News and Views

Global Service Desk Solutions – Supporting Your Pharmaceutical Facility

by | 27 Jun, 2024

Pharmaceutical companies of all sizes and in all locations need skilled, proactive, and scalable technical support that is always available and hands-on when it needs to be. One of the challenges is how to achieve that level of support when you have laboratory and/or manufacturing facilities in different locations around the world.

You might have a strong and well-resourced technical team at your headquarters in the US, for example. What about your facilities in Europe or Asia?

This is where a Global Service Desk solution can help.

A Global Service Desk provider can handle everything from ticket resolution and maintaining day-to-day operations to developing digital transformation strategies and managing large-scale IT infrastructure projects.

At Westbourne, we specialise in providing Global Service Desk solutions to companies in the pharmaceutical industry.


Best-in-Class Global Service Desk Solutions

What makes a best-in-class global service desk solution? It should feature the following elements:

  • Outsourced to an expert provider with extensive expertise across a wide range of technologies and business processes.
  • Access to technical resources remotely or at your location.
  • Direct pharmaceutical industry experience and extensive knowledge of compliance processes, regulations, and best practices, including Computer System Validation, Computer Software Assurance, and 21 CFR Part II.
  • Skilled, qualified, and experienced engineers.
  • 24/7 availability with response processes tailored to your requirements.
  • Multilingual capabilities, especially if you have facilities in multiple jurisdictions.


Focus on Key Areas

Pat Minogue, General Manager at Westbourne, said: “My recommendation to pharmaceutical companies looking at Global Service Desk options is to focus on a few key areas. The first is the importance of having direct expertise on the ground.

“Remote support is okay in some situations. We have extensive remote capabilities at Westbourne for this reason, with bases of operation in Ireland and New Zealand to give us follow-the-sun capabilities.

“However, there are other situations, especially in pharma labs and manufacturing facilities, where you need to be hands-on, on-site. As a result, we also have extensive experience where our engineers operate on-site at client facilities.

“The people providing the support is the next key area to focus on. In the pharmaceutical industry, technicians with IT industry expertise will be able to provide support, but only in certain areas.

“The reality is the pharmaceutical industry is unique. The technologies, applications, and platforms that are commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry are unique. The compliance requirements are unique. The interface, or lack of interface, between IT and OT – operational technology – is also unique. This means IT industry expertise is not enough. You also need pharmaceutical industry expertise at an engineering level.”


The Journey

Pat added that another key area to look at is how to get started with a Global Service Desk solution provider.

Pat said: “The final focus area is the starting point in your relationship with a Global Service Desk solution provider. The number of tasks and issues, and the scale of what you want to achieve, can be so vast it is difficult to identify a starting point

“My advice based on working with many pharmaceutical companies over the years is that it is a journey typically beginning as a joint-operated service before transitioning to a fully managed service as the relationship matures over time.

“The journey often starts with information, so you know what is happening and why.

“This evolves to ensure current performance capabilities are maintained and benchmarks achieved.

“After that we can start optimising, setting new performance benchmarks, and raising standards.

“This then leads to transformational projects – digital transformation – where performance standards are raised even further and critical business metrics are improved, from reduced error rates and enhanced automation to minimised costs and optimised OEE.”


Ireland’s Well-Established Ecosystem

Pat also emphasized the importance of having the right support for your pharmaceutical facilities. He said: “Technology, both IT and OT, is critical to the operational viability, profitability, and competitiveness of modern pharmaceutical operations. The right Global Service Desk solution will augment your existing technical resources, wherever they are located, so you can achieve your objectives.”

Westbourne is part of a robust and well-established ecosystem supporting the life sciences sector in Ireland. Commenting on the Enterprise Ireland website on the growth of Ireland’s life sciences sector, Dr Christian Stafford, digital health sector lead at Enterprise Ireland, said Ireland has a world-renowned reputation in life sciences.

Dr Stafford said: “There is a large pool of talent to power the health tech sector and along with research, academic, and the clinical system, we have created a very rich ecosystem for health tech to grow and thrive. We have taken advantage of being a small, open, and connected economy to ensure all stakeholders are engaging and working together effectively – this collaborative spirit and the structures we have in place, have been accelerants of innovation and growth.

“The ecosystem here is mature, robust, sophisticated, accessible, and highly collaborative and this has arisen by both design and opportunism. The foundation stone has been a large, globally leading multinational sector in tech, MedTech, and pharma and this has been bolstered with a very strong and large indigenous health tech sector.”