Managing Information Overload - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Managing Information Overload
Companies know they need regulatory information management. What they don't always know is where to start and how to weave this vital capability across the enterprise's diverse and discrete technology applications.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 23, Issue 8

Another technology that fits into the extraction and integration layer is data federation, or data virtualisation, whereby a department or business leader might grab snippets of information from different systems for quick access and analysis. This technology is most applicable for small quantities of data that don't require substantial transformation or cleansing. According to Burnett, data virtualisation enables users to quickly access data that is pertinent to their particular requirements.

Master data management, which gives users a single view of an important part of the business, such as a product or a customer, also fits into this layer. One example might be filling in missing pieces of data in a record or removing errors from a record. The final part of the extraction/integration stack is service-oriented architecture or data services. This is another way of breaking data into components that can be reused at various points throughout the organisation.

  • Information services is second from the top of the stack. For most users, this level is where the more familiar tools and applications such as search, retrieval, audit and forecast are found.
  • At the top of the stack is delivery, which focuses on making information easier for the user to digest and understand. Delivery allows information to be synthesised for a particular user, such as financial, project management and development or scientific research.


Regulatory information management involves far more than just tracking submissions. The processes and technologies used to enable successful regulatory information management help companies to consolidate their disparate systems and produce meaningful, holistic information that leads to better decision-making. The starting point is managing and structuring the data in a clear and consistent manner. Only by having clean, consistent and reliable data is it possible to build a broad picture of how an organisation's resources are currently being used and how they can be maximised in the future.

Adam Sherlock is director, Regulatory Solutions Group, at CSC Life Sciences.


1. S. Burnett, "The Information Management Imperative"(presentation given in London (UK), September 2010).


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