Achieving Seamless Coexistence through Integration
SharePoint Collaborating with CRO Organizations
We utilize SharePoint for our Clinical Study repository [referred to as an Electronic Trial Master File (eTMF) system]. It is used to collaborate with contract CRO organizations who access it externally. When a CRO consultant uploads a clinical study file to the repository, a Purdue study manager is notified with an alert and link to the file. Specific documents are easy to locate with metadata tagging and standard taxonomy.
"Most end-users don’t understand or know how to leverage the integration points. Microsoft Office 365 provides tighter and more apparent integration"
Purdue also leverages Microsoft for Active Directory, System Center, Exchange and Office productivity suite. Our desktop environment is primarily Windows 7 using direct access for seamless remote connectivity. Purdue is about to transition to Office 365 cloud services for email, OneDrive and SharePoint.
Microsoft’s Office Integration is Underutilized
All components in MS Office are tightly integrated. When connected to SharePoint, the integration level deepens with Active Directory for managing access. However, Microsoft’s on-premise Office integration is largely underutilized. Most endusers don’t understand or know how to leverage the integration points. Microsoft Office 365 provides tighter and more apparent integration. When purchasing and implementing a Microsoft Solution, carefully analyze business requirements to determine which requirements can be met with Microsoft and which require a third party solution. Also, leverage Microsoft’s in-house expertise as often as possible.
Upgrades to SharePoint are Difficult and Time-Consuming
We purchase third party tools to meet business requirements. For example, we needed to validate our SharePoint eTMF solution and purchased an audit reporting tool called MetalogixControlPoint. Upgrades to SharePoint are difficult and time-consuming; requiring upgrades to be planned well in advance. Microsoft provides a strong framework in most implementations, however, additional development and internal or external support is required to fully realize the benefit of the solutions. Also SharePoint is difficult to upgrade; an in-place upgrade is not possible and third-party tools are always required. We upgraded SharePoint this way from versions 2003, 2007, and 2010 to 2013.
Benefits of SharePoint
SharePoint’s cloud-based model is costeffective, requires less staff, and is in the direction that all companies are moving toward. All instances of Office, SharePoint and Exchange, should be in the cloud. Microsoft Office 365 offers infrastructure service in the cloud eliminating the need for on-premise servers. Even with a virtualized environment, the cloud services reduce support and infrastructure requirements significantly. We deployed a SharePoint solution for our Risk Management and Epidemiology department called “EPICore”, allowing the department to track and categorize epidemiology study information. Alerts and easy-to-configure security add value to our business partners by allowing them to organize, categorize, and easily find documents.
Old Versions of Solutions should be Retired
One mistake companies make is that they implement a new version of a solution whilean older version of the same solution is till in-use. This results in IT staff supporting multiple instances of the same platform. Older versions of solutions should be retired. Office 365 promises an evergreen environment. Using these services will keep development and infrastructure services up-to-date.
Microsoft Based Solutions Supporting Access from Everywhere
Work closely with your implementation team and leverage existing Microsoft expertise. Also, when upgrading, retire the older version. Lastly, review business requirements to determine which can be met with the base Microsoft solution and which require a third-party solution. Develop new Microsoft based solutions in Office 365 that support access from everywhere and stay evergreen with Microsoft’s new Office 365 update cadence. When possible, provide access to applications and services through a web interface for cross platform support.