Issue: The 10 Most Influential Leaders in Pharmaceutical, 2021

Jahanara Miotto: Helping Pharma and Life Sciences Companies Transform to a Data-Driven Business

It is often said the best business ideas come from personal experiences and if you can channel the learnings from those experiences in a positive way that helps you create meaningful change in the marketplace, then you have a successful business. During over 25 years working in the life science industry working across many diverse functions in laboratory R&D and in clinical development, Jahanara Miotto, President, Metrendalytics Consultants, experienced repeated frustration around the inability to access to project, operational and financial information in a timely manner to drive better and faster business decisions.

She would search around in various disconnected systems and spreadsheets or talk to team members in order to try to gather all the information she needed. Then, she would have to take even more time re-enter it in her own centralized tracker so she could have all the information she needed in one place. Jahanara had to do this time consuming task often to keep the information up to date. She also often wondered, with all the modern technology available, why doesn’t a more efficient tool exists that integrates all this information into one place automatically so it can be used to provide deeper insight into the business, its products, services, processes, financials, and people? This is what led her to create the company Metrendalytics and the tools to help address this issue.

However the tool alone doesn’t address the whole problem. It also takes passion and subject matter knowledge. Anyone who has worked with clinical trial data knows how much time and effort is involved in developing database specifications and structure; validating programs; exporting data from one system, importing it into another, and verifying the transfer; then applying quality control procedures on the data at the receiving end. Such an undertaking can be overwhelming without having the passion, as well as the knowledge, to persevere.

Right blend of hands-on industry experience and knowledge

Metrendalytics has the domain knowledge and understanding of how data relates to one another in the context of other data. Metrendalytics also has the right blend of hands-on industry experience and knowledge combined with the team’s passion and expertise in application development, automation, security and compliance and cloud based solutions that helps customers meet their business requirements. “Because we understand the business, we can ask the right questions to build end-to-end workflow solutions that provide key intelligence, present timely status updates across your studies and insights to streamline operational processes including visually rich analytics and dashboards,” says Jahanara.

Jahanara believes roadblocks can turn into opportunities “if you are able help customers understand that it is actually in their best interest to adapt and change.” One example Jahanara faced early on was some resistance to using cloud-based systems instead of typical on premise. The conventional thinking was the on prem was more secure and therefore more controlled and some companies were opposed to cloud-based systems for these reasons. “But, as we have all seen over the years, it turns out cloud based systems have greater security since this feature is absolutely critical to the companies that host these systems. Without this level of security, the web services companies could not survive.

“Add to this the lower cost of using these cloud services vs cost of in-house servers, facilities and staff to maintain systems and it turns out that those companies who made the transition to the cloud were actually ahead of the curve and therefore have reaped the benefits of doing so. Another example of a roadblock we have faced is some companies thought they needed a large big name company to build their systems or, on the other end of the spectrum, they thought their internal IT group could take on this challenge,” she adds.  

She further says, “What companies who took these approaches learned was that the cost was much, much greater and the time was much longer to produce a system, if they succeeded at all, and that system was not user friendly. Even worse, when internal resources were applied, they were distracted from their main mission of supporting internal systems already in place. We have seen some of these companies actually come back to us because they realize Metrendalytics was better suited to build their system better and faster because of our experience and because we are dedicated to this task with low code, quick development technology which is flexible and adaptive to meet their needs.”

Combining existing internal and external data into a single platform

Metrendalytics is a Pharmaceutical Consulting Services and Software Development Company, focused on helping pharma/biotech clinical operations and CRO’s laboratory operations, centralize operational data for real-time use. “We utilize cloud based, scalable, modular, rapid development, low cost platform which are analytics and visualization enabled. The key to success is our software combines existing internal and external data into a single platform allowing our customers to gain efficiencies and make faster, more informed decisions. As a result, we help transition your business from a process that is reactive to one that is more proactive,” says Jahanara.

Over the last decade, Jahanara says, we saw a tremendous amount of money invested in technology in this industry, however we have to ask the questions, “what did we get from this investment? Have we accelerated the drug development process? Are we able to understand the pharmacology or predictive models better? Did we improve the business of science? Or did we just digitized the ineffective paper process, because the #1 problem still facing scientist today is ‘Finding data when I need it’.”

Developing new and expanded capabilities to meet needs of customers

Metrendalytics has always been at the forefront when it comes to how the team use information to improve business results. “We will continue to do so in the future. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud based and remotely accessed information systems. We will build on our past success in this area to develop new and expanded capabilities to meet full service needs of our customers. Our low cost, rapid development model also makes replacing some of the disconnected and more expensive “point solution” systems possible,” she says.

At Metrendalytics, Jahanara and the team recognize that companies need platforms to create efficiencies comprehensively across project planning and execution with built in analytic tools that are easy to implement, are highly customizable, and cost effective. To enable this transformation journey around the optimization of “running the laboratory business” with technology, would require innovative business solution uniquely designed and molded around their company’s specific business model and processes. Jahanara’s goal is to provide those integrated solutions which provide a consolidated view of all your operational data—whatever the source—on one shared platform can foster interactivity, collaboration, and reduce risk.

“We work with the unique needs of each company in proposing the development of an operational dashboards with automated data integration, aggregation, and signal detection in interactive visualizations, which allows for centralized, remote monitoring of project performance in real time. Reviewers would be able to zero in on signals and trends that could affect operational performance and make smarter decisions about how to deploy monitoring resources. This would eliminate the management of various spreadsheets typically used for the tracking of these activities which are a basis of vast inefficiencies. As a result, companies are essentially roadblocked in the ability to unleash the power buried in their operational data,” she says.

Additionally, Jahanara’s competitive advantage is having extensive hands-on experience and knowledge in R&D, leveraging that knowledge and combining it with current technologies to improve drug development outcomes. “We offer some of the same products our competitors do like electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) or client relationship management (CRM) systems. But we also offer products no other companies have. First, we can integrate information from their existing point solution products so that, second, we can bring together all their important business information into a single platform which allows for a consolidated view of their business including associated metrics and analytics. Our ability to build an all-encompassing system quickly and cost efficiently is unique,” she further adds.

Partnering with clients to help take them to the next level is the key!

Metrendalytics culture is to really partner with its clients to help take them to the next level. The team works with its customers to understand their business, their pain points and where they want to be in the future. Being knowledgeable in the industry allows Metrendalytics to understand each client’s specific situation allowing the company to be flexible to design the tools they need to be successful. Metrendalytics’s goal is to add value and transparency for all levels of the organization. Jahanara’s vision is to improve the “life of the scientist in the laboratory” by providing tools to leverage already existing information. “We help mid-level managers drive improvement gains through automated capture of metrics and trends. We provide senior level executives up to the minute visibility to their entire portfolio to understand current status of their projects and where action is needed to keep programs on track. By being more efficient with information, we help all levels of the organization perform better to help take time and cost out of the drug development process,” Jahanara says.

Earlier in her career, Jahanara worked very hard to earn an opportunity to advance her career. She was working as a scientist in the lab and developed several important assays to help advance her company’s portfolio of drugs in development. This along with her dedication to teamwork was recognized by her supervisor who took a chance on Jahanara by promoting her to head of the laboratory. “Our group expanded the capabilities of the laboratory and I was eventually granted a US patent for one of the drugs we developed. This was one of my greatest achievements.”

Jahanara also considers starting her own company, Metrendalytics, as a great achievement. She could have continued her career in pharmaceutical development but instead had the courage to trust in her instincts and experience to go out on her own and pursue her passion for making things better for the industry as a whole. It’s a decision that she is grateful for every day. “Last, but certainly not least, I count my daughters as my greatest achievement. Both of whom saw me as a woman working in the pharmaceutical industry and also being a mom to them. They both decided to follow in my footsteps working in pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry after earning Masters Degrees. Couldn’t be more proud of them,” Jahanara shares.

Ethics of hard work and wanting to make things better

Jahanara believes she had a successful career in the drug development industry because of her ethics of hard work and wanting to make things better for the industry. This, along with a lifelong passion to learn and apply new technologies is what also drives the success of Metrendalytics. She has assembled a group of like-minded successful individuals who work together with the goal of making its customers successful. She focuses on being authentic and bringing value every day. Trying her best not to keep a fixed mindset in order to be able to explore new opportunities. She says, if you wait for things to be perfect, you can miss opportunities. Her mindset is never stop adapting, for Metrendalytics, experimentation has helped her reach a product market fit.

Listening to the customers is the key to bringing them the goods and services they need, believes Jahanara. This motivates her every day. Constantly developing additional services and solutions that complement core communications offering that in turn help customers maintain their relevance as well as helping them to increase their revenues and profitability. Metrendalytics are relentless innovators by design as well as necessity. “We are constantly making tweaks to products and testing new functionality to see what resonates best with our customers. Seeing their amazement in what we can do for them keeps us motivated to do even more,” Jahanara says.

Getting a fresh perspective is important

Jahanara advises fellow businesswomen to “Keep learning and adapting. Don’t let roadblocks or failures deter your drive. Look at the world through the eyes of other people. People get caught up in their own vision without carefully considering what might be the actual flaws in their plan. Best to take a step back and get a fresh perspective. Accountability is also key, things like responding to emails on time, doing what you say you’ll do and being genuinely honest and hard-working to not only the customers, but all people, gives others faith in you and more likely to recommend you as a trusted friend, rather than just as a business.”

Jahanara’s company continues to build a network of experienced, results oriented subject matter experts in laboratory, drug metabolism and chemistry manufacturing and controls. This expanded knowledge base provides access to new global markets and opportunity to leverage its technology to benefit these areas. “We will continue to adapt and using new technologies including Blockchain technology are also an important part of our future roadmap. It is clear this is the next disruptive technology that will offer fundamental changes to the way companies do business. Blockchain holds great potential as a unified solution for efficient and secure management of information around the globe. Its uniquely distributed network would enable the development of complete end-to-end information management for every company and product. By allowing multiple stakeholders to participate in distributing the network, it creates an incredibly secure database, without the patchwork configuration of previous technologies,” Jahanara concludes.

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