Move Collaboration to the Cloud
Move collaboration to the cloud
Cloud computing-whether inside or outside the firewall-offers great possibilities when it comes to enabling richer communication. The Web provides an ideal forum for project stakeholders to interact and share ideas, regardless of their location, their areas of specialization or the format of the information. When a browser is all that's needed to get a seat at the table, collaboration can once again play a key role in the discovery process.
But there are technical considerations that first need to be taken into account. Because the data involved in modern scientific research is so vast and complex, it doesn't make sense, nor is it really possible, to take legacy infrastructure (such as a large chemistry or biology data warehouse) that's cemented to the floor and move it to the cloud. There are just too many transactional systems wrapped around these data hubs to pull out the center of the onion.
At the same time, installing thick-client technologies at every site to transact on one or many data warehouses would introduce too much latency. Instead, organizations should focus on enabling the integration, shared access and reporting of project-centric data via a cloud-based project data mart. They should do this rather than isolating information within disciplinary silos (such as an ELN that only categorizes biological assays, for example). This requires a services-based information management platform capable of extracting the most relevant scientific intelligence from diverse systems and formats, and integrating it in the cloud to enable streamlined collaboration and decision making.
For example, suppose a pharmaceutical company is working with a Contract Research Organization (CRO) on a drug discovery project. Today, many scientific organizations actually install their legacy IT systems at the outsourcer's site in order to exchange and analyze data. Not only is this costly, it's also highly inefficient, as systems now need to be maintained both within the organization's internal IT infrastructure as well as at the CRO site.
And the redundancies multiply the more departments, locations and partners that are involved. With a cloud-based project, data mart and reporting sitting on top of a services-based architecture; critical information, workflows and transactions that need to be accessed by collaborators can be maintained globally, with a much lower seat cost and support burden.