Insights

How research administration technology has evolved over the past decade

By November 25, 2020 December 9th, 2020 No Comments
research administration software technology

Over the past decade, research administration technology has undergone a remarkable evolution. With the advancement of new processes and technological leaps, research administrators now have tools (including our own Streamlyne Research platform) that are better and more helpful than ever.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the technologies that have permanently changed the way institutions manage their research operations. For example, you’ll learn ways of identifying a modern platform vs a legacy system or one that is not current. As a result, you’ll be able to make the best decisions for your organization. Note that the improvements mentioned here do not apply to all eRA products. Speaking from our own perspective, we will be referring to the specific benefits and improvements provided by our proprietary platform.

Software That Runs In Your Device of Choice

As compared to ten years ago, enterprise Research Administration software should now run on your preferred device. For example, Streamlyne has solved for limitations like operating system and browser restrictions. Many of these issues are still pervasive in legacy eRA software. With our platform, users choose to access their portal from any web browser they prefer on any Internet-capable device they own. Because of this, research teams across institutions can operate freely, no longer having to work around the hardware, memory and OS requirements of an archaic eRA system.

Cloud Based Software

Another advancement in research administration technology is the transition to cloud-based software. Cloud-based computing provides scalable data storage and processing power to users. With the cloud, there is no need to maintain local servers or manage onsite data storage space. A cloud can be either public or private. Public cloud providers make these computing resources available to anyone. Private clouds feature resources dedicated to one specific client.

For research institutions, simply storing their data in a cloud is a smart, economical move. As an example, in 2010, computer users worldwide generated 2 zettabytes of data. By 2019, they had generated more than 20 times as much! With data being the foundation of scientific research, it is absolutely essential to keep up with the enormous growth in data storage. This was once a monumental challenge, even for the largest and best-funded research programs. Now, our cloud-based research administration software means scalability on demand – problem solved.

Why Cloud-Based RA Software Is Essential

As mentioned, running software from a cloud alleviates the need for on-premise software, data storage and software security infrastructure. All of these considerations are costly and can pose data security risks. The cloud gives flexibility and expandability, and is capable of overcoming limitations of the past.

Transferring data to cloud storage alleviates the strain on an institution’s computing infrastructure. With the right vendor, it’s also cost-effective and more secure. And advances in telecommunications and data processing mean that users have near-instantaneous access to data stored in the cloud. The amount of stored data will only grow and compound every year, so cloud-based services like Streamlyne Research are pivotal for a thriving research organization.

Software-as-a-Service

As clients on our Streamlyne Research system can attest, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) represents a giant leap forward in Research Administration technology. The requirements of research administration change rapidly, so eRA software must also change to accommodate them. Institutions struggle to maintain on-premise software. Often, research administration competes with other internal IT priorities, leading to delayed eRA updates and downtime.

In addition, research administrators must rely on internal IT personnel to integrate the eRA software with other campus enterprise systems, if integrations are even possible. Delayed updates can create system compatibility issues, which force some research institutions to run outdated software that lacks the latest features and security enhancements.

Using a SaaS approach, the software vendor takes responsibility for actively developing and updating the product. For example, with out platform, users take comfort in knowing that each time they open the software, it is up-to-date. With SaaS, developers can publish new features regularly and address regulatory requirements as they arise. Further, a modern SaaS model like Streamlyne Research scales to meet the needs of its users, even for extremely large research programs.

Additional SaaS benefits

Well-designed SaaS products also offer the benefit of tight coordination between functions in an eRA system. For example, using Streamlyne software, proposal development flows neatly into award management, compliance, and close-out. When we integrate Streamlyne Research with an institution’s system-of-record, research administrators can be certain that they are accessing the most current personnel data and institutional cost information.

Integration of other enterprise-level systems enables the data to reside in one place. This prevents the accumulation of outdated data caches and eliminates the need to import or rekey data. This allows an institution’s systems-of-record to become truly authoritative, and makes accurate reporting available to all administrative levels for the first time.

Efficiencies flow from research administration technology

Unlike older software, modern eRA systems like Streamlyne Research offer many time-saving efficiencies. For example, automated workflows create timely approvals, reviews, disclosures and compliance reports. Through automation assistance, all relevant documents can be stored electronically within the proposal or protocol records. By integrating processes, research institutions can increase the efficiency, accuracy and speed of research administration, while reducing institutional costs and improving compliance simultaneously.

Put the latest research administration technology at your fingertips

If your research organization is dependent on an outdated legacy system, or your current eRA isn’t the best it can be, Streamlyne is ready to help. Our Streamlyne Research platform delivers a comprehensive, cloud-based enterprise research administration tool that manages all aspects of the research administration process. This includes everything from pre-award to close-out to compliance.

For more information about Streamlyne Research, and how to bring the latest research administration technology to your institution, please contact us today.