5 Signs Your Clinical Research Site Needs a Business Intelligence Solution

Kristina Lopienski
August 21st, 2018

Any large research organization is sitting on piles of data – which continues to grow daily – yet many are not equipped to analyze their data quick enough to gain any value from it.

Business intelligence (BI), or the transformation of raw, unstructured data into meaningful information is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. Fortunately, with many advancements in tools and technologies, the proactive and strategic research organization can effortlessly gain deep insights into clinical research performance.

Here are the telltale signs that your organization is in need of a business intelligence solution.

1. You have lots of data but no real information

Perhaps you see the value of analytics but don’t have statisticians or the required resources on hand to do much with your data. Maybe your capabilities go as far as looking at past data, wondering what you should have done differently or how you can go back and fix an issue. Regardless, you sense that your site can improve, but you aren’t certain how or what exactly to act on.

Turning insight into action is where the rubber meets the road. Without real-time, proactive analytics, it’s difficult to prioritize tasks and discover issues before they become full-blown problems. BI lets you immediately identify where to fine-tune operations and how to meet organizational goals.

It makes sense of the data for you, so you can make better, more informed decisions regarding what you need to act on in the moment, as well as answer questions from senior leadership, external advisory committees and funders.

[Related article: A Statistician’s Viewpoint on Metrics for Your Research Program]

2. Other tools aren’t cutting it

You’ve tried certain tools – from custom report building software to homegrown systems – but they are overly challenging for a variety of reasons:

  • There’s a very steep learning curve
  • You only have (and can afford) a handful of licenses, restricting access for people who need it
  • There is not enough control over security and/or permissions to ensure only the appropriate people view the information they should see
  • It’s not easily linked to the other systems you use
  • Even those who have been using it for a while are frustrated by its complexity

Alternatively, those who use Excel as their go-to solution often encounter many challenges. These include data errors, outdated and siloed data, and a significant resource investment for manual data gathering, organizing, sorting and analysis.

Business Intelligence automatically delivers real-time data when you need it to make strategic decisions. Gaining a unified, accurate view of the bigger picture using a BI tool that pulls data from other sources allows for a fast and comprehensive analysis.

3. You’ve hired a resource but other demands pop up

A resource dedicated to report writing, statistics, or IT can be pulled in countless directions. Even a team of dedicated resources may not be able to create all the visualizations an organization wants across leadership, operations and more.

BI is often pushed to the back burner for more urgent requests, causing delays in receiving the information when relying on technical experts. Such bottlenecks can hurt operations.

The good news is that certain BI tools don’t require any IT resources. They provide non-technical end users with the information they need, as soon as they need it. This is not to replace those dedicated resources, but enable them to focus on other value-add activities.

4. You don’t have time to generate the insights you need

It can be difficult to commit to manually compiling monthly or quarterly reports because it takes so much time. In clinical research, every moment spent on tasks that could be automated is money and time wasted.

Report preparation is cumbersome and complicated, involving days and weeks of compiling data from multiple systems, cleaning it, aggregating it, stylizing it to be presentable for a meeting, and making it available to different people or teams.

With BI solutions, this process can take minutes or even seconds, displaying easy-to-interpret dashboards with the most up-to-date data. For example, you can instantly visualize which protocols are in trouble or outside of a certain range in a split second. Then, with the click of a button, you can dig deeper at the protocol-level for more information, rather than searching through tons of spreadsheets.

[Related article: Business Intelligence for Clinical Research: Customization vs. Community-Developed]

5. You seem behind with metrics in comparison to other sites

If you are not as proactive or in control of your full portfolio as you could be, you may be missing out on everything from better study opportunities to significant funding increases.

To make better decisions, you need better information. One of the greatest benefits of implementing a business intelligence solution is having a holistic view of your organization’s performance. Objective data can help move an organization forward and gain a competitive edge. A data-driven site that acts on business intelligence can even outperform a more established site with greater resources.

As a bonus, if a BI tool is developed in collaboration with the customer community, you will have the opportunity to use visualizations that similar sites had in mind and gain new ways of analyzing data that you may never have thought of before.

[Related article: The Value of Collaboratively-Developed Analytics in Clinical Research]

Discover how to instantly uncover insights

A business intelligence solution is an investment that clinical research organizations can no longer ignore. Every modern organization needs to run on intelligence and not guesswork. Luckily, BI is becoming more cost-effective, efficient, and fast, so clinical research organizations don’t have to spend massive amounts of time and money before seeing any return.

If you recognize any of the pain points listed above, it’s time to investigate how BI can help transform your data into actionable information.

For sites using OnCore, Forte Insights is a pre-integrated business intelligence and analytics tool that automatically populates data from OnCore into sophisticated dashboards. It’s ready to use “out-of-the-box,” tailored to clinical research processes and matching how your organization is structured in OnCore, including custom reference codes, organizationally structured management groups and institution-specific filters.

With Forte Insights, you can set goals, monitor progress toward them and project future outcomes, using a compliant and managed infrastructure. Because it’s collaboratively and continuously developed, you’re not just buying the reports you haven’t yet created, but buying into the whole of what others are doing – the community.

Learn more about Forte Insights