Achieving Seamless Coexistence through Integration
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Achieving Seamless Coexistence through Integration

Larry A. Pickett, VP & CIO, Purdue Pharma
Larry A. Pickett, VP & CIO, Purdue Pharma

Larry A. Pickett, VP & CIO, Purdue Pharma

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.

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