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UNeMed took the TTO data bull by the horns and created its own customized solution


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 7th, 2018

For TTOs looking to improve their data management and CRM systems or evaluating new options, the experience of UNeMed — the tech transfer arm of the University of Nebraska Medical Center — is well worth studying. They didn’t buy a solution — they built one that they could continually update and tweak to meet their evolving needs.

Steve Schreiner, vice president and director of licensing and marketing at UNeMed, says they set out to find a solution that would allow for the collection, management and use of data generated from all of their combined functions. “Whether it be invention evaluation, patenting or marketing and licensing, we hoped to find something that could handle it all, while being nimble enough not to control or drive how the office would work. We wanted something responsive, not restrictive,” he says.

Their solution of choice was Salesforce CRM, and today they continue to use and develop that same system. It’s changed over the years, and almost daily they discover new ways to use it, Schreiner says.

“That is one of the most powerful aspects of the system. I can modify it in small ways, or completely scrap a function that was previously in place,” he observes. “The most important thing I tell those who ask about Salesforce is that it’s a platform. If you want an out-of-the-box solution for a tech transfer office, Salesforce is not what you want. But with an investment in time and thought, it can empower your data, allowing you deeper analysis and memories of all that your TTO does. It can help your people manage their workload and time.”

And, most of it can be done with basic, in-house IT expertise. But if you need something specific that’s beyond your ability, consultants and local user and developer groups are everywhere to help you out.

Joe Runge, UNeMed business development manager, has engaged with Schreiner in the continuous conversations about customization. In both licensing and business development, he raves about the system’s ability to support the office and its mission. “Custom to our workflow, Schreiner’s work to automatically create and populate records allows us to more efficiently do our jobs. Moreover, it has made it much easier to report our accomplishments, which has been essential for elevating the status of technology transfer at the university,” Runge says.

A detailed article on UNeMed’s data solution appears in the January issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, along with hundred of other best practices and case studies in the publication’s online archive, CLICK HERE.

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