hours manually searching files, reformatting, and cutting and
pasting reports together, or they enlist IT resources to hand code
customized “point-to-point” connections to move data between
systems and applications. But these ad-hoc attempts at data management are too time-consuming and expensive to make sense
when valuable consumer insight, as well as the research discoveries it prompted, must be acted upon quickly. This is especially
true as the global scope of cosmetic and personal care companies
continues to expand—research, development, sourcing, production and distribution may all be conducted across many diverse
sites located around the world.
Speeding the demand-driven innovation cycle thus requires an
end-to-end, enterprise-level informatics platform capable of capturing and integrating diverse sources of information. It should
also be able to analyze and run processes across the data, and
report it in a way that makes sense for multiple users, whether a
chemist adjusting a formulation, a processing engineer calibrating plant equipment or a business executive making decisions
about where to invest development resources.
Thanks to the advent of cloud computing, service-oriented architecture, the use of web services and advanced search and data
mining, technology that streamlines demand-driven innovation,
yet respects the complexity inherent in it, is now a real possibility.
Web services can, for example, be used to support“plug and play”
integration of multiple data types and formats without requiring
expensive, customized IT intervention. As data previously scattered throughout the global R&D enterprise is made accessible
through a central, integrated and open informatics framework,
it provides a“single version of the truth” that drives a number of
time, cost and efficiency benefits.
First, information, no matter where or how it was generated,
can be used across the product development and commercial-
ization value chain, to enhance collaboration. Toxicologists can
make their history of assay results available to formulators devel-
oping formulas for a new lipstick color, for example, or chemists
trying to address consumer demand for a more effective anti-
aging cream can collaborate earlier in the process with sourcing
experts to ensure that the compounds they are developing in the
lab are actually viable candidates for large-scale production.