Assembling the pieces: Archiving and retention in Life Sciences

In the world of pharmaceuticals, something interesting keeps happening—companies acquire, merge, or divest from other companies. It’s like a puzzle they’re trying to solve getting…

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Robin Gellerman

September 21, 20234 minutes read

A close up of white puzzle pieces fitting together with one piece missing showing a red background. Three capsules of medication from the Life sciences sector fill the empty spot.

In the world of pharmaceuticals, something interesting keeps happening—companies acquire, merge, or divest from other companies. It’s like a puzzle they’re trying to solve getting the right products, improving their research options or manufacturing capacity, and making sure everyone knows they’re here to stay. For those companies that lack sophisticated information management systems, there are unseen obstacles.

Companies have different motivations like getting new ideas quickly or reaching new customers. It’s not just about surviving; it’s about being the best. No matter the motivation, adding complexity to information systems is not the goal.

Whether pharmaceutical companies are looking to team up or spin off, there are several information management challenges that pharmaceutical companies face in a merger or divestiture situations. Within this puzzle, there are many critical considerations including:

  • Untangling software, databases, and infrastructure to efficiently support the new entity
  • Minimizing disruption and maintain operational continuity
  • Ensuring that systems and processes remain compliant with current and future regulations
  • Assessing the current IT infrastructure and technologies to decide whether to retain, replace, or upgrade systems to align with the new entity’s goals

Let’s dig into the specifics of information archiving and retention in Life Sciences.

Look out for dead weight in legacy applications

When mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs occur, companies must also access aging data held in legacy applications and find ways to optimize their current application support infrastructure.

The cost of retaining data in legacy applications in its original form can be daunting, especially when that data is rarely accessed. In fact, studies show that up to 80% of IT spending goes toward managing legacy data. In addition to being costly, legacy applications often don’t meet Life Sciences’ GAMP5 requirements for governance, accessibility and security.

And organizations should not forget to carefully consider how much dead weight will be lifted as part of cloud migration strategies for applications that no longer serve their original purpose.  

Realize the benefits of archiving

Archiving can help simplify and modernize your infrastructure by removing roadblocks of obsolete applications and systems while maintaining or enhancing compliance, productivity, accessibility, and security. Archiving plays a crucial role for pharmaceutical companies, ensuring the secure and organized storage of critical data and documents.

Information archiving ensures business continuity and maintains the reliability of acquired data. Capabilities should include capturing, indexing, and preserving information for long-term retention and easy retrieval to comply with regional regulations.

Key considerations

When developing an information archiving strategy, it is crucial to consider the following key factors:

  • As you define your organization’s retention policies, ensure they are compliant with all the regional regulations, and your organization’s business needs.
  • Don’t archive everything you have, only what needs to be retained either for compliance or for business operational requirements.
  • Defensible destruction of information is crucial at the time of archiving and at the end of the retention period of archived data.

Unleash the power of archiving in Life Sciences

Mergers and spin-offs aren’t the only situations that should trigger inclusion in your information archiving strategy. Here are other common scenarios:

  • Protecting Intellectual Property (IP): Proper archiving of patents, experimental and analysis research data, and proprietary formulations is essential for safeguarding valuable assets and defending patents.
  • Expanding portfolios: Having access to large sets of historical data helps in training artificial intelligence and large language models bringing new insights and value to the organization. This aids in the exploration of new innovations.
  • Legal retention: Pharmaceutical companies may face legal disputes or litigation. Archiving relevant documents including financial records, contracts, and correspondence provides valuable evidence during legal proceedings.
  • Health authority audits: Life Sciences organizations must keep data and documents available for inspection, supporting the drug development lifecycle. Ensuring the security and accessibility of records throughout the retention period is crucial.

Learn more about solving the puzzle of modernizing information archiving and simplifying data compliance or explore OpenText information archiving solutions.

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Robin Gellerman

Robin Gellerman is the Product Marketing Manager for Life Sciences Enterprise Content Management solutions at OpenText. With over 20 years in the enterprise content management industry, Robin has held a variety of product and industry marketing positions supporting document management, capture and customer communications technologies at OpenText, the Enterprise Content Division of EMC, Captiva and Document Sciences. Most recently, Robin was the Industry Strategist for retail, and has previously worked with energy & engineering and healthcare solutions.

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