Background and Setting 

The US pharmaceuticals division of a global chemical and pharmaceutical company utilized information technology (IT) services provided by a centralized corporate MIS organization. There was significant user dissatisfaction with the responsiveness of IT services to pharmaceutical R&D needs. Both corporate and division management recognized that centralized IT support might be inadequate for the rapid growth of this division and its unique R&D environment.

Client Business Objectives and issues

A number of issues were identified.

  • Should the pharmaceutical division manage its own IT organization?
  • Furthermore should R&D IT support be separated form other business functions in the pharmaceuticals division?

If R&D were to manage its own IT support:

  • How would that IT support organization be structured?
  • What IT applications are required in the R&D portfolio?
  • What controls were needed to prioritize investments among competing R&D needs and applications?

How Did UIA Help?

A comprehensive planning process was completed. Its foundation was a global interdepartmental work flow analysis to identify shared data requirements. Systems (applications), data classes, and user groups were mapped among each other so that families of applications which shared data emerged. This analysis revealed that data sharing was not the dominant factor in sequencing applications development. Priorities could largely be established by the relative contribution applications provided to speeding up the drug development process. Each day lost to a new drug under patent protection could represent $1 mm in lost profit if that drug was the dominant drug in a therapeutic area. Applications portfolio priorities were determined by users as part of this planning process.
A new IT organization residing in R&D was recommended along with a user department steering committee structure which helped set development priorities. Position descriptions were developed for support staff. A new charge out system was proposed. New hiring procedures required that users participate in the selection new IT support staff etc.

How the Client Benefited 

All recommendations were implemented. The new organization has operated efficiently and effectively for a number of years. It has been so recognized by its parent pharmaceutical organization in the UK, who look to the US operation as a source of new ideas and innovations in support of pharmaceutical R&D for world-wide application.