Getting the Most from Your Integrated Site Solutions

Stuart Cotter
Director of Product Success, Forte
March 7th, 2019

Over the past two decades, technology providers have developed a multitude of software solutions to optimize clinical research workflows. Whether you’re looking for a solution targeted to a role or department, or a specific workflow within a clinical trial, there’s likely a product or service to address your needs.  

With multiple vendors solving these different business needs, system integration has become a necessity to ensure proper workflows and communication across teams. Centralizing data and building strategic workflows can provide a wealth of benefits for research organizations. As the technology landscape has evolved, technology vendors have partnered in an attempt to create a seamless study management experience throughout the life of a protocol.

While these integrations often provide short-term benefits for organizations, they can also have long-term consequences. As software vendors’ product roadmaps, market focus and other priorities evolve over time, workflows between integrated systems can suffer. As a result, many organizations opt to choose a single-vendor solution for their clinical research technology. Here are a few reasons to choose a single-vendor ecosystem.

Strategic, Comprehensive Product Management

When utilizing integrated software from two or more separate vendors, one company modifying critical functionality that affects your integration can cause significant delays in your processes, and at worst rendering the integration useless. While vendors often go to great lengths to avoid these situations, it’s often difficult to understand how a seemingly insignificant change in System A can create downstream issues with System B. A single partner vendor will review every new feature to consider how it will affect your existing workflows across multiple products and ensure that limited disruption occurs.

Consistent UI Across Multiple Platforms

A single-vendor solution also allows for a standardized user interface (UI) across multiple products. For team members referencing separate applications, and administrative/IT staff supporting those applications, a consistent UI makes learning a system and adapting to new features and workflows much easier. This optimizes the efficiency of your current teams, while also making onboarding new team members much easier.

A Single Source of Support

Additionally, the need to identify which vendor to call when a product integration fails can be frustrating and lead to drawn-out, inadequate resolutions. While your vendor’s support staff undoubtedly has your best interests at heart, they may not fully understand your business from end-to-end. A single point of contact to partner with for supporting both systems ensures you will not be bounced around between companies, and you will speak with a professional that understands your business across applications.

Implementation and Training

When thinking about implementing multiple new systems, working with a single-vendor solution, you can focus on implementing based on your goals and timelines. Instead of having two different implementation teams, two different training philosophies, two workflow standard operating procedures, and two different bills from the vendor(!); a single partner will work to outline a holistic approach to implement multiple systems in parallel and use the integrations to save time and effort in rolling out each application. 

Undoubtedly, more and more software solutions will be available in the future to better support more efficient and higher quality clinical trials. As your institution considers the adoption of these tools, place careful consideration on how you will effectively combine the sum of each systems advantages to ensure long-term success across your business.    

At Forte, we believe that a single-partner solution is best for organizations seeking to integrate their research systems. Our OnCore Enterprise Research System and Forte eRegulatory Management System offer an integrated approach to managing your entire protocol timeline.