What Does an Effective Cloud-Based CTMS Implementation Really Look Like?

By Kayla Leverton | Director, Services, Forte Research Systems
March 16th, 2017


Summary: Explore the CTMS implementation process and learn how preparation can increase the success of a system at your research site.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Selecting a clinical trial management system (CTMS) to help streamline operations at your clinical research site can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. There are multiple factors to consider when searching for the right system to meet your site’s needs, including functionality and ease-of-use. However, it’s also important to consider the time and effort it will take to get your new CTMS up and running.

Proper implementation can make or break the success of a system at your site, and one of the most important steps is to determine an effective implementation timeline. Here, we provide an excerpt from our free eBook “Implementing a CTMS: Essential Steps to Get You Started” to give you an idea of what it takes to implement a CTMS and how to develop a successful timeline.

What is an implementation timeline?

Essentially, an implementation timeline is the steps you’ll follow – and the timing of those steps – to begin using your new CTMS. In the software industry, we refer to this as “go-live.” The term go-live means different things to different people. Some may interpret it as the day they sign the contract with their vendor. Others might say it’s the day they enter their first protocol. Yet, others might refer to it as the time after their initial training is complete.

It’s important to determine what this concept means to you and your team and to set goals for when you plan to reach go-live. Decide the date for your team’s go-live and work backwards to determine the steps it will take to reach that point.

Phased implementation

Hopefully you’ve chosen a system that not only supports all of your current processes, but also provides functionality that will allow you to enhance and improve those processes. To experience the greatest ROI, you’ll want to use all parts of the system. However, when it comes to rolling out a new CTMS, it’s best to initially focus on the core functionality needed for your current processes.

If you don’t have the resources readily available for full-system implementation, it may be more manageable to set long-term goals using a phased implementation plan. Creating smaller, achievable implementation goals will make it easier for you and your key users to focus on learning the most relevant parts of the CTMS.

Prioritizing areas of the clinical trial process that are the most significant and need the most immediate attention at your site will determine which elements of the CTMS should be implemented first.


The way you tier your implementation process is entirely dependent on your site’s specific needs. Here are some examples of potential phased implementations:

Functionality approach

Phase 1: Subjects and Visits

Phase 2: Financials

Phase 3: Patient recruitment

Phase 4: Business development

Protocol approach

Phase 1: Enter brand new studies and those open to enrollment

Phase 2: Transfer/enter data from studies opened in the last 12 months

Phase 3: Transfer/enter data from older/closed studies

To learn more about the CTMS implementation process and ways you can increase the success of a system at your site, download our free eBook “Implementing a CTMS: Essential Steps to Get You Started.”

About the Author

As Director of Services, Kayla manages and markets Forte’s service offerings. Dedicated to helping research organizations and staff achieve their research and operational goals, Kayla works collaboratively to provide prescriptive solutions to the Forte community. Kayla is an active contributor to Forte’s content team.

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