Girish Pashilkar

Girish Pashilkar

Girish Pashilkar is CEO of BP Logix and an executive with over twenty years' experience in setting up and growing businesses in the technology sector.

Recent posts by Girish Pashilkar

8 min read

The Evolving Role of Medical Affairs in Pharma Companies

By Girish Pashilkar on Jun 21, 2022 11:37:02 AM

The future of medical affairs

Pharmaceutical organizations must constantly evolve in order to stay competitive in the market and compliant with regulations.

Recent years have seen significant change in the role of medical affairs teams in the pharmaceutical industry. COVID-19 accelerated these changes. As a result, many medical affairs departments now face a pressing need to meet shifting expectations.

Technology is in a unique position to alleviate some of the growing pains that medical affairs teams experience as they take on greater responsibilities. Process automation, in particular, can play a valuable role in streamlining and improving the efficiency of medical affairs workflows.

With process automation solutions, medical affairs leaders can:

  • Deliver actionable insights to key decision makers
  • Reduce administrative overhead to enable team members to spend more time on stakeholder engagement
  • Digitally engage HCP’s and KOL’s increasing the capacity of the team to engage these key stakeholders
  • Streamline collaboration across departments to speed up the new drug development
  • Contain costs, by introducing new efficiencies

The role of process automation is becoming more critical as the field of medical affairs continues to grow. In this article, we’ll walk through why and how medical affairs is changing (including the role played by the COVID-19 pandemic), and dive deep into how technology must adapt to meet the needs of this growing sector.

How medical affairs is changing

Historically, medical affairs provided support to the research and commercial pillars of pharmaceutical and medical device companies, but that's changed drastically over the past decade.

These organizations are faced with increasing regulatory pressures, rising drug development costs, and a faster-paced competitive market. To meet the increasing market demands, medical affairs departments are facing greater expectations and workloads without a proportionate increase in budgets. 

To address this challenge, companies are turning to process automation solutions to help medical affairs teams do more with less. By automating routine tasks and optimizing resource utilization, medical affairs teams can focus on delivering high-quality, credible information to physicians and patients in a timely and efficient manner.

Medical affairs is brought to the table earlier in the drug development process to foster more seamless collaboration with other departments and contribute to strategic decision-making.

COVID-19's impact on medical affairs

covid-19 vaccination

The changes to the medical affairs industry have been in the works for the past decade, but the COVID-19 pandemic galvanized the situation further by rewriting the script on (a) how pharma develops and brings drugs to market, and (b) how the HCP/MSL engagement model functions.

Developing and bringing drugs to market

When we talk about how the pandemic changed the way drugs are developed and brought to market, there’s no way not to mention the impact that Operation Warp Speed (OWS) had on the time-to-market speed for pharmaceutical products.

OWS was initiated by the United States government in spring 2020 to help accelerate the development and distribution of testing, vaccines, and therapies for COVID-19.

In addition to saving millions of lives and helping gain better control over the pandemic, the operation demonstrated that it was possible to move pharmaceutical products through the development and approval process much faster than previously thought.

Of course, developing a vaccine to combat an active pandemic is a unique situation. Most drugs do not warrant emergency use authorization, nor are they backed by the whopping $10 billion budget granted to Operation Warp Speed by the CARES act.

Even so, it’s an incredibly valuable case study for medical affairs teams and their colleagues to consider in medical planning. The process for developing and approving drugs often takes between 10-15 years. Imagine a pharmaceutical market that reduces that timeline estimate by half.

That's not only a game changer for patients – it's a competitive advantage for businesses in the pharmaceutical industry.

While the conditions for developing drugs under a pandemic are not replicable for most other drugs, investment in automation technology can emulate some of these fast-paced outcomes. Upgrading medical affairs software with automated solution can not only help teams move faster and more efficiently, but they also provide a better experience for users.

Shifts in the HCP/MSL engagement model

The first year of the pandemic marked a significant increase in digital engagement interactions between healthcare providers (HCPs) and medical science liaisons (MSLs).

Due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, MSLs were now conducting the vast majority (or in some cases, all) of their work remotely.

This new mode of working meant that they could easily engage with multiple HCPs in a single day.

But how did HCPs feel about this change?

According to a June 2020 EU5 report, 55 percent of HCPs said they preferred transitioning to virtual engagements with MSLs. However, only 30 percent of HCPs expressed satisfaction with the quality and value of these digital interactions.

These stats illustrate that the demand for digital MSL engagements is there, but there is still work to be done to ensure these experiences are useful for HCPs.

In the white paper, “Beyond the Field: Evolving Field Medical Engagement and Talent for the Future,” the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) suggests that the increase in digital MSL engagement presents a golden opportunity for the medical affairs industry to take steps to improve their processes:

“The move to virtual conferences and meetings, where data is not consumed in real-time, has highlighted an opportunity for the industry to revisit compliance, review and approval processes to keep pace with information needs. The timing and consumption of information changes significantly when it’s available online for a clinician to download at their convenience. […] This amplifies the need for the accurate and accelerated review/approval of materials to accommodate the speed that data is consumed virtually.”

The most effective way for pharmaceutical organizations to grasp this opportunity and satisfy the needs of KOLs is to prioritize technology investments that can improve the quality of digital engagements.

Oversight and compliance challenges 

oversight and compliance in medical affairs

Another critical way medical affairs is changing comes down to compliance and oversight. As scientists and pharmaceutical leaders seek innovative treatments as quickly and safely as possible, the regulatory environment grows more complex by the day.

A significant reason for this complexity has been the outgrowth of pharma applications to more technical, niched scientific areas. Today, pharmaceutical companies are making important advancements in the realms of biologics, mRNA technologies, gene therapies, and more.

These advancements necessitate greater scientific rigor and oversight for medical affairs processes across the board – which is important for safety and validation, as well as for ensuring the sponsoring organization can remain competitive and reduce their legal risk.

The challenge is that as regulations grow more robust and complex, an organization’s SOPs must evolve to meet those requirements. This is another area in which technology must play a critical role.

Investing in purpose-built technology can lessen the challenge of updating SOPs to match the complexities of the moment, as well as help teams work faster because automation makes it easier to meet compliance requirements and check for debarments.

Medical affairs technology needs are also changing

In addition to the impact of COVID-19 and the pharmaceutical industry’s ever-changing regulatory requirements, medical affairs faces greater pressure to provide better customer experiences (CX) and user experiences (UX) to physicians, payers, regulators, journals, and congresses that must access and review drug information digitally.

There are a variety of different tools and technologies that medical affairs professionals can use to improve efficiency and productivity both within their organization and outside of it. These technologies range from custom applications to licensed outsourced solutions, but choosing the right ones is not always simple.

Pharmaceutical companies face three main challenges when researching and selecting technologies:

1. Identifying functionality that can evolve with them

With how quickly medical affairs teams are growing and changing, it’s imperative that the technology they use can evolve with them. That is why any technological solutions under consideration should:

  • Meet the emerging needs of the medical affairs professionals.
  • Offer the flexibility to customize solutions within its architecture.

For example, in our discussions with medical affairs leaders about their publication planning systems, one of their primary motivations for seeking out a new technology is frustration with the functionality of their existing solutions, including out of date user interfaces, failure to keep up with changing business or regulatory requirements, and insufficient customer support. These incumbent solutions are often longstanding in the industry but have grown complacent, neglecting to prioritize innovative improvements.

Download the PubPro product fact sheetAs the role of medical affairs grows more complex and wider in scope, these mission critical teams are chafing against the confines of technology that can no longer meet their needs and expectations.

That is why our team of process automation experts created a new publication planning solution, PubPro.

PubPro is designed to improve the speed and efficiency of publication planning processes for medical affairs and medical communications teams. Customers can reduce their publication planning costs by as much as 50%, in addition to solving high stakes compliance issues.

2. Overcoming the perceived burden of switching technologies

Another major hurdle to overcome involves all the perceived barriers associated with switching technologies.

When an organization has used the same system for managing a process for many years, it can feel daunting to make a switch to a new solution. Even if the new solution promises outstanding improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and user experience, organizations may feel tethered to their existing systems and processes for "sunk cost” reasons or they may rationalize that it’s simply “not the right time to shake things up.”

There may also be concerns about the transition itself. Will the implementation and training period cause disruptions to critical projects? How difficult will it be to migrate from the old system? How challenging will it be to train employees on the new system?

The fact is, medical affairs leaders do not have the luxury of taking their time to onboard software slowly, which is why technology partners must prioritize delivering a fast and seamless transition to their customers.

3. Ensuring seamless integration with existing technology

One of the functions of a medical affairs team is to help connect various departments at their organization with external stakeholders, such a HCPs, KOLs, and patients.

In order for medical affairs teams to work effectively, the organization's data must be able to move seamlessly across departmental and organizational boundaries while maintaining privacy and compliance standards.

That is why it is imperative that technology buyers at these organizations ensure they are making investments that can easily integrate with existing tools and legacy systems. The end result should be a streamlined, cross-functional workflow that provides clear visibility into any bottlenecks.

The ideal choice of technology to meet these needs should provide multiple options to enable single sign-on and multiple formats for exchange with the existing technology platforms.

Maximizing competitive advantages

With how rapidly the medical affairs landscape is changing, it’s important for pharmaceutical leaders to bring in technologies that can match the gait of this fast-paced growth and be ready to adapt quickly to new developments and requirements.

Ready to level up your medical affairs team? Contact our team of process automation experts to learn more about implementing one of our process automation solutions at your organization.

Topics: publication planning publication management
6 min read

Workplace Vaccination & Testing: Why Doing Nothing is Not an Option

By Girish Pashilkar on Jan 12, 2022 10:00:00 AM


After spending the better part of two months winding its way through the courts, OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Vaccination and Testing has finally reached the Supreme Court.

Based on how the arguments played out last week, many legal experts predict the ETS is likely to be struck down, which begs the question:

If the Supreme Court blocks the ETS from moving forward, are employers off the hook for adopting a workplace policy requiring employees to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing?

Not necessarily.

Regardless of the fate of the OSHA ETS, employment law experts agree that doing nothing is not an option. Let's walk through the four main reasons why employers should start tracking employee vaccinations and testing sooner rather than later.

1. Employers must still contend with state and local requirements

Even without federal-level guidelines requiring employers to implement vaccination policies, there are still state and local governments that have rolled out their own laws and mandates.

California, New York, and Illinois enacted vaccine mandates months ago, and some states, like Minnesota, have adopted the ETS as part of their OSHA state plan.

At a local level, cities like Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia have also announced vaccine requirements for many businesses operating indoors.

Multi-state employers have even greater challenges

Employers will obviously need to be prepared to comply with their specific jurisdiction’s laws, but the situation is even more complicated for employers that operate in multiple states. Multi-state employers must contend with workplace vaccination requirements that vary widely across multiple jurisdictions.

For example, an employer may have to simultaneously accommodate requirements from states that have instituted strict employee vaccination mandates, while also taking care not to overstep in states that have instituted bans on requiring employee vaccination.

Complying with the requirements of multiple jurisdictions results in a significant administrative burden for HR teams, which is why technology needs to play a key role in managing such complexity. That’s why we equipped our Vaccine Tracker app with functionality that allows employers to create multiple policies under which employees can be classified.

2. Vaccination and testing policies can help employers avoid lawsuits by reducing their liability

Another huge reason employers need to get serious about rolling out an employee vaccination policy? Avoiding lawsuits from employees.

The OSH Act’s “General Duty” clause says employers have a “general duty” to ensure a safe workplace for employees. This clause is not dependent on the passing of the OSHA ETS, which means that the potentially fatal consequences of doing nothing to mitigate the spread of the virus within a workplace can result in costly litigation, OSHA penalties, and considerable hits to a brand’s reputation. 

It's no surprise to see the uptick in employment and labor lawsuits related to COVID-19. According to the Jackson Lewis COVID-19 Employment LitWatch, there have been 287 cases citing workplace safety since March 2020.

See’s Candies hit with COVID-19 wrongful death suit

One of the most notable cases is a wrongful death suit filed in California against See’s Candies. An employee of the company claimed general negligence and premises liability after she contracted COVID-19 at her workplace and passed it on to her husband, resulting in his death.

What’s interesting about this case is the court’s decision that the employee’s COVID-19 negligence claims are not subject to exclusive remedy provisions in the state’s workers compensation law. Sometimes referred to as “the great bargain,” exclusivity provisions are designed to shield employers from civil litigation involving liability and negligence in exchange for providing injured workers with compensation for workplace injuries.

When See’s Candies cited exclusive remedy provisions as a reason to dismiss the lawsuit, the courts refused. Their reasoning was that the “grand bargain” does not extend to injuries and deaths of non-employees because exclusivity provisions are an arrangement between employer and employee.

So, how do employers avoid lawsuits like this? 

While employers in states with stricter requirements around employee vaccination and testing may already be legally compelled to cultivate a safe workplace, employers in jurisdictions with more lax requirements should explore rolling out a policy that can insulate the company from future litigation.

“Employers should continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, local health departments, state requirements, and of course, OSHA, for implementing best practices in the workplace,” explains Melanie L. Paul, a Principal at Jackson Lewis, P.C. “Reliance on such guidance could be an employer’s best defense to COVID-19 lawsuits. And, even without the ETS, OSHA will continue vigorous enforcement. Temporary staffing agencies as well as other higher-risk industries are especially vulnerable to being targeted by OSHA for COVID-19 related inspections under OSHA’s Revised National Emphasis Program for COVID-19."

One idea for reducing liability is to implement a policy that aligns or draws from the OSHA ETS guidelines. Aligning your workplace policy with the OSHA ETS can reduce employer liability by serving as an affirmative defense in the event of litigation involving injuries stemming from an employee’s exposure to COVID-19.

"Federal OSHA sets a floor, not a ceiling,” Paul says. “OSHA state plans, or any private employer, for that matter, can adopt the ETS or require even more to combat COVID-19.”

We’re already seeing this move from some private employers, as well as states like Minnesota, which have adopted the ETS as part of their OSHA state plan.

3. Tracking vaccinations and testing helps you manage incidents quickly and avoid short staffing or revenue loss

Keeping track of employee vaccinations and COVID test results can help employers ensure compliance and reduce legal liability, but there’s one other major business benefit to consider. Requiring vaccinations or testing in the workplace allows you to make smarter, more informed decisions about your business operations.

The need for these insights couldn't be more evident in the wake of the recent Omicron surge that left many workplaces reeling. As the highly contagious variant swept the nation, businesses were forced to run with skeleton crews or shut down completely for a few days because so many workers contracted the virus seemingly all at once.

Without knowing the vaccination or testing status of employees, you can’t accurately assess the risks in your workplace, nor will you be able to respond quickly enough to manage incidents and mitigate potential impacts to revenue.

For example, if you require employees to take a COVID test every week and disclose their test results, it’s much easier to spot and isolate potential outbreaks in the workplace before the virus spreads to more of your staff.

You can easily automate processes like this with vaccine tracking applications like the BP Logix Vaccine Tracker. This application can not only help employers track employee vaccination data and test result data, but it also offers incident management features. If an employee tests positive, the system can trigger workflows for mitigating spread to other employees and facilitating the employee’s safe return to the workplace once they have recovered and are fit for duty again.

4. Clients of staffing firms and other vendors may require vaccination/testing proof for any worker placements

Rolling out an employee vaccination and testing policy is especially critical for businesses that place employees at client worksites. For example, staffing agencies that work with numerous clients must be able to accommodate the workplace policies of all of their clients. If they can’t, the staffing firm could risk losing business.

Making sure a staffing firm’s workforce can comply with policies across multiple client placements undoubtedly creates a lot of administrative burden, but technology can reduce that burden. In the case of staffing agencies, the BP Logix Vaccine Tracker allows administrators to create unique policies based on the requirements of each client worksite, which can then be applied the workers based on their placements.

Start tracking employee vaccinations and COVID testing in mere weeks

end-user-voew-vaccine-trackerWhether or not the OSHA ETS is reinstated, employers should still prepare to track employee vaccination status if they want to truly reduce their risks in a global pandemic.

The BP Logix Vaccine Tracker application can help. This app makes it easy for large employers, staffing firms, and PEOs to:

  • Track employee vaccination status, test results, and symptoms
  • Comply with vaccination requirements across multiple jurisdictions
  • Avoid COVID-related workplace liability lawsuits

Book a free demo today to get started:



Topics: vaccine tracking
6 min read

IT Process Automation: What is it & What are the Benefits?

By Girish Pashilkar on Dec 13, 2021 11:30:00 AM


IT Process Automation (ITPA) is an approach to streamline IT operations through automated workflows. An analysis conducted by McKinsey at two financial services organizations revealed that a staggering 90% of IT departments were focused on inefficient and manual tasks such as testing, code-fixing, and maintenance. ITPA automates these kinds of inefficient, repetitive, and manual IT processes to improve operational efficiency and eliminate costly human errors.

A few widely-known ITPA use cases are:

  1. Service request handling
  2. Bug reporting and testing
  3. Compliance monitoring and IT security
  4. Incidence response, messaging, and notifications
  5. IT asset tracking and management
  6. Server automation (automation of server shutdown and restart, and automation of server disk space cleanup)
  7. Network automation (deploying patches to network devices and triggering upgraded configuration settings)

As ITPA becomes increasingly popular and beneficial, Gartner predicts that 40% of Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) teams in large enterprises will use AI-augmented automation to improve IT productivity and achieve greater agility by 2023.

We put together a complete guide that reviews the steps involved in IT process automation and explains how it benefits enterprises across all industries.

How does IT process automation work?

IT departments should create predefined events or workflows before setting up ITPA tools. For instance, the IT department may need to create a bug-tracking workflow involving steps such as capturing bugs, prioritizing bugs, assigning bugs to the relevant team, fixing bugs, and pushing the fixed code to deployment before setting up an ITPA tool.

An ITPA tool can automate workflows using three vital steps, which include:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Trigger
  3. Reaction

1. Monitoring

ITPA tools may monitor the performance of the system against the pre-defined performance metrics until a trigger or a defect is detected. For instance, the bug-tracking ITPA tool monitors for bugs in the software application until a bug is detected.

2. Trigger

When a trigger is detected, the ITPA software starts the automated workflow. For instance, when the bug is detected in the software application, the bug-tracking ITPA tool would start the next workflow (in this case, perhaps fixing or isolating the bug) automatically.

3. Reaction

The ITPA tool then automatically performs all tasks involved in the workflow as a reaction to the trigger. For instance, the bug-tracking ITPA tool automatically executes the workflow that involves capturing the bug in the relevant format, prioritizing the bug (based on its intensity of impact), and so on.

How does it differ from business process automation (BPA)?

Business Process Automation (BPA) is an approach to streamlining general business functions with the help of digital technologies. Though both BPA and ITPA automate manual and repetitive tasks, there are several differences between both of these approaches.


Business Process Automation

IT Process Automation

Focus The focus of BPA is broad as it is concerned about the entire organization. ITPA is narrowly focused on the IT department and technical processes.
Automated tasks BPA can automate business functions encompassing all departments. For example, a BPA can automate the HR practices such as hiring, onboarding, leave management, and performance management. Likewise, BPA can automate finance-related tasks such as accounts payable, payroll, invoicing, and tax compliance. ITPA tools streamline business functions encompassing only the IT department. For example, an IT process automation software can automate IT processes such as service requests, change requests, ticketing systems, asset management, and compliance.
Complexity and skills requirement Users don’t need to have advanced coding skills to deploy BPA tools. Even a citizen developer who does not have coding knowledge can deploy low-code or no-code automation tools that streamline simple and daily tasks. ITPA tools are often deployed by technically savvy IT teams to automate complex IT processes. These tools are built with advanced functionalities that require higher-level skills to deploy.


Main benefits of IT process automation

ITPA plays a vital role in the digital transformation of the business. It helps the organization improve the efficiency of IT service delivery. Here are some of the other main benefits of ITPA to businesses:


IT businesses waste a lot of resources on repetitive and manual processes. For example, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) spend huge amounts of money on the Service Desk. Nearly 40% of calls that a MSP service desk receives are about password resetting. According to Forrester, a few large-scale organizations spend over $1 million for password-related support costs. The average service desk labor cost for a single password reset is $70.

An ITPA enables MSPs not only to automate routine tasks, but also to create a self-service interface that allows their customers to remediate incidents such as password resetting on their own. The self-remediation helps MSPs save money that they otherwise spend on password resetting help desk service or other menial requests. Gartner also predicts that hyper-automation technologies may help enterprises reduce operational costs by up to 30% by 2024.

Increased transparency between tech teams and management

Automation makes internal processes more transparent. ITPA tools not only show business users what the process looks like, but also the status of the process after it starts. The authorized people can control who can view the process and give user-based permissions.

By implementing ITPA tools, the management of the enterprise can track the status of network infrastructure and collaborate effectively with tech teams to improve the compliance, security, and efficiency of the IT operations.

Improved productivity and better utilization of IT staff

In a recent survey, 74% of IT and engineering leaders said that process automation helped their human resources save up to 30% of the time previously spent on manual processes.

ITPA software tools enable enterprises to free up qualified IT personnel from doing manual tasks and engage them in activities related to strategy, innovation, and technology. The productivity and utilization of staff can be measured in various ways, including employee time savings, cost savings, and faster operations.

Mitigate costly IT and human errors

One of the most obvious benefits of ITPA is that it mitigates costly human errors.

Did you know that most service outages are caused by human intervention? In fact, on February 28, 2017, Amazon Web Services S3 got disrupted due to a small mistake done by an authorized executive.

According to Amazon, the glitch happened after the person wrongly entered the command which resulted in the removal of additional servers. This human error took down Amazon Web Services for around 4 hours. An ITPA tool might have helped prevent the Amazon Web Services S3 outage caused by human error. Enterprises may need to implement ITPA tools to mitigate costly IT errors.

Increased compliance

ITPA tools restrict unauthorized data access and improve compliance through granular process monitoring, automated reporting, and audit trials. For instance, enterprises need to change server administration passwords every 30 to 90 days as per the security compliance standards. ITPA systems can automate and complete this laborious and time-consuming task with zero error and meet the compliance requirements.

Likewise, an ITPA tool can run an automated workflow to check if servers, applications, and networks meet the compliance before triggering and performing an update.

IT Process Automation Solutions with BP Logix

IT Process Automation tools work just like Business Process Management (BPM) or Robotic Process Automation (RPA), but they are narrowly focused on IT operations. Enterprises can use ITPA tools for network automation, server automation, storage automation, and application automation. ITPA tools, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, are often built with advanced functionalities that require technical proficiency and coding skills to deploy.

A few main benefits of ITPA are cost savings, increased compliance, reduced human errors, improved productivity, and higher transparency among internal staff. Enterprises may need to implement ITPA tools to improve the accuracy, speed, and efficiency of IT operations.

Discover how the Process Director, a workflow automation software from BP Logix, can help you automate your IT workflows and improve the efficiency of IT service delivery.

Get in touch with us today to learn more!

Topics: business process automation
3 min read

Vaccination Mandates for Staffing Firms, PEOs, & HROs

By Girish Pashilkar on Dec 3, 2021 7:15:00 AM


How does your company plan to respond to employee vaccination mandates?

What does the Fifth Circuit’s decision to stay OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard mean for staffing agencies, PEOs and HROs? What is the best strategy for employers to mitigate risk while protecting their employees? What can employers do to prepare for the additional administrative burden of tracking employee vaccinations and test results?

Join BP Logix on Tuesday, December 14 at 11:00 AM PT for Vaccination Mandates: Imperatives for Staffing Firms, PEOs, and HROs, an educational webinar that explores these questions with the nation’s top employment law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C., and leading analyst firm, Intellyx.

Following the discussion of how staffing firms, PEOs, and HROs should respond to vaccination mandates in the wake of recent court challenges, our panel of legal and tech experts will answer your questions during a live Q&A session.

Register for the webinar

Can't attend the webinar?

Register today and we will send you a recording of the webinar after the event for you to review on your own time. If you have any other questions, please contact us.

Meet our panelists:

photo of Melanie Paul

Melanie Paul, Jackson Lewis P.C.

Melanie L. Paul is a principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is co-leader of the firm’s Workplace Safety and Health practice group. Her practice focuses on occupational safety and health and wage and hour issues. Melanie's clients benefit from her unique inside experience as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for more than a decade.

photo of Jenifer Bologna

Jenifer Bologna, Jackson Lewis P.C.

Jenifer Bologna is a principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Jenifer is a member of Jackson Lewis’ Disability, Leave and Health Management group. She specializes in preventative advice and counsel primarily related to disability and leave management issues. Jenifer helps employers navigate the complex and growing body of federal, state and local laws, most notably the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

photo of Charles Araujo

Charles Araujo, Intellyx

Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. He is Principal Analyst with Intellyx, the first and only industry analyst firm focused on agile digital transformation. He has authored three books and published over 100 articles. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight Magazine and has been quoted or published in magazines, blogs and websites including Time, CIO, CIO & Leader, IT Business Edge, TechRepublic, Computerworld, USA Today and Forbes.

Register for the webinar

Topics: vaccine tracking
3 min read

10 Reasons Why Workflow Is Important For Your Business

By Girish Pashilkar on Jul 30, 2021 8:06:00 AM

The importance of workflow in business

During the course of our relationship with customers, there is usually a point that constitutes the "a-ha" moment. It is at that time they realize the importance of workflow in standing up an automation initiative.  While few dispute the need for workflow, it usually requires seeing workflow ‘in action’ (and understanding the resulting benefits) before people recognize that workflow is important and is more than just a tool for process efficiency.

Developing your workflow is important but it has challenges; it’s like planning the world's largest reception and taking into consideration every plate, glass, napkin, hors d’oeuvres, beverage and the hundreds of other details that must be coordinated beforehand. Planning the reception mandates viewing the event holistically yet acting with singular precision. 

Workflows operate in a similar way. They create a foundation on top of which business activity can happen more efficiently. The result is the ability to view, operate, manage, analyze and improve your business in dramatic ways.

Knowing the importance of workflow is one thing, but having a sense for what an effective workflow software solution is — and what it can do — is the next step.


The following list may be helpful in better understanding the importance of workflow and specific areas that business process automation software offers tangible workflow-related benefits to organizations:

1. Paper trail is replaced by a digital trail

We have talked with people who manage warehouses full of files. The result is a morass of paper, cabinets, lost or misplaced documents — and stress. Workflow software keeps digital copies of files, automates the routing of tasks, alerts those who need to take action, and keeps a record of everything relevant to the process.

2. Eliminate redundancy

So much activity in an organization is duplicative (or, worst, wasteful.) A workflow software solution helps to identify up-front the critical points of activity, enabling you to define specific actions, participants and results that should occur.

3. No stopping for signatures

Electronic signature technology on eForms allows for fast approvals (including executives on the go) and the reduction in time lost as a result of waiting for paper-based signatures.

4. A better understanding of how time relates to action

Business activities are deadlines driven. Effective workflow solutions provide triggers that keep processes moving according to a timeline, enabling participants to see precisely when and where input is required.

5. Greater insights

Your business processes are meant to deliver results. You should know what is happening within your operation at any point in time. Workflow is important because it gives you regular insights into what is occurring within your processes, the people involved, and a sense for how effectively your organization meet its deadlines.

6. Automation focuses on activities

A workflow engine that has the ability to create automated workflows allows you to set up processes, then let them run. The majority of work that occurs within processes can be automated, freeing up time and allowing you and your team to focus on more strategic activities.

7. Accentuates the positives

Workflow is important because it's an excellent tool for assigning tasks to people based on their strengths and skill sets. By giving people the most appropriate tasks, you can improve productivity and keep employees more engaged.

8. Workflow is important because it never forgets

Every activity in digital workflow is tracked. Whether you need information for compliance purposes or to review how your organization operates, the ability to quickly see the ‘who, what, where and how’ of your processes provides important insights.

9. The business runs the business

Workflow used to be the domain of people who walked around buildings with plastic flowchart tools; it was a fairly specific function. Now, there are workflow solutions with rapid application development software capabilities that enable and encourage non-developers to build, adapt and manage workflows. Business managers know the importance of workflow and how it has become an important tool for themselves, ensuring that the requirements of the business are not at the mercy or interpretation from IT.

10. Encourages collaboration

Whether through more access points (mobile, Internet of Things), communication channels (social media), or platform (on-premise, cloud, hybrid), a solid workflow solution gives everyone involved with your processes—both inside and outside of your firewall—the appropriate level of access along with the BPM tools to make a difference.

Have more questions about implementing strong workflows in your business? Contact BP Logix today.

Topics: workflow
5 min read

How Low-Code Automation can help Pharma Evolve - 5 Key Imperatives

By Girish Pashilkar on Apr 15, 2021 2:48:09 PM

The average cost of developing a drug is $2.6 Billion and rising, with a 12% success rate1.  As pharma companies look to 2021 and beyond, the Medical Affairs, Commercial and Regulatory affairs teams will be collaborating more closely amongst themselves and with third parties to accelerate new product launches while navigating burgeoning compliance requirements.  What role can technology play?  In this blogpost we explore how low-code software platforms can enable a competitive advantage learning from the experience of one of the largest Pharmaceutical companies in the world.  

 EOS Slides (1)

5 key Imperatives for Pharma

Agility: Pharma leaders are increasingly turning to the concept of agility to help them navigate a volatile, uncertain and complex external environment2.  COVID 19 has challenged the sector to explore innovative ways to produce new drugs faster and cheaper.  Pharma leverages “Agile” practices from the Tech industry to do more rapid prototyping of new drug concepts and “fail fast” to get to the finish line quicker with the right candidates.  With a low-code platform, companies can quickly put in place automated workflows to approve new concepts and tailor the priorities as more information becomes available. 

Transparency:  As Pharma aspires to move new drugs faster through their development pipelines, they must also recognize the greater demand for transparent data, policies and operations.  Regulations change depending on product categories, delivery mechanisms and legal jurisdictions.  For example, when preparing to publish in peer review journals, rigorous debarment checks and review of authorship agreements are essential.  Furthermore, regulatory requirements are constantly changing.  It is important to select an automation platform that can handle the complexity of Pharma while also providing the necessary audit tracking. 

Collaboration: Expiring patents and a tight regulatory environment are just some of the issues that are hoped to be resolved through forming partnerships across the industry, academia and even with competitors.  There is also need for greater collaboration between public and private sectors so that we can combine capabilities and experiences.  For example, the launch and distribution of the COVID 19 vaccine saw collaboration between, J&J and Merck, Oxford and Astra Zeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech.  Geographically dispersed teams both within and outside of an organization can work together using tools such as Collaborative Document Authoring and Management.  It is important that data privacy, version and audit tracking ensure the integrity of any work products of such a collaboration. Learn more about our compliance capabilities here

Patient Outreach: Patients are emerging as an important decision maker in healthcare.   Medical Affairs must develop a deep understanding of patients’ needs that encompass the patient insights from different healthcare stakeholders.  This will require a more flexible engagement model that utilizes multiple channels including mobile and social media.  Does your automation provide you the capability to have compliant communications across multiple channels?  

Cost Containment: US healthcare costs increased from 5% of GDP in 1960 to 18% in 2018. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that by 2028, such costs will climb to $6.2 trillion, or about 20 % of GDP. How does your choice of a workflow automation platform help you maintain a consistent focus on optimizing medical value across the product lifecycle?  Does your platform provide you better visibility into your process bottlenecks in a real time fashion?  Do you have a spaghetti of multiple applications adding to your cost of managing processes?  Can you consolidate some of these applications and invest the savings in areas that help you make your processes more agile and compliant? 

 Click here to learn how a Low-Code Platform can help you gain the competitive edge in Pharma.   

2 min read

How Enrollment Leaders Use Tech to Transform Student Experience

By Girish Pashilkar on Mar 2, 2021 2:00:00 PM

Keeping enrollments up is mission critical to institutional leaders in higher ed and increasingly so as balancing budgets have become more difficult amidst funding uncertainty with Covid-19. However, as every VP of Enrollment knows, keeping enrollment levels high isn’t something they can manage without collaboration across departments.

The move to a virtual student model has exacerbated the misalignment of student expectations with institutional processes. Processes and priorities need to be coordinated across new student recruitment, registration, financial aid, student support services, curriculum development, and other academic areas that affect enrollments, student persistence, and student outcomes.

When processes and departments remain siloed, student experience suffers. Asking students to consistently swivel between disconnected systems, scan and email documents, or worse yet, run paper from one department to another for signatures can negatively impact student satisfaction early on.

Siloed Enrollment Experience

One of the key hurdles to achieving cross-departmental coordination is that systems and processes are often siloed and disparate. How can enrollment leaders break through these silos with their limited budgets and resources?

Integrated Enrollment Experience

Traditional approaches of building cross functional processes rely on a combination of working with large monolithic ERP systems (eg: Ellucian/ Banner, PeopleSoft, etc), point SaaS applications and custom-built applications. The challenge with these approaches is that they fail to adequately address the core problem, which is to allow for seamless processes across organizational silos.

With a low-code platform, higher ed institutions can use a single platform to build out a broad range of connected applications across the enterprise keeping the student at the center. The right low-code platform can connect at the backend of enterprise applications and serve as the technology layer to providing a consistent user experience. This can be done without requiring an army of software developers and the associated high costs and lack of agility. 

With BP Logix Higher Ed Edition, leaders in enrollment and student services have the added advantage of a platform that understands the unique needs of higher education (eg: accessibility, FERPA compliance, etc) and comes with built in templates for a broad range of processes across functional areas. Add to that access to a community of higher ed professionals with whom you can collaborate and benchmark processes.

Build best in class processes with minimal support from your IT organization. For example, the University of Central Florida created a student portal in less than 45 days. The portal allowed students to access a broad range of services across multiple departments by conveniently logging in from their computers, kiosks and mobile phones.

“We care about making sure our international students have the best student experience, so we asked ourselves, how do we use technology to make this better? Through forms and workflows, we connect with our students and make sure the data gets into our SIS or continues to our internal processes,” said Paulo Graxton, Associate Director of Operations at UCF. “Working with BP Logix has absolutely improved our student experience.”

A better student experience was one of the key reasons for 15% year over year growth in student population. Learn more about how higher ed leaders like Paulo are using automation to improve the student experience in our upcoming webinar Driving Better Student Engagement through Automation

3 min read

A Case for Investing in HR Onboarding and Offboarding

By Girish Pashilkar on Nov 13, 2020 2:52:16 PM

HR - Onboarding V1.2

A survey of 350 HR leaders in the U.S. found that 76 percent of respondents’ workplaces1 are not effectively onboarding their new hires. A delayed or uncoordinated onboarding can result in lost productivity, low employee morale and, in extreme cases, unplanned attrition. Similarly, missing key steps in offboarding can increase your compliance, litigation and reputation risk.

Several studies have been conducted that point to the need to paying closer attention to employee onboarding and offboarding and investing in HR automation. For example: 

  • More than 50 percent of job seekers checked a company’s job reviews on Glassdoor before applying for a job.
  • Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
  • Employees who have negative new hire onboarding experiences are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future
  • 88% of employees think their employer did a poor job with the onboarding process

The challenges of onboarding and offboarding

The average new hire has 54 activities to complete during their onboarding experience which makes it one of the most complex HR processes. Therefore, it is not surprising that the main reason for neglecting onboarding includes managers not having the time to undertake it (57 percent), the absence of tools to measure its effectiveness (55 percent) and the lack of digital onboarding technology to automate the process (39 percent).

Today's workforce is made up of digital consumers, and they expect the same conveniences of on-demand, flexible, and simple processes and innovation at work that they experience in their personal lives. More recently, the COVID 19 pandemic has forced several organizations to maintain a high level of flexibility with their staffing plans, resulting in higher-than-normal level of termination, hiring, and rehiring. This has increased the HR onboarding and offboarding workload on an already lean HR organization. 

At most organizations, onboarding and offboarding of employees touches multiple departments and sometimes, external entities. The end result is typically an onboarding and offboarding process that is both complex and unique.  As a result, a cookie cutter approach and off the shelf software tools rarely gets the job done.  What is more is that HR policies can change as can the needs of the hiring manager.  Not only is it important for these critical HR processes to be tailored but they also need to be agile and responsive to the changing needs.

How to improve the employee onboarding and offboarding process

Given the complex nature of the onboarding and offboarding processes, HR organizations need a way to build tailored processes quickly and easily adjust them as their requirements change to create a positive onboarding journey for new employees.  Similarly, because the HR teams are burdened with an overflowing to do list, they need access to intuitive dashboards and reports that inform them and alert them about deadlines, processes and resources.

A low code onboarding and offboarding platform is a better technology to build and automate your process compared to either building such a workflow as a custom application from scratch or a rigid off the shelf application.  A low code onboarding and offboarding platform is like a set of Lego blocks that can be quickly assembled to create a tailored workflow.  In addition, the right onboarding and offboarding platform should have the following key capabilities:

  • Easy to install and upgrade.
  • Low code – no coding knowledge required.
  • Rich integration capabilities that make it easy to coordinate the HR onboarding and offboarding process across multiple departments.
  • Strong in audit tracking of the activities which can be critical for certain industries.
  • Powerful process modeling capabilities allow clients to model complex processes with ease
  • Ability to proactively identify potential delays and recommend corrective action to ensure timely onboarding. 
Using the right onboarding and offboarding platform can help you:
  • Gain 70% in cost savings
  • Improve internal team productivity by 40%+
  • Reduce in process time (5 to 10 times faster)

Take decisive action now

Click here to learn more about how some of your colleagues are using a low-code platform to address the unique challenges posed by onboarding and offboarding. In particular, how they are quickly assembling tailored onboarding and offboarding processes to improve their employee retention and relieve the HR team from administrative tasks at an affordable cost and in a short timeframe. 

Topics: hr automation
2 min read

UNC Nutrition Research Institute: Improving Efficiency with Automation

By Girish Pashilkar on Oct 27, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Scientific research requires a complex web of documents, processes, approvals, and reviews, and to keep things on track. To support all of that work also requires that back-end functions like finance and accounting be efficient. That’s why many research-based organizations turn to Process Director from BP Logix as a way to create, deliver, and adapt their operational processes. Being able to put move quickly enabled the Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill - (UNC) to be agile in the face of sweeping changes from COVID-19.

UNC is home to a wide array of research centers and laboratories conducting leading-edge projects to deliver scientific progress. NRI is among those, and is an internationally recognized facility that conducts innovative studies relating to how differences in requirements and responses to diet affect our individual nutritional needs. Their research has led to successes in preventing or mitigating the negative effects of chronic diseases and aging, as well as in improving human development, even prior to conception.

To keep the engine of innovation humming at NRI requires the work of an entire organization — HR, Finance, IT, and other departments that must be effective at their tasks to enable NRI-based research to become usable. When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, all these groups within NRI had to retool their processes and workflows in order to maintain continuity. 

This transformation effort included adapting to new procedures and policies for managing operational and HR expenses. Especially pressing for the NRI operations and administrative teams was the need to modify existing forms for reimbursement, invoices, and purchase orders related to COVID-19. These are expenditures that hadn’t been planned for prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and it was critical to track them because these expenses translate to research dollars lost. The institute had to be able to deliver accurate and timely reports on the financial impact of the pandemic to university, state, and federal sponsors that support its research.

Speed and accuracy were essential requirements. Process Director helped them code expenses quickly on the front-end which saved the NRI finance team approximately 100 hours in following up with their laboratories and doing retro campus journals to code the expenses as COVID-19 after the fact.

In our recent webinar, Eduardo Serrano, Deputy Director of Research Business and Operations at NRI walked attendees through their experience implementing workflows using a low-code approach. Joined by Dave Kieffer, Vice President of Research and Large Enterprise Systems at the Tambellini Group, these two experts explain how NRI used Process Director to rapidly implement change, with adherence to specific requirements, and without requiring expensive custom software development. Specifically, it covers:

  • How workflow is uniquely qualified to streamline processes and rapidly implement changes with a low code approach
  • Insights and trends from The Tambellini Group on the new resource-light approaches to workflow automation
  • An introduction to and benefits of using a low-code approach to workflow automation

Learn more about workflow automation for higher education, or contact our team of process automation experts to learn more about our low-code platform.