Click to download the complete case study (PDF).
Ranked among top organizations worldwide for its impact, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute conducts world-class collaborative research dedicated to finding cures for human disease, improving quality of life, and thus creating a legacy for its employees, partners, donors, and community. The institute has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes and childhood diseases. A scientific staff of nearly 900 is dedicated to revealing the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow.
As one of the top recipients nationally for National Institutes of Health grant funding, managing the disbursement for those funds is the top priority for Sanford-Burnham’s administrative team. SunGard Public Sector’s financial administration products are a critical component in helping Sanford-Burnham staff to fulfill reporting requirements and insure that research teams have the latest information available on funding.
“As a not-for-profit, we know most of our funds will come from grants,” explains Sandi Houle, manager, administrative computing for Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. “Using SunGard Public Sector products, we are able to generate very clean reports on the money going in and out, and on our funding pipeline.”
Administrators at Sanford-Burnham are not just tracking the high-level movement of funds through the organization—funding is often attached specifically to individual research projects, meaning that expenses against each project must be tracked precisely. Having up-to-date reporting on expenditures by project is critical for the scientists in charge of Sanford-Burnham’s research projects.
“With more than 200 research projects active at any given time, it is crucial that we are able to communicate clearly to the principal investigators on each project regarding funding,” says Ms. Houle. “We are able to set up templates that populate on a weekly or monthly basis, with very detailed information about finance and payroll for each research project.”
The versatility of SunGard Public Sector’s products provides Ms. Houle and her team with the flexibility to manage tasks that are unique solely to research institutes such as Sanford-Burnham. For example, since the institute’s findings are regularly used by pharmaceutical companies as the foundation for creating new drugs, administrators must track use of those patents and track expenses incurred for the upkeep of those patents. Royalties are also paid out against those patents to researchers at the institute. Sanford-Burnham administrators are able to manage patent billing and royalty payments completely through the use of SunGard Public Sector software.
“Before we used SunGard Public Sector’s products, we had several different solutions, and that was the problem,” said Ms. Houle. “There was a lot of Excel going on in this world. Now we are able to capture all our grants info and create nice reports to track success rates on grants, payroll by projects, and other key administrative info—the things we need to know.”
SunGard Public Sector’s continued commitment to technical support helps increase efficiency and productivity. “I like the approach that the most knowledgeable person is wired to take the call and if they are unavailable, then it moves downstream,” said Ms. Houle. “The steps being taken around quality help keep us unified toward the common goal.”