is, and what they can do. But if the LIMS is quite configurable, then the users can do that without having to wait for IT. They can access it from anywhere.’ Another key point that has become

increasingly important, in the face of the current pandemic, is remote working and access to data at any time. ‘The whole point of cloud is that it’s available from anywhere, states Ward. ‘Obviously, it’s secure, and you can only access the system if you have the right credentials, and you’re authorised to do so but being able to have data on a platform that’s readily available, rather than put it into a platform that’s within a local network is a huge benefit. Rather than expose certain applications to make sure that’s available externally, sometimes they’re challenges for organisations in doing that, sometimes, so running it on a cloud platform definitely removes some of those challenges.’ ‘In our recent release, we’ve got additional configuration options.’ notes Williams. ‘This includes user configurable grids and views, so the scientists can say, “I want to see this information about my samples”, or about my studies, and so on. That’s on a user-by-user level, which makes it easier for them to see what they need to be able to see, they can also produce and save their own query.’ ‘Then we have a level above that, which is a “super user” level, which again, still isn’t IT, they don’t need any coding or development. But they can go in and they can manage the different options, different templates, add new fields, to capture additional data, put them on to the various forms, and then manage permissions for different roles and different users,’ Williams continued. The next level starts to get into involving IT support, but this can be used to support the development of new tables or workflows for the organisation. ‘We’re also currently working on a visual process designer, which will be more of the “super user’’ level. So, again, no coding required to open certain screens and create records, update records, but all using point-and- click, and that’s due for release in our 5.6 version,’ Williams concluded.

Cloud healthcare Amazon Web Services has recently launched its own healthcare platform, which uses the cloud to support life science researchers by providing capabilities that help organisations increase the pace of innovation, unlock the potential of health data, and develop more personalised approaches to therapeutic development and care. In a recent blog post, Patrick Combes, | @scwmagazine

director, head of technology - Healthcare and Life Sciences at Amazon Web Services (AWS), discussed the service and how it might benefit scientists and research organisations engaged in life sciences. ‘Identifying the right cloud technology to reach these goals can be challenging, and many organisations lack the internal resourcing and expertise to assess, build, and deploy their own solutions,’ says Combes. ‘To help customers accelerate their transformation, we are introducing AWS for Health, an offering of curated AWS services and AWS Partner Network solutions used by thousands of healthcare and life sciences customers.’ AWS for Health aims to simplify the

process for healthcare and life science enterprises to identify cloud-based solutions across 16 critical solution areas in healthcare, genomics, and biopharma. Health systems are looking for ways

to decrease operational costs, improve health data interoperability, and enable data-driven decision making for clinicians to improve access to quality care. Similarly, Biopharma and medical device organisations also look to accelerate therapeutic discovery and scale their

”You no longer have to maintain the infrastructure and those applications and services on premise”

manufacturing and commercialisation globally by leveraging cloud-based technology and solutions. ‘Moderna uses a broad range of AWS

services to support every aspect of its digital, data-driven operations, with the goal of reducing the time and cost of bringing new life-saving therapies to market. Moderna has demonstrated the power of its cloud-based strategy in the speed with which it delivered its highly effective COVID-19 vaccine and its capacity to scale production globally,’ says Combes. ‘Genomics and healthcare organisations strive to bring personalised medicine to the point-of-care by combining clinical information with genomic data. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) uses AWS to extract meaningful insights from vast pools of genomic data and provide industry access to its tools, offering the building blocks to support widespread implementation of personalised medicine to patients.’ AWS for Health aims to provide a

centralised repository for healthcare and

life science data to help users identify the right solution to address their business challenges. When accessing AWS for Health, customers discover a unified view across AWS services, solutions, AWS Partner solutions, and customer success stories. Customers can navigate to their industry and associated solution areas, and find curated applications.

Going back into the lab While cloud offers a centralised repository for data that can then be used to build applications and additional analytics on top of laboratory data, access and flexibility remain some of the main benefits for many organisations. Having a single platform that facilitates remote working and collaboration is a huge benefit to modern laboratory-based organisations that are forced to reduce the number of staff in the lab due to Covid-19 or that need to support flexible working practices in the future. In this case, cloud enables organisations to adapt to changing work practices while not reducing the efficiency of its workforce. ‘Whether everybody goes back to the

office full time is down to each business, but I think most organisations are looking to see where they can blend, working from home,’ notes Williams. People need access to data, but in a secure way and I think that will continue.’ Ward also stressed the importance of cloud as a tool that can facilitate agile working practices. ‘Over the last 18 months, it’s been shown that it is actually possible to work from home. But scientists need to still access the systems securely,’ said Ward. ‘That’s still going to be a requirement.

Every organisation will be different, but I think there will be sort of a hybrid, a combination of working from home and working remotely, compared to being in the office all the time.’ Williams also discussed the importance of cloud tools to support collaboration moving forward. ‘There has been a lot of collaboration during Covid, and it has been going on beforehand. But these systems allow other collaborators in different labs or different organisations in different countries to access the same study or trial information from one location. You can then assign different permissions and so on to different people,’ Williams continued. ‘So, even from this collaboration

perspective, cloud solutions are opening people’s minds up to think how these new solutions can help not just within our own organisation, but how we securely share and work with datasets across the board.’

Summer 21 Scientific Computing World 33

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