Food for thoughts from the PLA2018 interactive Panel Forum

interactive panel forum PLA2018

The interactive panel forum, a new initiative launched by the 6th edition of the event, has allowed us to bring together a very interesting multidisciplinary poll of thought leaders coming from different markets.

from left to right:

  • Mark Newton – Principal at Heartland QA – retired Associate Sr Consultant QA EliLilly
  • Rik Pepermans – It Innovation lead, IT R&D at Unilever
  • Marco de Groot – RT&D Data and Information Manager at DSM Biotechnology Center
  • Maud Destree -e-Analytics Operations Manager at UCB Pharma
  • Patrick Pijanowski – Managing Director at Accenture Scientific Informatics Services

The discussion aimed to develop further on the central theme of the edition, the four main layers of a laboratory paperless strategy: ” eConnect, eManage, eDecide, eArchive” or also called 4 e-data lifecycle based themes 

 see: NL42 article published in the Scientific Computing World annual review ” Building a Smart Laboratory 2018″

Fact is that another new initiative implemented this year, a paperless one, the new PLA App,  has allowed a stronger involvement of the audience during this session . The App has eased the process of collecting in realtime manner answers to 4 questions from the audience.

1. eManage – Business drivers to facilitate data lifecycle 

The discussion was an excellent exercise looking for identifying the major business drivers to facilitate lifecycle information chain and which could be the major roadblocks. Interestingly enough along with the technical limitation due to inherited legacy infrastructure and systems, the lack of change management mindset appears being a strong roadblock. Individual resistance to changes and lack of corporate leadership in driving the change are important risks to be assessed carefully when defining a new project. Of course those risks could be mitigated with a clear visibility on the benefits as well as involvement and efforts required.

From there the discussion went challenging the possibilities of considering Blockchain as a potential alternative to improve lab operations, reduce costs. ideally the self regulation aspect of the Blockchain could also potentially be of very valuable support to reduce the validation efforts when implementing new solutions, updates and upgrades…

Question: Which are the major business drivers to facilitate data lifecycle, information chain?

A. Inconsistent existing technology systems

B. Organizational silo mindset. Lacking to adopt change management processes

C. Not sure why a life cycle based approach will benefit anyway

D. Lack of cross functional management support


see: “The Promise of Blockchain and the Future of Scientific Data Management” Pat Pijanowski, Accenture presentation at PLA2018 

2. eDecide – The Cost and Pain of Information Theft 

When comes to access enough information for the business decisions making several concerns raise up. Am I getting the right and complete information to make decisions? Fact is that ideally, multiple data coming from multiple data sources should arrive in one single dashboard to facilitate a full view. Yet how can we completely trust the data analytics when raw data can´t be assessed anymore since their pathway up to the last system layer has disabled the access to the source of the data. how much can we trust that each interface up to last system layer has enable the integrity of the data.

Question: Which is my biggest data concern to make scientific conclusions?data analytics trust

A. Data Theft (missing crucial data)

B. Data Privacy (lack of access to complete dataset)

C. Data Aggregation (incomplete set of access to multiple data sources)

D. Data Trust (e.g. trust of data source, lacking meta or ontologies)

E. Not able to join different data sources

see: “eDecide : Delivering on the promise of Enterprise Search & Analytics” PerkinElmer Workshop at PLA2018

 3. eArchive – Archives and Data Standardization

Just before the panel forum session, we had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Dennis Della Corte introducing their Global eArchive strategy at Bayer which has generated a profound reflection on the concept that a living archive completes the data life cycle. The discussion during the panel forum went on digesting the wake up call that made everyone realising that this step considered the last one for a data is in reality strongly part of the data lifecycle and as such can’t be approached and considered at a later stage in an IT strategy project. Fact is that archiving is not just data retirement prior to destruction but a process that should allow easy access to multiple formats and type of data in order to reuse them if required.
In this sense the discussion went even back to the requirements when defining of a master data management system,  how to use taxonomies and ontology but under which type of data standardisation process should them be archived.
Regarding the format of the data, there were several reflections if converting dynamic records (like chromatography charts) into static records (like printouts or PDFs) at the time of system retirement wondering how often reprocessing might be required

Question: Do you re-use archived data?interactive panel forum PLA2018

A. yes

B. never

C. sometime

D. for regulatory requirements only


see: “GEAR @ Bayer – completing the data life cycle through a living archive” from Mr. Dennis Della Corte, Bayer presentation at PLA2018

4. eConnect – Robust electronic records and transfers

the eConnect layer of a lab system is extremely attractive when evaluating the numerous young and innovative providers of IoLT, Internet of Lab Things solutions, when listening to the Allotrope foundation partners that look for aligning themselves to the recently launched framework. 
On the other hand, the interfaces are definitely important assets yet with high level of risk regarding data integrity if not appropriately well designed.  The data integrity starts at the source but the majority of lab instruments lacks robust date/time stamp capability making Data integrity at the source vulnerable of electronic records and transfers. Most of the companies have dedicated procedures to inventory, validate and control in a routine basis this specific layer.
It is an old story, but should the industry enforce technology suppliers to standardize Plug and Go, self-documenting processes to capture meta data and thus the key question here was how much quality is involved in the purchase decision.

Question: Does Quality have a voice in the purchase decision?interactive panel forum PLA2018

A. yes

B. no

C. not sure


From the organisation, we´re glad to see that the process went really flawlessly even though we previously test intensively the App features, we could avoid to be nervous about the realtime collection process. Definitely the panel Forum and the App involvement have been greatly appreciated by the participants. We look forward to stimulating further more the use of the App features by the PLA2019.


“Great  content and organization. I think the App is really useful and that you could increase its use to get more insight from voting”

“Great app! I loved the app, a fantastic concept and excellent way to create notes about specific topics in one area”



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