Developing Standard Operating Procedures for your Technology Transfer Office
By Jarrod Livingston, Inteum Company
One of the major points of feedback we’ve received from our community is the desire to create standard operating procedures for their TTO. This is easier said than done for many offices, and the steps required to develop what can sometimes be a complex set of SOPs can be daunting, but the reward is great.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are critical for the technology transfer industry in particular due to the large number of detail oriented action items and diverse range of data that TTOs must manage. No matter the size of your office, having a staff that operates under the same considerations, and maintaining a database that reflects these best practices, will pay huge dividends for your entire operation.
What are the benefits?
Maintain data integrity
This is perhaps the most important advantage to creating SOPs and it supports the other two benefits listed here. If your data is not properly maintained, your office could miss critical deadlines and compliance obligations. It may also result in inaccurate reporting, as well as wasted time when your staff must correct mistakes in the database.
Provide a foundation for informative reporting and analytics
A database provides no value if you are unable extract data from it in a meaningful fashion. Powerful reporting and analytics tools allow you to make informed business decisions. SOPs help structure your data in such a way that provides meaningful reports based on your specific needs.
Time is money. Developing SOPs can have a large impact on staff time and investment in your office. Cutting down on mistakes and creating processes saves time and even makes it easier to handle staff transition.
How do we get started?
Some items to consider:
- Clarify the workflow process at your office. Who is responsible for different data areas? Consider disclosures, intellectual property, agreements, financials, CRM, and communications.
- Get specific. The more specific you are, the more fine-tuned the SOPs will become. Consider the ideal timeline, manual or electronic submission, etc.
- After identifying a well-defined process, assign a staff member or team to develop the SOPs. Different departments may even be responsible for different areas.
- Keep in mind how the SOPs will map to the structure of your database. Of course, it helps to select software that reflects best practices of the industry to begin with!
- Set a schedule for completion of the SOPs.
- Communicate/disseminate the finalized SOPs to your entire staff. In some cases, it may be advisable to include training sessions.
- Include a review process to update SOPs as needed and ensure they are being followed correctly.
Whether you are a small office or large enterprise, standard operating procedures will save you time and money, improve office operations, and support a more informed infrastructure.
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