What Do a CTMS and a PlayStation 4 Have in Common?

May 14th, 2015 Blog Matt Kiernan

This past Christmas Santa Claus bestowed upon my household a shiny new PlayStation 4.  This highly in-demand gaming system featured the latest processor and next generation graphics, along with a whole slew of functionality that either improved on that of its predecessor or had previously been absent altogether.  The old PlayStation 3 had to be taken out of service, and the new PS4 “implemented” via a power cord and newly freed-up HDMI cable.  Fairly simple and straightforward, sure, but we decided to take this opportunity – in that brief span of time where (gasp) there was no gaming system at all hooked up to our TV – to rethink the way we did things.  Changing systems (and looking at that freshly gaping maw under the flat screen) inspired us to take a good hard look at ourselves (and our TV stand) and consider, “Could we be doing things a different way, and improving our PlayStation experience?”

The first thing we did was change the place where we kept the games, from behind one of the glass doors on the side of the TV stand (poor accessibility) to the open (but still mostly out of sight) and easy to reach area under the shelf where the PS4 was to sit.  The controllers, which could typically be found anywhere from on top of the TV stand to underneath the couch, were placed in a small bin on a hidden shelf under the coffee table.  And since the PS4 has an increased focus on downloadable games, we decided to take advantage of this feature, with great results – fewer trips to the store, access to low cost independent games, and a near elimination of the need to get up and swap discs when moving from one game to the next.

Now, a new clinical trial management system (CTMS) – or EDC, or SharePoint portal, etc. – may not be quite as entertaining as a PS4 (I’ve never seen those other systems stream Netflix), but there are some obvious parallels here.  Implementing a new CTMS is a great time to take a good hard look at your processes to see what can be improved upon.  A new CTMS will almost always require a new set of processes.  After all, the reason you’re getting the new system is that it’s better (and therefore different) than your old system.  Furthermore, the CTMS might contain features – like downloadable games on the PS4 – which allow you to create new processes and reap benefits that weren’t even possible with your old system.  But it’s not just the processes which speak to actual interaction with the new system that will need to be examined.  This is a great time to step back and evaluate your overall processes in the area that the new CTMS is a part.  By revamping your processes you can not only make them more efficient but they can (and should) be designed in such a way as to dovetail nicely with the new system.

Remember too that if you’re putting in a new system and revamping processes, you’ll need to make some organizational changes as well.  First, you need to find the system a home – who is going to ‘own’ it? (As the one with the credit card, I’m the designated PS4 ‘system owner’, despite the fact that Santa didn’t leave it for me.)  It helps to have conversations with individuals to get a better understanding of their concerns (being able to buy the new games they want) and perhaps more importantly get an idea of their expectations of the new systems (being able to play multiplayer games with their friends).   Regardless, you need to make sure that what the people need (a good set of reports, for example…or the new Lego Marvel game) will be available from the system at launch, or you’re setting everyone up for a disappointing experience.  Game on!