Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca says an extended deal for business intelligence software from Business Objects will play a key role in improving operational efficiencies, slashing costs and reducing the time to market of new drugs.
More than 5,000 AstraZeneca research and development (R&D) staff use Business Objects reporting tools already.
But the new enterprise-wide deal, signed last December, offers the potential to extend use to all 55,000 employees, especially those in sales and marketing and manufacturing functions.
The deal, worth well over £1m, includes data integration, business intelligence and enterprise analytic applications.
AstraZeneca said it expects to see a "significant return" on this latest investment within the next 18 months.
Steve Atkinson, enterprise software manager at AstraZeneca, told vnunet.com that use of the business intelligence applications would allow the company to track, understand and manage key business metrics to improve information sharing, reduce costs and ultimately increase competitive advantage.
"Having this deal is a commitment to Business Objects as a de facto standard within AstraZeneca," he said.
"We will be launching a raft of new drugs this year and cost containment is paramount. The business case for spending money on an enterprise-wide deal is pretty compelling.
"A key challenges is finding new products and compounds, but the whole process can take years. In R&D we can pull data from literally hundreds of systems, as clinical trials take place in a number of countries.
"Business Objects can provide a way of collating all the information and storing it in a way that makes it easier to make decisions. For a big product, even speeding up the time to market by one day can make £1m difference."
Although pharmaceuticals megabrands typically take up to eight or nine years to develop, use of the reporting tools will play a key role in reducing the time to market to between six and seven years, predicted Atkinson.
The new agreement will also extend the range of tools available to include web intelligence and a management dashboard offering managers access to key performance indicators.
AstraZeneca is the world's fifth largest pharmaceuticals company, with healthcare sales of over $17.8bn (£11.3bn).
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