Software has the power to transform business operations by streamlining processes and driving efficiencies. Growing businesses can generate vast quantities of data which can be difficult to manage across multiple platforms and spreadsheets. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the life science sector.
Historically, Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP – monoliths were the dominant force. These solutions combined administrative finance and HR functions with operational capability for manufacturing and distribution, allowing the smooth flow of data between different processes. Sounds great in principle, however, these ‘mega suites’ had one major drawback for the life science sector: they were ‘Jack of all trades, but master of only some’.
Enter the postmodern software era, where technology has evolved to allow the communication of software via system integration.
What is System Integration?
Simply put, system integration of software is the process used to connect two or more IT systems into a single solution, which will meet the user’s business requirements. System integration is increasingly seen in everyday life. Consider the numerous websites which integrate with Google Maps, making it easier for customers to locate an individual store, or to figure out the nearest place to get their Friday night takeaway.
Integration really comes into its own when enabling the smooth flow of data through business processes, taking full advantage of all of the benefits of best-of-breed functionality for the sector. Different integration technologies can be used depending on the application, but the one which has really entered the mainstream is Application Programming Interface – API.
What is an API?
An API is an interface which enables different software applications to talk to each other, without the need for any user interaction. These days, APIs are commonplace. One example is in payment processing. Here, APIs enable the communication between buying your goods online, and the payment made from your bank.
Most major APIs use token-based authentication to ensure that the communication between applications is secure. This is an important consideration. Security of your data is critical when looking at integration options.
How does this apply to the life science sector?
Life science businesses have many of the same needs as businesses from other high-performing sectors. The Holy Grail is to have simple business systems in place which can scale for growth.
However, niche requirements mean data must be rationalised from various points in the product development life cycle – from procurement and goods receipt, to manufacturing and sales. Not only that, life science companies must often adhere to strict regulatory and quality requirements, necessitating the need for specialist validated software with audit capability, and electronic signatures.
Life science businesses have niche software requirements (click to see a larger version).
Until recently, life science businesses have been forced to jump between different software packages, paper-based systems and spreadsheets in order to meet their requirements. Not anymore. Software integration is becoming increasingly common, and can often be deployed straight away.
Life science companies can now focus on getting the best applications possible for their business and ensure that these can integrate with each other to form a personalised solution for their stage of growth. These days it is possible to pair best-of-breed accounting software with specialist software for the life sciences. Everything from purchase approval for hazardous products, to FEFO-compatible inventory management down to the the batch level.
Integrated software solutions, combined with modular options, offer huge advantages. Growing companies can buy exactly what they need at the time, rather than paying for unnecessary functions. The key to success is doing this well – making decisions on a solid understanding of the business requirements, and focusing on a smooth integration with no overlap.
In a sector defined by innovation and growth, the flexibility and scalability of an integrated software solution is a no-brainer for life science businesses. For many, it is not a matter of if, but when they will outgrow their fragmented solutions, and move to integrated modular software which allows them to scale.
Growing with you.
Amici’s own in-house development team is experienced in integrating with other systems to improve and scale your business operations
Contact Fiona or Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 141 810 2580 to learn more.