Why You Should Move Regulated Applications to the Cloud

My team has just been assigned a new project, the on-premise deployment and qualification of our Montrium Connect - eTMF Connect for a new client. As with all new projects, I stop and organize my first steps, although this time I think a little longer than usual, why? - I have managed projects like this many times before, with no previous apprehension. 

We have a comprehensive project plan, tried and tested for this type of project, a standard risk register that we will put to good use, an expert team well versed in the technology and regulatory requirements…. 

So where is this nagging feeling coming from?  Ah!  A new client with an on-premise system means a new infrastructure to evaluate and understand.  This can cause unforeseen issues down the line if the environment hasn’t been set up correctly so I need to do my homework and plan well.

I am in no way against deploying regulated applications in an existing IT infrastructure. On-premise deployment often is the best option, especially when previous infrastructure investments or an internal technical team can be leveraged. However, when you are dependent on existing infrastructure in the deployment of a new technological product, as an on-premise deployment often is, you need to understand and manage this complex variable.  

As a provider of technological solutions, I love cloud deployments because it significantly simplifies and speeds-up product delivery while reducing the overall risks associated with the effort.  Here is a short list of why we love cloud computing, and you should too.

Reason #1 - Full Control of the Environment

As stated above, cloud-based deployments eliminate technical variables. We know the cloud infrastructure will work perfectly with our product since it was already built and tested for that. This enables us to eliminate costly delays in platform re-qualification and cloud environment set up.

Reason #2 - No Critical Procedures Missing

You would be surprised how often a single missing procedure on the client side can cause costly delays. Even if procedures are not missing, you will most likely need to update existing ones and this can also become challenging. With a cloud-based deployment, templates for most of the required procedures are delivered with the solution, which highly reduces the burden and time required for companies to put them in place.

Reason #3 - Shorter Projects = Happy Client

With a cloud-based project, we can get clients working in the systems much sooner, taking less than a month to deploy applications, compared to 3 to 6 months for a typical on-premise installation.  With a not so distant end result in mind, it also makes it that much easier to keep the project team working on easily achievable milestones from beginning to end.

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Reason #4 - Return on Investment

The upfront cost of deploying a cloud-based regulated application in a multi-tenant environment is hardly significant when compared with an on-premise solution. This makes the ROI cycle extremely short. If you are a smaller organization without a large IT team at your disposal, you are also benefiting from a significant economy of scale.  Managing low investment and high return projects reduces the pressure on the sponsors, stakeholders and product providers alike.   It’s hard not to appreciate the impact this has on everyone when you are responsible for delivering such a project.

Reason #5 - Dedicated Support Teams 

The needs for a strong and structured internal support team are less important with cloud deployments, due to the nature of the way the application is offered. We all know it takes time to put in place a proper internal support structure for new applications, so saving time and money can be a great motivator for a move to the cloud. Typical cloud-based deployment projects come with a dedicated support team.

Reason #6 - Flexibility

One of the most attractive parts of cloud computing for us, as vendors, is the ability to be flexible in the provision of additional services. As soon as my client needs to increase storage space or bandwidth of their environment; we can satisfy that need with our cloud service provider extremely quickly.

If you are embarking on a cloud deployment, reading our recently updated cloud qualification guideline for Microsoft Azure may be of benefit to you and your team. As part of our Professional Services offerings, we provide document templates for Azure qualification and we also offer consulting services to help clients implement a cloud strategy or deploy and qualify a cloud-based environment.

What is your view on the application of cloud technologies in the Life Sciences? Are you currently managing regulated content in the cloud? If so, comment below!

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About the Author: Frederic Landry

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