Monitoring Employee's Computers
RFID - The State of Affairs

Oracle CDR

In a previous post, I listed three vendors that currently offer Clinical Data Repository (CDR) software. The vendors listed were Waban Software, SAS Institute and Entimo. When I created that entry, I debated whether an upcoming competitive offering from Oracle should be part of that list. I decided not to list the Oracle CDR offering, and, for the moment, I am sticking to that decision.

My main reason for not listing Oracle CDR was that it was not yet a released product. From my point of view, if it's not released, it's still vaporware.

The purpose of this post, then, is to simply make you aware that Oracle is busy selling the solution and that potential buyers are very much aware of its existence.

As far back as March, 2006, Health Industry Insights posted an article about Oracle CDR. This was in response to Oracle announcing the product at the DIA Euromeeting.

In that article, the author stated the following:

The challenge for Oracle over the short term will be to demonstrate to life science organizations that CDR can be incorporated into their enterprise infrastructure with minimal technical effort. In addition, Oracle will need to demonstrate a compelling migration strategy for customers using existing Oracle Clinical as well as third-party or competitive reporting and analysis solutions.

One of the major value propositions of CDR is to provide users with a consistent, reusable library of views, reports, applications, transformations, and data sets without the need for extensive programming. To enable this capability, Oracle must nurture and sustain a network of third-party application partners writing adapters for CDR.

On a strategic level and over the long term, Oracle must prove that CDR leverages Oracle's Fusion middleware and provides a bridge to a service oriented architecture (SOA).

On the first point, every vendor selling a CDR solution will need to provide some type of migration strategy and tools to make it happen. However, I continue to be amazed at the level of masochism that pharma companies are willing to put up with when implementing IT solutions. So, I don't really expect this challenge to be too daunting.

On the second point, I generally agree. However, what is more important for a CDR application is that its interface be flexible and adaptive to user needs. By definition, a CDR will have users from all walks of life. If it imposes rigid behaviors on the key user groups, it is bound to fail.

On the third point, this is a problem for the "techies." In most cases, the CDR buying decision will be made by the business users with input from IT. It is hoped that IT will not have a veto position but primarily take an advisory role. SOA is not exactly taking the industry by storm just yet and we certainly don't want a chicken and egg situation when the CDR decision can lead to an immediate payoff.

From my own perspective, caveat emptor! Do your homework and don't let the hype coming from any vendor give you a false sense of security. Above all, look for evidence of real-world success and interview the people who have actually implemented and use these systems.

The CDR decision will be one of the most important you will ever make. When implemented, CDR will be the cornerstone of your data access and exploration environment. Do it right but don't take too long about it. The competitive clock keeps ticking.

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