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Article Blog November 8, 2017 4 minute read

Making Sense of Resource Optimization: Uncharted Territory in Vendor Oversight

In a recent Comprehend webinar, Laurie Halloran of Halloran Consulting Group presented some stimulating ideas on how to address an underserved issue in optimizing resources between Sponsors and CROs. While there has been much talk about finding metrics that both teams can share, and how to address risk issues, it has come up repeatedly that a lot of the stress felt between these two groups comes from misaligned goals, roles, and expectations.

Halloran Consulting Group: Top 5 Best Practices to Manage Vendors

According to Laurie, there are five Top Best Practices that sponsors can address to optimize their Vendor relationships:

Within each of these areas, she explained not just the theory behind the best practices, but also the operational approach. When considering an outsourced relationship, she suggested that Sponsors may want to define their core competencies in advance of sourcing help and make a considered trade-off between what could be managed in-house (i.e., with technology) versus what could be outsourced.

Another point of consideration is spending the appropriate amount of time to evaluate the vendors. Rather than distributing RFPs and making decisions on what comes back, Laurie advocates the analogy of a committed relationship – where areas such as setting expectations, defining critical success factors, and culture fit come into play.  As in all vendor selections, the work to determine risk versus benefit, and what sort of ROI will come out of the relationship, is always good advice.

One crucial element of vendor relationships is the concept of “we” rather than “us vs. them.”  Internal and external teams need to not only agree on the same goals but need to work collaboratively. This means understanding where the other team is coming from and putting yourself in their shoes. Laurie defined the process these teams must agree on to manage milestones, deliverables, and interactions. Another key takeaway was her advice to not work IN the project, but more importantly, work ON the project.  This helps avoid a huge time-sink for the Sponsor – an expensive mistake to make. It makes sense that when a sponsor has to do rework, it’s an indication that the deliverables and milestones were not clearly defined with the vendor.

Integrating Multiple Data Sources a Top Concern

In an audience poll during the webinar, a majority of sponsors indicated that their top concern was integrating multiple data sources. This is a key piece of information – in recent Benchmark Surveys, both sponsors and CROs ranked the timeliness and difficulty in achieving successful data integration as a major issue for them.

Applying Automation to Best Practice Advice

Following Laurie’s advice, Comprehend followed up with a case study on how a mid-market Sponsor put these strategies to work. The Sponsor was challenged with a growing number of studies plus the work to add another CRO to its existing two, and yet it needed to accomplish all of this with no additional staff.

The Sponsor applied Clinical Intelligence applications to jointly select important metrics and prepare a Quality Agreement Plan with defined roles and escalation paths. The applications helped clinical and medical teams reduce time and effort in accessing the data and reports they needed at the time they needed it. Safety risk signals were automatically sent to both internal and external teams with a collaborative method of jointly sharing the work on issues.

The result was a reduction in hundreds of hours of work in both clinical operations and medical review teams, along with staying within safety risk thresholds.  Proof that optimizing resources through the use of automation does work!

Click here to listen to the webinar.

About Halloran Consulting Group

Halloran Consulting Group makes life science companies better at what they do.  Working with both large and small life science companies, they help startups get off the ground by providing guidance crucial to long-term success.  They also offer the expertise needed to transform mature life science companies into more efficient organizations.  Most importantly, Halloran will stick by your side when things get tough by helping to identify and fix problems.  No matter the issue, Halloran can help you find a solution.  For more, please visit

Amanda Ayotte

Halloran Consulting Group


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