Big Data: Are your analytics in touch with the field?

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Do you take a technical view of data or a logical view of your business?

Many analytics groups and IT teams deliver spreadsheets that compile what they believe are the best KPIs to drive the business. While these metrics may need to be measured on a regular basis and provide insights that drive performance, the way in which they are delivered can be completely disconnected from how the customer (e.g., the sales rep or manager) actually uses them.

In fact, we’ve surveyed multiple companies where, on the one hand, the Commercial Analytics group believes it is providing valuable information to the Field, yet on the other hand, the Field Force tells us they are overloaded by reports and spend hours creating their own spreadsheets to track what really matters to them.

How does this disconnect happen? Is the home office compiling copious amounts of data and delivering more of a technical view? Are they getting feedback from the field? Chances are, the Field is looking for reports that mimic how they actually work – something simple and aligned with their business process.

It’s easy to see how a company can get itself in this situation. The data sets available today – from physician sales to payer/formulary to anonymized patient level data – can be overwhelming to digest and analyze. In a quest to be as precisely analytical as possible, the home office endeavors to provide the best information it can to the Field. The team aggregates data, organizes into metrics, creates charts and graphs and serves up what may seem like an enormous compendium to the Field. What sometimes gets lost in the mix is that too much information may mean less relevant, actionable insights. Or put more simply, more time lost shuffling through reports rather than selling.

What if the process were reversed? What if, rather than scoping all of the data and attempting to distill it down to a series of reports, the reports design process began with an understanding of what the rep needs to do his job? In other words, taking a logical view of the daily process and building backwards to a series of functional reports that quickly and easily enable the rep to perform his job, while still allowing management to measure results.

While this approach may be a little more time consuming at the outset, the benefits are worth the investment. For example, the team may learn what is most important for the rep to know during the pre-call planning process and how it is best displayed. Extraneous and confusing metrics can be eliminated or made more easily understood. By the end of this process, a series of reports will be delivered to the Field, already pre-approved, with a panel of evangelists ready to help sell the reports and act as field trainers.

How did your analytical reports come to be? Do they give you the right info? Share your stories, good and bad, in the comments section below!