific benefits your organization can achieve before make a large commitment of time and resources.

Prototype and Content Migration

Once the value of the approach is clear, the next step is to prove it. A focused, use case inspired, prototype is configured to make concrete all of the benefits set forth during the assessment step. Scope here is the key. The initial scope should be large enough to demonstrate value yet tight enough to show rapid success. This rapid success serves as a launching pad for wider adoption. Ultimately, the wider the adoption, the larger the overall benefit to the organization.

Train, Test, Deploy and Support

The final step in the process is to ensure author success via training and ongoing support. Note that the prototype configured in the previous step is not a throwaway system, rather it is a full production system, limited in scope that can be easily scaled to implement additional use cases or to accommodate a larger set of authors. Even after training is complete, authors are not left to fend for themselves. Author-it provides post-deployment hyper-care to ensure that authors are comfortable with all aspects of the solution and are truly positioned to take advantage of their increased capabilities.

Adoption, change management and sustainability strategies are key themes addressed throughout the process.