Interview by N-SIDE’s Life Sciences Marketing Coordinator, Doménica Torres.
I had the opportunity to sit down with some members of the N-SIDE Supply App Development Team in order to share with you some insights about the job they do. You will see how their work encompasses different N-SIDE values. With excitement and interest, they open the door for you to take a peek at the impactful work they do every day on our clinical trial supply optimization solution.
Estefania: For me the main motivation is the impact that the product has in reducing waste. I think something that is interesting as well, is the combination with impact on people: we are not only reducing waste in the clinical trial supply chain, but also making sure that it is done in a safe way and ensuring that patients receive their medication. We also work towards ensuring that science is moving forward, all of that by having a nice combination of technical work and understanding of the industry.
Louis: For me it is very similar, I like working in a challenging project with the goal of reducing waste in order to allow pharma companies to work more efficiently.
Marie-Marie: Indeed, it is both about reducing the ecological impact and also about making people’s lives easier. What the Supply App does is something that used to be done in very complex and even inaccurate ways. With our solution, we are turning something very complex into something easier.
Jean-Baptiste: I have two main reasons. First, is the fact that we try to have an impactful solution for the patients, while focusing on the research and development part. Second, is the problem of optimizing the clinical trial supply chain that is being solved, which is very complex and interesting. I really love that the solution is fulfilling these two needs: the need to have something impactful not only for the global clinical trial community, but also for the world because it has a positive ecological impact by reducing waste and bringing the drug faster to the patients; and the need to have something complex and challenging to do every day. We apply cutting edge technology to solve problems, which is not something that every company does.
Marie-Marie: Building new features. We have a finished product, but each day we build new features. It is very exciting to see a product that is there, adding to it and seeing users applying what we create. For me it is really validating to see the product grow, and really say “Yeah, I did that part”.
Louis: I like that on a daily basis we work on different aspects. We have front-end tasks, back-end tasks, we work on the simulation algorithm or also on our SaaS (Software as a Service) framework. I really like that my work at N-SIDE allows me to be close to the business, the clients and the different teams.
Marie-Marie: At N-SIDE, and definitely in our team, we know that if we come up with an idea, we can discuss it with the business and even with the clients to see if it is something that we could add in the product. As a developer, you know that you can make suggestions and that they will not be ignored.
Estefania: I think something that is very interesting in working and developing the Supply App, is the teamwork and collaboration. I feel that on a daily basis, the team spirit is wonderful and we have the space to actually propose things based on our knowledge. I believe that is the basis of innovation: connecting dots from different places and making sure that we are not only improving things that exist already, but really trying to go the extra mile and propose new ideas. Trying to solve problems together is great, but taking into account technical aspects, business aspects, user-knowledge, etc., is not always an easy task. However, when you actually do it, you feel very accomplished, you really feel like “Yes, we did it!”
Jean-Baptiste: What excites me the most is to propose a solution to a problem that is very complex and that is not solved by other companies. Trying to push for changing the mindsets of people to actually care about optimizing what they do. If I had to summarize it, I would say that it is all about looking forward to the destination, which is the impact, but also enjoying the journey, which includes all the challenges that we face on the way there.
Marie-Marie: That one is easy for me: collaboration. We collaborate very closely within our team, but we also communicate and work with other teams. For example, we work very closely with the team working on the SaaS framework because we have our in-house framework and we need to make sure that we are working in the right direction. We are also communicating and collaborating with the Production App team to make sure that both apps are aligned. Then, you also have the technical side of the team working on the platform, which is not even within our department. Each team has their own way of working and you need to make sure that communication is fluent within all teams, which is not always easy, but is a lot of fun.
Louis: From my side, I would pick collaboration, innovation, fun and diversity as the basis of innovation. In our team particularly, diversity is very high.
Estefania: The values that really speak to me are passion and collaboration. We are a team of passionate people that want to make a difference in the world. We want to make sure that what we do has meaning and that we are waking up every day trying to do something good together. There are things that we want to improve in the Supply App, and ideas that we can bring to the table so that we increase the value for users and patients, and I think that the hardest part is choosing on which elements we need to focus at a given time. Sometimes we have tough conversations, but is important to have passion and collaboration as part of those interactions. It would be harder to move forward if we did not have these values at our core whenever we are having such discussions.
Marie-Marie: Indeed, as every other company, sometimes we have more challenging conversations, but we are honest with ourselves and transparent with everyone we work with. I appreciate that we have an attitude of making a mistake and not looking for someone to blame, but instead trying to understand what happened so that in the future it does not happen again. I really appreciate that in our team we learn from the past and move forward.
Estefania: I agree. Learning is a keyword. It is not an N-SIDE value itself, but rather a part of our culture. The world is constantly changing and so we must adapt. Learning is a key aspect of our work. We are open about the things that are going well and can be aware of the things that could be improved.
Jean-Baptiste: I believe that a lot of values are at the core of the development of the Supply App. Among all of them, I would mainly mention innovation, creativity, and fun. What makes N-SIDE really interesting to me is that we "work like captains, but play like pirates", there is really a fun atmosphere. All the values allow for everyone at N-SIDE to bring forward ideas, to propose new things, to give their voice and also to fail. This is very important, people are allowed to fail because this is the only way that you get people to truly innovate. If you do not allow people to fail or you set too high expectations about failure, people are less likely to try new things. Our mindset is that when something fails, it is the team that failed, it is not about finding someone to blame. Our culture is really focused on people. At N-SIDE, we do not force people to perform, we focus a lot on making sure that people are well supported and that they have the tools they need, and by putting so much focus on them, they naturally perform extra well. If we would only focus on performance, we would not be reaching the levels that we are currently reaching.
Marie-Marie: I have several actually, but first are the Dashboards. I am very visual and I find the Dashboards bring a lot of value to the App, because they take numbers and put them into visuals that some people would not be able to understand otherwise. For a visual person, such as myself, it gives so much more value than just having the result out there.
I also like our simulation engine because the ability to run simulations is really at the center of the App for me.
Louis: In my opinion, the most important part of the App is the simulation engine, which is powerful, but also combined with the intuitive user interface and the reporting tools. Otherwise, we would not be able to leverage the numbers that come out of the simulations.
Estefania: To me, it is the Monitoring Dashboard, because it is the intersection of all of the strengths of our App. The first thing is the simulation & the optimization that we are doing for these clinical trials. Making sure that we have the simulation engine that allows us to make optimal decisions, that intersects with the visual capabilities and also with real data. We have the IRT data that is coming in the dashboard and that is being leveraged with all the other capabilities in the App in a way that allows to make decisions, but also to reach people through the visuals that we have. I also like it because it is a place where I am pretty sure there is still room for improvement in order to have a lot of impact in the industry. Something that is also very important for me is reach, making sure that we are not only providing better data to make better decisions to reduce waste and satisfy patient needs, but also to make sure that every person who needs this data can actually have it.
Jean-Baptiste: I would say the Monitoring Dashboard too. It is not an isolated feature, but what I like is that you can visualize what is happening and what was forecasted. It is not only forecasting the average of what should happen, but using the “cone of confidence”, with the minimum and maximum thresholds of the strategy, to show that during the simulations we have build a plan that will hold if you stay within the thresholds, and you can see really where you are at. With the plans on the Monitoring Dashboard, you can truly assess if you need to do something about the clinical trial supply strategy. It supports the people who are managing clinical trial supply chain who are usually under a lot of pressure. The feature allows them to go into the tool and really see what is under control and lift that mental charge of inputting data manually for comparison, and therefore allows them to focus on tasks that are more interesting for them and their company.
Marie-Marie: I would say the people. I love doing my work, but working with people who are happy to be at work and enjoy collaborating and having fun together is great.
Louis: I like being able to participate and lead multiple development tracks and that each track brings value to the customer, so what we do is really making sense. Finally, as Marie mentioned, working every day with nice and talented people is a pleasure.
Estefania: The first word that came to my mind was people as well. I think that it is very important to leverage everyone’s strengths to achieve something great together. Finally, I think what is super nice about the Supply App Development Team specifically, is that we rely on a lot of other teams too. I think that makes our team very open, and creates connectivity. We are working with Marketing, consultants, business, basically with everyone, and having those interactions allows us to see the impact of what we are doing.
Jean-Baptiste: Something that happened recently was that one of our clients at the User Group Meeting presented a case in which they had to do two clinical trials in parallel, which they thought that they would not be able to finish within the timeline. However, N-SIDE came in, and with the N-SIDE Suite and in collaboration with the users, they were able to run three clinical trials in parallel. It is gratifying because this was all N-SIDE teamwork, and you could see the general output of what we do. It is collaboration that allows us to have the impact that we are striving for and, in cases like this one, it is not just words, it is something that you can really see and touch.
Estefania: From my side, I am very excited to keep on learning and growing together and to see what is next. I think there are a lot of challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to seeing everything we can do and the impact we can create
Louis: I am sure that we are going to keep learning and growing together and I am looking forward to this.
Jean-Baptiste: I would like to say as a final word that we have a tool, which we are always trying to improve and has an impact, but what we as a company want to do in the future is to expand this impact to a lot more companies and a lot more users. We want to improve it by working on the platform, on the services, on the marketing, but always as an N-SIDE team. We want to expand our reach, so that in the end we can increase the impact of our solution for the patients and the planet.
I would like to thank these members of the Supply App Development Team for taking some time from their challenging and busy jobs to answer my questions and give some insights into what motivates them to be part of this team. The passion with which they work really resonated throughout the interview and it is yet another example of how N-SIDErs work with a purpose, always trying to have an impact, while still enjoying everything that they do.