Microsoft is known for creating top-notch, stand-alone platforms with robust capabilities and enterprise grade security features. Unfortunately, they’ve also developed a reputation of a laggard when it comes to integrating their products, and implementing collaboration features into their software. However, with the recent release of Microsoft 365, we’re starting to see the tech-giant shift away from their traditional models and provide organizations, like those in the Life Sciences field, with the comprehensive solution they’ve been looking for.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a cohesive intelligence suite of three Microsoft products; Office 365, Windows 10, and their Enterprise Mobility + Security services. Microsoft took the three most popular products that organizations deploy, and packaged them up into one offering. As of right now, there are three packages available; one for businesses, one for enterprises, and one for educational institutions.
What’s really unique about Microsoft 365 is that it combines aspects of the four key pillars of Digital Transformation:
- It better engages customers and partners
- It empowers employees to be more productive
- It optimizes operations -- increasing efficiency without sacrificing security
- It utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence
How Microsoft 365 is Helping the Life Sciences Industry
Organizations like early stage pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, drug research and development companies face a unique set of challenges in today’s digitally evolving world. With the level of security and compliance that must be adhered to within this industry, it can be difficult to deploy new technologies to improve operations and better serve clients. Microsoft 365 aims to solve this problem, by offering a collaborative and communication solution with enterprise level security.
The 5 Challenges of Life Sciences and the Impact of Microsoft 365
There are five primary challenges that companies in the life sciences industry encounter when deciding on how to approach a digital transformation:
- Remote Access
Organizations want to enable their employees to work remotely, from any location. Microsoft 365 gives employees greater access to the documents, presentations, and reports they need. It also allows users to collaborate together, both remotely and securely.
- Employee/Partner Collaboration
Companies involved in life sciences often have to outsource work and communicate with many different entities like customers, vendors or partners to, for example, to bring a drug to market. In order to achieve success, everyone involved needs to be on the same page and collaborate securely within one platform. Microsoft Teams is one of the great communication platforms that allows for this type of interaction, and is now available in Microsoft 365 and allows secured external collaboration.
- Maintaining Compliance & Security
This is probably the biggest concern for organizations in the life sciences field. There is a complex network of compliance and security regulations that must be followed, including the maintenance of electronic records. Microsoft 365 has several layers of protection built into it, including the ability to give and restrict access to information at different levels and the ability to provide automatic document retention. Capabilities, such as Data Loss Prevention “DLP”, Information Rights Management “IRM”, Content Governance and Auditing are built-in and readily available.
- Data Collection & Analysis
Life Sciences Organizations manage and store a lot personal and proprietary data that they are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and managing. Microsoft 365 has native tools such as Power BI and Azure Analytics to quickly build solutions to collect data, and aggregate data which allows people to effectively report on a large amount of information and gather insights into its operations very easily.
- Disconnected & Inefficient Processes
In the life sciences industry like many others, there are many manual processes prone to inefficiency and human error. With Microsoft 365 you are able to build solutions to connect and automate these processes, in order to increase efficiency and productivity, as well as cut down on risk.
What is the Role of Microsoft Partners, like Withum?
The release of Microsoft 365 means big changes for organizations working within the life sciences realm. With over 30+ individual products within the suite, its advantageous to connect with a certified Microsoft Gold Partner to help navigate the different options available. By working with a cloud consultant like Withum, we can help determine which combination of products make the most sense for your organization, and successfully deploy them to help solve specific solutions.
If you're looking to implement Microsoft 365, Office 365, Power BI or Microsoft Azure, or have any questions about Digital Transformations and Cloud Solutions, connect with a Withum consultant, or give us a call at 240-406-9960.