Increasing productivity for a drug discovery company
The client, a Boston-based drug discovery company, with state-of-the-art research facilities in Bangalore, India, accelerates discoveries by providing products and services that eliminate bottlenecks in the drug discovery value chain. The company has built several capabilities centered on the structure-based drug design platform that enables easy identification of drug candidates and boosts the success rates of drug generation. Over the years, the company has created a wide research network through strategic alliances with technology pioneers and provides its customers access to diverse technology platforms.
Although the two sciences – medicine and technology – have always complemented and catalyzed each other, this is especially true of a future-focused field like drug discovery, which is built around the identification, creation, and study of new drugs.
The client had built a successful research model based on what it called a 'structure-based drug design platform' over the years. Centered on this platform, the client had also built several capabilities along the drug discovery value chain, which were then translated into cutting-edge services for its customers. Internally, the platform supported many specialized, complex work processes that spanned research and business groups across the organization. The client's research ethic demanded that all its resources be fully utilized, with minimal overlaps and redundancies. However, this was proving difficult in the absence of clearly defined organizational process. The client therefore wanted a cost-effective way to optimize processes across the organization and ensure high effectiveness levels.
Although optimizing processes is a straightforward exercise in itself and one that Infosys was extremely experienced at, this particular assignment came with its inherent challenges:
- There was the highly technical nature of the work and, indeed, of the industry as a whole to start with.
- The client had clearly demarcated core and support teams with their respective roles defined. Infosys had to keep this ambitious and complex service model in mind while building its process optimizations.
- Since a large part of the personnel involved were performing highly trained and specialized scientific functions, much effort was required to understand both the functions and the people who performed them.
- The client wanted to be able to deploy its resources to its customers on an uninterrupted basis. By operating in different time zones from its offices in Boston and Bangalore, the client aimed for a rapid turnaround of information and research requests. Therefore, the supporting processes within any given department or function had to match up to these expectations.
- This was a small, start-up environment, which had its own constraints and the team had to factor this in as well.
Initially, the client asked Infosys to develop and implement optimized processes for one specific department. The primary mandate for this consulting exercise was simple – all processes designed had to be simple to understand and easy to follow, especially by the scientific personnel.
Infosys first focused on understanding the various technical needs of the department in question. The team assessed the IT deployment across departmental processes. After creating and documenting the workflow for each activity, they developed a set of business processes and mapped each to its departmental function. Next, they designed and implemented all the necessary templates and formats required for key documents across functions. The Infosys team also had to work with the client department to understand, identify, and clearly define roles and responsibilities at various levels of the organization.
Mere 12 weeks and 200 consulting hours later, the project was completed, and the client was able to realize the benefits of optimized work processes over at least one department.
- The project set a benchmark for the company's future optimization initiatives. The client had access to templates, the process, and workflow charts that could be readily applied to a large-scale process optimization exercise.
- The client witnessed a significant improvement in efficiency levels across its departments.
- The client gained in-depth perspective on its human resources, thus enabling it to map skills to functions more effectively and also to plan and structure the overall company organization better.
- Since Infosys had rigorously kept to its mandate of ‘easy-to-use,’ the client's staff was able to painlessly transition to the new processes and tools, thereby removing any individual and / or departmental bottlenecks and enhancing productivity.