The Cenduit Development Difference
On August 20, 2011, The Wall Street Journal published a piece by Marc Andreessen titled, “Why Software is Eating the World,” in which he argued that the revolution in computing power and capability was, and would continue to, revolutionize existing industries where technology had not historically been a driver. Eventually every company, by virtue of this relentless evolution and increasing reliance on software - would become a software company, regardless of product, service or industry.
Cenduit is at its heart, a software-enabled clinical service company. We provide a software platform, coupled with extensive clinical domain expertise, to bring value to our customers and help smooth one small piece in the road through the clinical trials process to regulatory approval of compounds and therapies that make people’s lives better. Software is incredibly important to our business, and, our industry - and we are aggressively feeding it and tending it as it “eats our world.”
One of the ways we do that is through our agile approach to developing software. To Cenduit, part of being agile is to innovate our approach to software development by incorporating best practices from across industries and methodologies. Our primary objective is to identify new solutions that work best to meet the challenges of sites, sponsors, and the patients we serve, regardless of where the underlying ideas for those solutions comes from. We often say it’s an agile IRT with a lower case “a” way of doing things, because it represents the embrace of a concept; being nimble, fast and adaptable, and, not necessarily adhering to one particular methodology or approach. Doing the right thing, for that study and client, in a disciplined, agile and repeatable way, is more important than the specific ceremonies that occur and artifacts that are created in pursuit of that.
Of course, we’re looking at our development peers through the lens of a highly regulated industry. Unlike technology or software as a service (SaaS) providers at consumer-centric enterprises, patient safety depends on our having the right standardization, tools and delivery mechanisms to catch defects so every patient gets the right medication and the data we collect is correct. Interactive Response Technology (IRT) is a critical component of an industry fraught with risk, and it is critical that quality is embedded into all aspects of the agile development process.
The clinical trials industry is extremely dynamic, with change driven by evolving regulations, continued mergers and acquisitions, and other key trends that affect the study lifecycle. Key to our approach to the development of our platform is to understand how configurability and customizability in our IRT software can be achieved to solve client problems related to that rapidly changing landscape. This allows the services that Cenduit delivers using its platform to be agile and adaptive; just like we are in creating the platform itself. In short, how to ensure innovation is front and center; in both process and technology, to get better with every day, even as our world continues to get more complicated.
As a leader of a team of innovative developers, thinkers and problem-solvers, I’m often asked what it means to be innovative, and how you achieve that. I believe that innovation comes when you give yourself the room to step outside of your daily grind and allow yourself to think about where your team, company and industry is going over the next months, years and decades. It requires thinking far enough ahead to be uncomfortable with the prospects of disruption, due to forces as diverse as healthcare economics, politics, technology advances and industry consolidation. Then you pull your head out of the clouds and get to work, thinking about how those forces should shape your near term, without completely taking your eyes off the horizon for what is coming next. We will not know what happens in the further-out periods, but, we can be prepare for it by recognizing big, disruptive, change will continue to come, and, an organization’s inherent agility will determine how successful it is in adapting to it.
Our pragmatic yet visionary approach to agile delivery reflects the maturation by conscious evolution of our processes and organization. We ask ourselves what makes sense today, tomorrow, and years from now as we make improvements and develop new software capabilities, from single features in CIRT (Cenduit IRT) to the development of Quantum Interactive ™. Then, we translate our ideas into a business and technology development perspective, and consult with clients as we build new capabilities and launch new releases.
That level of interaction gives our development team a deep understanding and appreciation of the user experience, which is why we’re known for delivering software that seamlessly integrates into our clients’ enterprises across all facets of biopharma.
Through the day-to-day delivery of our software, Cenduit’s development team keeps that longer-term, shared vision of how IRT and RTSM technology can consistently improve. From a micro level, this review happens during agile sprint retrospectives, as we look at what we can do better. At the macro level, after each major software release we ask ourselves how we can improve efficiency and quality - that is at the heart of our values in the development process.
And while innovation is central to how we develop software, it is tempered with focus and discipline. We gauge success not only by the features we develop, but, by measuring the efficiency and quality with which we deliver them. We look at things like average velocity per developer per sprint, and, defect containment rates. We’re pleased our velocity levels consistently increase over time, and, our containment rates are consistently in the high 90% area, as we strive for 100%.
The people and processes that Cenduit has in place enables us to effectively determine how we can continue to make the lives of sponsors, CROs, sites and patients easier, and change over time as our industry evolves, and software continues to eat our world.
On the forefront: with truly viable enterprise mobile eClinical use cases emerging and converging, we’re looking at the potential for disruption from mobile apps within clinical research, and the best way to create an experience for the patient and sites utilizing mobile technologies. Watch this space.
Innovation as a whole is not one person, or one principle in practice. It’s a shared evolution in which we all play a bigger role, connected to helping others achieve better well-being.