Bridging the gap between R&D, consumer feedback and winning products.
Michael Doyle • Accelrys, Inc.
BEING FIRST to market with products that consumers clamor for is the Holy Grail for cosmetics and personal care com- panies. It’s no secret that organizations spend a great deal
of time and resources trying to understand what customers want,
and then race to translate this intelligence into the design of
new materials and formulations that will form the basis of next-generation products. Getting it right results in winning innovations that grab market share and maximize profitability. Getting it
wrong can result in costly and time-consuming mistakes.
In fact, innovation and the technologies that support it are
big drivers for just about any industry; a recent Gartner survey1
of more than 2,300 CIOs cites enterprise growth, attracting new
customers and product innovation among the top 10 business
priorities for 2012.
Increasingly, demand-driven innovation depends on how efficiently companies can leverage the many sources of data that
contribute to the design-develop-test-manufacture value chain.
The goal is to speed and streamline everything from early research and the chemistry that builds on that first glimmer of a
new idea, to the development, scale-up and production processes
critical to getting the final product to market. To achieve this objective, cosmetic and personal care companies need informatics
technologies that have the breadth to reach across the many diverse disciplines and departments that touch the product lifecy-cle, as well as the depth to handle the highly complex data that
powers groundbreaking science.
Data, Data Everywhere
In today’s hyper-digitized and hyper-social world, relevant market data has never been more available. From Twitter feeds to
blog posts to online reviews and more, a wealth of information
is being generated (beyond focus group research and surveys)
about what consumers like and dislike and what features they
want. As a result, the challenges facing cosmetics and personal
care companies have shifted. While it may be easier to gain insight into what customers want, figuring out how to efficiently
and cost effectively satisfy constantly changing market demands
is tough. To take advantage of potentially profitable opportunities, R&D organizations must rapidly design novel materials and
systems, build prototypes, test lead candidates and quickly move
To create the next generation beauty product, researchers
must leverage their data sources.
products on to production. A few bottlenecks and delays are all it
takes for the competition to get there first.
Further impetus for the increasing velocity of innovation is
the fact that product complexity is reaching an all-time high. As
consumers demand advanced personal care capabilities specifically tailored to their unique needs, advanced chemistry and materials science, as well as multiple formulations, computational
models, experiments, QA/QC test results and more, form the basis of an ever-growing data pyramid leading to the new product.
The volume of information that R&D requires to capture, analyze, share and report on is staggering, and unlike the structured
data that is commonly processed through business information
management systems, like PLM and ERP, it’s exponentially more
diverse. Beyond standard row and column-based data sets, it may
include scientifically meaningful text, images, multi-scale models
and more, and be generated by a multitude of software systems,
laboratory equipment, sensors, instruments and devices.
All too often, R&D project collaborators turn to manual approaches to leverage these multiple information sources—spending