Magazine Article | September 28, 2012

The Importance Of Streamlining Content Management In Life Sciences

Source: Life Science Leader

By Shannon Zimmerman, CEO, Sajan

An increasing number of global life sciences organizations are adopting a content management system in order to improve the quality and consistency of their content translations. While a changeover of this magnitude poses some difficulties, business leaders are discovering that an effort to streamline their content management for global-spanning markets is not only beneficial but essential.

Challenges that Global Organizations Are Facing
Significant difficulties arise when content storage is decentralized. It ends up costing a company more, not just in terms of expense, but in staff resources as well. Productivity decreases because of squandered time and potentially duplicated efforts. Lack of controlled management also exposes life sciences companies to greater risk, since regulation becomes more difficult to track and measure — a state that is untenable. To remain current and stay competitive, business leaders need to embrace better content management practices even while they pursue global growth.

“Life sciences companies that need to launch content such as manuals, IFUs (instructions for use), or product labels into global markets experience exponential growth in the amount of content and the number of touch points involved,” says Shannon Rose Farrell, an enterprise program manager in the life sciences translation industry. Managers are aware of this, and so they are taking steps to streamline their document production and control process to reduce costs, streamline efforts, and ensure message consistency — all while decreasing liabilities. Integrating a content management system into the current workflow allows for greater version control, easy content access for all involved individuals, a transparent audit trail, and overall diminished risk.

What Motivates Leaders to Make Changes
Due to regulatory compliance, it takes weeks, months, and even longer to get documents approved by all required individuals. Every piece of content must be approved by each stakeholder. As a result, it is not unheard of for organizations to still be using documents that received the green light more than 10 years ago. Operating a highly regulated business using out-of-date content increases the amount of risk they face.

Even so, the decision to centralize business data is not taken or arrived at lightly. Many business leaders are hesitant, sometimes even paralyzed, into inaction when faced with the prospect of overhauling the entire content management process. Some of the world’s largest medical device companies are still trying to optimally centralize and streamline their content management and localization paradigm.

Despite the ultimate advantages of undertaking such an initiative, changing the current system and storage infrastructure entails a considerable shift in thinking and operations. Yet it is a beneficial shift, especially when an organization is localizing materials for international markets. Ensuring the highest quality in the source language will result in effective translated content that adheres to the original document messaging. A document only needs to go through the approval process once; going forward, the document can be rendered in additional languages and retain consistent wording.

Additional Streamlining
Global organizations requiring localization are finding that it makes sense to link up their content management system to a translation management system. As a next step, it goes a long way toward ensuring complete centralization. Messaging consistency is assured across all languages; quality control and tracking are transparent.

While adopting a centralized content management system is not yet a mainstream practice, some organizations are implementing this solution. These life sciences companies are at the forefront of this space. Over the next few years we may be seeing a more universal shift in this direction with how content is accessed, rendered, and controlled. For now, it signals a trend toward more streamlined, consistent, and accurate multilingual content, benefiting not only life sciences organizations but ultimately the end users of their content all over the world as well.