Contract Research Organizations (CROs) are companies that offer research-based services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies on a contract basis. These include biopharmaceutical development, biologic assay development, clinical and preclinical research, clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, commercialization and post-marketing surveillance. CROs usually support foundations, research institutions, universities, governmental organizations.
There are multiple reasons why companies and organizations outsource clinical trials and research. These include the required expertise and infrastructure that provides the benefit of cost, time, and efficiency, which make them the three major Contract Research Organizations’ challenges that directly affect their reputation. To deliver these benefits to their sponsors, they need a smart time & project management solution that’d keep these factors in check.
At actiTIME, we have a dozen CRO clients who share their case studies with us. In this article, we’d like to use their feedback and illustrate in more detail how Contract Research Organizations can benefit from actiTIME.
Meet the Deadlines
Usually, sponsors want their drugs to reach the market as soon as possible due to high competition and patient needs. That means that CROs have to work under tight deadlines and deliver their services on time. actiTIME is tailored exactly to that, let us show you.
Task Estimates, Deadlines & Notifications
First of all, managers can assign task estimates to compare your performance against the estimated and better plan out your workload in the future. To do that, they need to define the estimates beforehand, wait until their team is finished with the tasks and build Estimated vs. Actual Time Report in a few clicks.
The difference between the estimated time and the spent time is called Variance. It can be calculated in regard to particular customers, projects or tasks.
You can also set up email notifications according to the following rules:
- Remind users to track their time if reported time is less than estimated;
- Notify users of the upcoming task deadline;
- Notify users of their task progress as compared to the estimated time specified in percentage terms.
If necessary, you can set deadlines for the tasks and set up email alerts on upcoming deadlines or worked out task estimates.
Task Statuses & Kanban Board
To see the status of the current tasks, managers can create any number of custom workflow statuses and define their order.
For better progress visualization, you can switch your task list view interface to a Kanban board.
There you’ll have status columns according to the number and the order of your task statuses. Drag and drop tasks between the columns to change their workflow status.
Handle Projects, Teams & Sponsors
CROs usually have several teams with various ranges of abilities and experience from medically trained staff to medical writers. To coordinate their work, switch between the project stages back and forth using workflow statuses and user departments.
With User Departments, managers can break down users into groups according to their departments, teams or any other groups of your choice.
Custom Work Structure
Create a custom work scope to meet the needs of your CRO. By default, actiTIME offers a three-level structure: Customer / Project / Task. You may want to change the level names with those that better align with your workflow.
Stick to the Budget
In actiTIME, you can control project budgets in two ways: set up email notifications when your project cost exceeds its budget or build project cost reports that show the cost of work according to the hourly pay rates and time logs of your project team.
Budget Overrun Notifications
If you define hourly pay rates for your team members, actiTIME automatically calculates the project cost that is equal to hourly pay rates multiplied by hours logged by users participating in the project.
Project cost = hourly pay rates x logged time
In the notifications settings, you can define a rule where admin users get notified when the project budget has been exceeded.
Project Cost Charts & Reports
In actiTIME, you can convert your time logs and hourly pay rates into configurable charts and reports. Set up a date range, choose from projects or customers, select your team members and more.
You can also build a project cost report that shows logged time and hourly pay rates by users that are automatically summed up and broken down according to your customers and projects.
The detailed breakdown allows you to review your costs and see if you’re within the budget. Analyze the profit/loss ratio per project, and provide your customers with detailed information on billed hours.
Automate Billing & Invoicing
If you set up hourly pay rates for your team members to calculate the cost of work, then actiTIME can use your data to create bills and invoices. Use our customizable ready-to-go templates, add some branding, taxes and discounts.
When you are ready, download the invoice as a PDF file and send it to your client.
Ensure Data Security
CROs have to deal with lots of sensitive data regarding patients, drugs, R&D activities and more. To provide maximum data security, we offer actiTIME Self-Hosted.
While actiTIME online is installed on the secure Amazon servers, you may want full security control. With actiTIME Self-Hosted, you make a one-time purchase and install the software on your premises. It supports all the latest Windows and Windows Server versions, no special system requirements needed.