Insights of a transversal research information system
What makes a Research Information System transversal ?
The research department is integrated into the company value chain and connected with other administrative and organizational activities.
Nowadays, IT systems should find a solution to connect the people together and helping them to share data in real time. Many strategies can be imagined with different levels of investments and future maintenance costs.
Perimeter of a research information system
It appears that integrating with one unified tool different activities bring more return on investment than an Information System fragmented with various bridges to maintain. Most studies on ERP tools show that the more and deep investment in one organization tool brings the best Return On Investment (ROI).
Our company Doriane has strived for more than 30 years to equip R&D Departments with integrated and transversal systems that enable to extend the use to further activities in order to enable their customers to optimize the ROI of their equipment.
In addition to research technical information, a research information system enables to extend the perimeter to various activities :
In the warehouses where seeds are stored for instance, the research information system can be installed to track in real time seed stock entering and going out. Maintaining the seed stock updated may be facilitated with possibilities to implement barcode scanning and automatic weight capture from a connected scale.
Many storage solution can be found for unit costs data (e.g. a sample analysis, a field plot monitoring along a year, a genotype sequencing, a plot sowing, to make easier the calculations and reporting of such information. The advanced aggregation facilities and reporting tools allows managers to plan, monitor and summarize their budget for research activities.
Along a season, R&D managers track the advancement of work to reach their objectives. The work dispatching and resource management on R&D projects (per breeding station, per breeding program, per activities…) can be facilitated with IT tools which enable to register and change resource allocation among projects, to control the time and overworked resources. Particularly, once RnDExp™ proposes good ways of entering and storing these information, these reporting features may allow managers to create and edit dashboard to check the status of portfolio (costs, issues, schedule, allocations…).
Laboratories in R&D departments are often responsible for various analysis (chemical, genetic, pathological…) on samples taken from the field or from individuals. These laboratories receive samples from external sources and the requirements in terms of analysis. So using a transversal IT system to integrate field and laboratory activities will help the sample management (with common codification) and enables real time data availability.
Quality and registration
Once varieties/hybrids are authorized to be produced for sales, seed quality testing is done on some samples. Improving the traceability required by some certifications (e.g. GSPP Good Seed and Plan Practices) can be done by using the same IT tool along the process. Index facilities proposed by the departmental software help also to store registration documents along the certification process.
Core of the Research information system : Data Management and Processes organization
The centrepiece of the information system is the Research Management System – a suite of software applications and material databases specifically designed to help researchers manage the logistics, data storage, statistical analysis and decision-making for applied research. The research information system needs to be fully compatible and interconnected with data capture and quality assurance tools, comprehensive analytical toolboxes, and advanced decision-support tools , ensuring a seamless flow of information. It is customisable for various crops and applied research strategies.
Diversity of the research activities handled by the information software
To integrate these activities with technical R&D activities, Doriane has imagined very transversal concepts facilitating data management and process monitoring. These concepts are the result of 30 years of experience in IT projects for the seed industry and the vegetal research sector on particular research activities and transversal activities.
RnDExperience software suite allows the research team to manage various applied research activities such as:
- Raw material orders (seeds, phytosanitary products) to suppliers;
- Receiving and shipping management, especially of products samples and seeds;
- Project and realized work management;
- Preparation of recommendation sheets for the members;
- Possibility to make restricted and security access to data management system for the remote locations or some external partners;
- Education of administrators of RnDExp who can expand the application areas of this information system.
Such transversality is enabled thanks to the flexibility and the many features available in RnDExp® :
- High level administration and access rights control.
- Easy to use for small teams as well as large research departments having several laboratories spread across many research stations.
- No programming required, to customize the software and fit your specific business rules.
- High level of consulting and support, thanks to a team of engineers in constant communication with end-users.
Applied research features :
- Accurate tracking of breeding processes from crosses preparation to hybrids and varieties launching.
- Track the entire chain of laboratory processes, from molecular markers sequencing to seed quality testing.
- Track the entire chain of experimentation processes, from inventory and seed availability to statistical analysis of large trial networks
The Editor's point of view
With 30 years and more than 30 projects of experience in parnership with research departments, we understand quite well the desires and worries of these organizations. This article on transversality, such as the ones on R&D Organization and Share Research Work, tries to give some tips for a virtuous management of R&D activities.
Our vision goes beyond that nowadays, as we believe more and more in the concept of Experience Feedback, that consists in tools to link the researchers creating or improving a product (of any kind) to the end user's feedback. It can be the taste of a strawberry (consumer > food lab), the yield of a variety (farmer > breeder) or even the user-friendliness of a software (user > programmer).
We focus so much on the user’s experience that we have chosen the name "RnD Experience" for our new range of methods, tools and support services for Research and Development. Our applications and IT services enable to manage, share and analyze data and processes in biotechnology and agronomy.