Small and midsize Biotech companies do not have the financial resources that their larger pharmaceutical counterparts have. This means that they must be even smarter in how they spend. Larger firms have deeper pockets for their projects while Biotech startups and medium sized firms must find investors if they do not have enough in the R&D budget. Thus, due to budget limitations, the small to midsize Biotech companies must find creative methods to use their limited resources while growing their business. The most effective way for them to do this is to make sure that the company they are hiring is a great long term match. When looking for an Information Technology firm to hire, Biotech companies should look for seven major signs.
An Information Technology consulting company that truly understands and embraces their Biotech clients’ needs should be experienced and knowledgeable in serving the Biotech industry. We believe there are seven traits that a successful IT partner should have:
1. They should have an understanding of the biotechnology industry and specific needs that may come up such as regulatory requirements, clinical trial needs, GMP standards, HIPAA (in some cases), FDA compliance, ISO certifications, trade secret protections, vendor relations with proprietary lab equipment manufacturers etc.
2. They should have a leadership background and many years of experience in the industry (over 10 is a good number). They should be able to work with C-level executives as well as line workers so they know the needs at the front line as well as the needs of a growth business at a high level.
3. They must be responsive and agile. In the biotechnology industry, innovation is key and getting to the market faster means reaching profitability sooner and thus, having less need to get additional rounds of funding. In other words, an agile response is equal to time and money saved.
4. They must work closely and strategically with the company. They should not just be on-call technicians who come and fix things without seeing the big picture. There are two distinct needs within every biotechnology company: administrative and research. Therefore, technicians must be able to keep computers working for admin purposes but must also be technologically strategic enough to leverage their knowledge of technology into profits; thus allowing their clients to increase productivity, decrease costs, and get to the market quicker.
5. An Information Technology firm that has their clients’ best interests in mind will consistently be thinking about cost savings. Based on their years of experience, a veteran IT firm will have several methods as to how to cut or even eliminate extra costs dealing with equipment, labor or time, for their client. Thus, by choosing an IT money saving expert, the client will be able to save on expenditures.
6. An efficient IT firm knows how to find creative solutions to a current network issue a client may have and may even be able to foresee related issues in the future and prevent them from happening.
7. An Information Technology firm that is familiar with the nuance associated with proprietary lab equipment is able to understand that they are manufactured differently and that they are unique in their operation. For example, some are standalone units, some work in an active directory domain environment, some operate in a quasi-domain environment, and some come with very lax security protection that should be corrected. The IT firm will also understand that they all require careful security reviews and possibly security changes in order to integrate it to the company network.
As the owner of an Information Technology consulting company in San Diego, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of San Diego based biotechnology companies. Often times, the pains and needs that they share with me are very similar. After all, they are all racing to bring their products to market sooner, they want it done right the first time, and done cost effectively. Some say, with this economy we have to do more with less. I say, you should do more with less – always!
Being well-versed with the biotechnology sector does not give the IT consulting company license to overcharge their Biotech clients. A good Information Technology partner will have a good handle of human resources on their team to appropriately assign the needed resource when that expertise is required on a project.
An IT firm that is dedicated to their client establishes a relationship with them that is more of a partnership. Instead of labeling the client as just another account, an Information Technology consulting company that truly cares for their client’s best interests goes the extra mile for them. Here in San Diego, we once got a call from a client that had a problem with his laptop computer. He could not get it to work and had an important presentation at an executive meeting to do. We took his laptop, fixed it for him and delivered it to his meeting just in time. Our client was very pleased and so were we.
The perfect Information Technology partner for a technology, research and development oriented company is one that can leverage IT and help their client move agilely with the market, get their products to market sooner and, most importantly, do more with less.