They found their solution in Epicor for Service Enterprises. ClinPhone is the most trusted name in the clinical technology industry serving most of the world’s top pharmaceutical and biotechnology organisations. Having managed over 1,380 clinical trials across all major therapeutic areas, supporting over 90,000 healthcare sites in 88 countries and 71 languages, ClinPhone has a proven track record of delivering value-added solutions that directly address the pharmaceutical industry’s needs by enhancing the entire clinical process.
As ClinPhone’s reputation as an industry leader strengthened over the years, its business grew dramatically making it evident that new technologies and processes were needed in order to accommodate its strategic, technical and operational processes and goals.
“Our previous systems lacked consistency and control. Furthermore, the systems were strained because of the load that was being placed on them,” said John Whitmarsh, systems accountant for ClinPhone. “We needed a technology solution that would automate as many manual processes as possible and would enable us to adapt quickly to growth and invoice more promptly.” Furthermore, ClinPhone wanted to provide project managers with more awareness and visibility on the profitability and operational costs of the client systems.
ClinPhone began evaluating enterprise service automation (ESA) solutions and was introduced to Epicor for Service Enterprises by Epicor value-added reseller (VAR) Epaccsys Ltd. “The primary reason we chose Epicor for Service Enterprises is because of the solution’s future roadmap. We felt confident that the solution would support our needs now and in the future,” said Whitmarsh. In what was one of the first installations of Epicor for Service Enterprises, Epaccsys supported the project all the way through, working closely with ClinPhone to meet specific business requirements.
ClinPhone’s pharmaceutical customers are fiercely competitive and very protective of their data. As such, ClinPhone follows very strict guidelines to ensure confidentiality and quality in its projects. Working with Epaccsys, ClinPhone modified the project view to restrict certain views based on the project timeline. “If a project is to span three years, we have the ability to hide certain areas and stages so that no one sees them until they are relevant,” said Whitmarsh.
“I’m quite impressed with the way we can customise things. Anything we’ve wanted to do with Epicor for Service Enterprises thus far has been achievable,” said Whitmarsh.
Tighter time & expense management
In a project-focused business, effective management of time and expense (T&E) is critical and is often approached differently from company to company. Again, ClinPhone leveraged the built-in functionality along with the flexibility of Epicor for Service Enterprises’ BPM (business process management) Director tool to improve T&E management without adjusting current business processes.
Previously, ClinPhone did not have an approval process in place for T&E so if time was entered incorrectly, it was not caught. “Epicor for Service Enterprises sends automated approval request notifications to managers. Now, not only we have achieved greater control and accuracy in our T&E reporting, we did it without adding additional labor,” said Whitmarsh.
ClinPhone has set up its timesheet reporting to police itself. Every Monday morning it sends an e-mail to anyone who hasn’t yet completed their weekly timesheets and then follows up with a second reminder, if needed. The system also reminds managers to approve timesheets that haven’t yet been approved. If they still aren’t approved by the following day, Epicor for Service Enterprises informs their manager. “These automated notifications are very helpful and save our staff significant time,” said Whitmarsh.
Since purchasing Epicor for Service Enterprises, ClinPhone increased revenues by 50 percent from 2002 to 2004 whilst maintaining similar staffing levels within the accounts and project administration teams.
While invoicing used to take four-to-six days, now that time has been reduced to within one-to-two days. “Using Epicor for Service Enterprises, we have more than halved the time it takes to get our invoices out the door whilst almost doubling our project turnover,” said Whitmarsh. “This has improved our cash flow and contributes directly to the bottom line.”
Epicor for Service Enterprises also enables the flexibility to invoice on the day a project is due where previously ClinPhone’s billing was always held to the last day of the month. With the ability to modify billing rules in Epicor for Service Enterprises, if a study goes live mid-month, ClinPhone can automatically generate the invoice on the scheduled date rather than waiting for month-end. Furthermore, Clinphone is saving two accounts receivable days per month at both its U.K. headquarters and U.S. facility thanks to the solution’s automation capabilities.
Leveraging key data for a strategic advantage
In addition to improved cash flow through streamlined invoicing processes, ClinPhone is also benefiting from the solution’s reporting and analytics. “Epicor for Service Enterprises gives us visibility into project profit and loss so we know which types of studies are the most profitable and which require the most time and resources,” said Whitmarsh. “This enables us to align our go-forward product and sales strategies with reliable historic data.”
ClinPhone’s senior management uses Epicor for Service Enterprises to evaluate the order book. “The billing scheduled is inputted directly into Epicor for Service Enterprises so management always has an up-to-date view of our order book for several years in advance,” said Whitmarsh.
Going forward, ClinPhone is looking at using Epicor for Service Enterprises to make project managers accountable for invoice accuracy. Within the solutions Web-based T&E, invoices will be available to managers for review and approval. While this is an added step, the automation capabilities in Epicor for Service Enterprise make it in a minimal work addition, while adding to ClinPhone’s overall accuracy and efficiency.