How to Transform Your
Lab and Business
The biggest challenges many elite enter- prises face are actually external forces completely out of their control, from geopolitical and economic macro trends
to global threats to health and the environment.
This lack of control creates a tumultuous global
business climate that conspires to unravel even
the most well-thought-out strategic plans.
Businesses can no longer adopt a wait-and-see
approach. To have any chance of sustained success, today’s enterprises must be more agile and
aggressive than ever.
In many industries, from pharmaceuticals
to food, business agility is dependent on a
well-funded, efficient and prolific R&D function. Successful companies tirelessly monitor
performance and quality, and are psychologically and structurally ready to capitalize on every
new opportunity to transform and grow. These
successful enterprises have discovered that four
drivers are critical to sustained business transformation: business intelligence, innovation,
automation and integration. When all four drivers are in sync, business transformation isn’t just
a strategy anymore, it’s a state of being.
For those businesses unfamiliar to the four
drivers, all is not lost. In fact, many established
businesses are closer than they think to trans-
formation because they’ve spent more than two
decades methodically adding technology in the
business version of “keeping up with the Jone-
ses”. But all this investment will be for naught
unless corporations strategically align non-inte-
grated, often disparate technology and resources
in ways that enable maximum agility, and there’s
no better place to start realignment than with
research and development.
Drivers of transformation
The pull of technology is a constant when
advancing your business. And for a R&D laboratory of any size, new technologies go well
beyond analytical instrument advancements
alone. Yes, technology is an enabling catalyst that
can accelerate transformation, but it can also
distract by putting constant pressure on laboratories and their management to stay ahead.
Technology is simply a means to an end: data.
Data is the true currency of business, especially
in the laboratory, and business transformation is
unsurprisingly linked to effective data manage-
ment. Even with the best laboratory instruments
and information technology infrastructure in
place, there may be little difference between one
point solution and another. It is how the data
is used across the enterprise to enable business
intelligence and decision making that becomes
the distinct competitive advantage.
A flexible data management solution, such as
a laboratory information management system
(LIMS), is designed to enable business intelli-
gence and decision making. A LIMS is an invalu-
able tool that can be configured and integrated to
transform any organization, allowing activities,
both inside and outside the enterprise environ-
ment, to be automated and monitored for greater
efficiency, productivity and data integrity.
Because LIMS are so tightly integrated with
other enterprise operation systems, insights
from a LIMS-enabled R&D laboratory are
infinitely more important to businesses seeking
true enterprise-wide agility than previously
realized. Enterprises aren’t only capturing and
collecting data; they are making data actionable,
positioning management to transform their
companies into nimble enterprises capable
of responding quickly to new regulations or
market trends and flexible enough to know and
capitalize on cost-saving or margin-growing
opportunities in the future.
Implementing the four pillars
To be business transformation ready, a company
must rely on a platform that is reinforced by four
pillars: business intelligence, innovation, automation and integration. The good news is that
many R&D functions have already invested in
some aspects of these pillars, so implementation
is less burdensome than many realize.
Business intelligence (BI)
Many organizations declare success once they’ve
acquired the ability to quickly and efficiently
collect, store and organize knowledge. To be
truly business transformation ready, however,
companies must use BI to do more than organize;
they must insist on action. In many enterprises,
if a manager or executive wants to see laboratory
progress or productivity reports, for example, the
IT department has to step in. This extra step dis-
By automating the laboratory and bridging islands of data, laboratories gain time and cost savings,
as well as access to real-time information that can be used across the enterprise. Image: Thermo