The expectations and demands of R&D labs around the world continue to grow, with a push for rapid product innovation. To respond to the call, there is great excitement and momentum around the “lab of the future” concept, a clear path forward to help R&D organizations take advantage of new technologies and processes to stay competitive.
As part of this journey, digital transformation is a must as it empowers R&D organizations to take advantage of everything the lab of the future promises. However, to truly elevate and accelerate lab innovation and fully leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), it’s important to approach digital transformation from a digitalization standpoint vs. digitization.
Digitization, according to market researcher Gartner, is “the process of changing from analog to digital form. For example, by scanning a document or PDF, you are digitizing an object, and if cataloged, stored and shared properly, it can provide insights through the act of reviewing that digital object.
Digitalization (emphasis on the “AL” part of digitALization), on the other hand, is when data is collected and processed through advanced digital technologies, and as a result, leads to a fundamental and profound change that focuses on the collection of standardized, structured data, which can then be leveraged throughout the research and development process, enabling more rapid innovation in the lab.
Digitalization is key to achieving the many benefits derived from digital transformation, as it provides structured data that can be leveraged across the entire innovation process—from developing formulations to expediting experiments and products to customers.
And while the impact and use cases of digital transformation are expansive, we’ve developed this quick list of 3 key areas that we’ve seen immediate impact with our customers when they digitally transform their labs with Albert’s data-driven R&D platform.
1. Easy Access to a Single Source of Truth
Companies are often surprised by how much time their scientists spend looking up chemical and material properties, safety information, pricing, and inventory information, frequently pulling from static sources. When all that reliable data is in one central system, scientists have a single source of truth; and time spent searching or chasing down information is drastically reduced.
Plus, with all the data in one ecosystem and accessible through easy-to-use tools, teams are able to see why products are classified with certain hazards and how they should be handled. Such tools reduce risk, increase reporting accuracy, and save time when it comes to experiment iterations and shipping products.
Albert’s end-to-end R&D platform provides our customers with real-time information on inventory quantities available in their labs, as well as easy access to data on more than 50,000 commercially available materials and a rapidly growing database of industry compliance standards. Plus, with Albert Regulatory Automation, customers are able to generate GHS compliant product labels and SDS for faster shipping, something that would not be possible if data wasn’t readily accessible.
2. Unlocks the Past, Helps Predict the Future
Lab scientists and technicians greatly benefit from quick and easy access to data from previous experiments, allowing them to answer questions such as how much of a certain chemical was used? Or what were the outcomes? Leveraging such data from past experiments, materials analysis, or other work saves precious time, money and resources. By delivering the data insights from past experiments, organizations help scientists ‘stand on the shoulders of those before them’ vs. working in silos and re-running similar or past experiments.
Plus, when you add the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to the structured data collected in a centralized digital system, it enables unprecedented insights and efficiencies for scientists to expedite innovation.
With Albert, scientists do not have to recreate the wheel. Our Worksheet enables innovators to more quickly develop and manage formulations in one centralized location, leveraging Albert Insights’ artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to predict future outcomes and reduce product development cycles.
3. Enables Better Resource Allocation
Lab work may require a white coat and safety goggles, but scientists today do a remarkable amount of work in spreadsheets and other software tools such as ELNs, LIMS and CIMS. But with siloed data and isolated processes, scientists end up spending a larger percentage of their time managing or communicating the status of experiments.
A centralized data-driven approach to researching, formulating, and managing experiments enables up-to-the-minute information on tasks, experiments, and products to be shared across an organization. Plus, specific tasks can be more easily assigned to technicians or other facilities and lab locations to take better advantage of all available expertise, resources, and equipment.
By bringing all of the data needed, from start to finish, into one place that is easily accessible and shareable, Albert makes formulating and managing experiments more efficient, enabling easier resource allocation, collaboration, and reporting. It also allows for secure sharing of information and provides an audit trail while facilitating seamless collaboration with the labs across town or around the world.
Lab Transformation, it’s All About the Data
Structured, readily accessible, and reliable data is key to digitally transforming your lab and critical in the success of your journey to the lab of the future. And if done correctly, it can deliver immediate impact to your R&D organization.
At Albert, we know a thing or two about modernizing the R&D lab process to identify and unlock pockets of time savings and areas of efficiency with data. As an end-to-end R&D platform, Albert integrates all of the important components of traditional and siloed lab systems—providing a more comprehensive approach to managing the entire research process. This end-to-end approach is a key distinction that empowers our customers to truly digitally transform their labs, and innovate faster.