Quick Guide to Trends in Pharma Big Data


When it comes to pharma analytics, it’s a whole new world out there.  We all know the traditional data sets, from CRM call activity to third party syndicated data, such as Rx and payer.   Meanwhile, just as in other industries, new data sources are becoming available from APLD to EHR – with PGHD in the not too distant future.  With so much data available, it is not surprising that Gartner recently reported that CIOs’ top investment priority for 2014 – 2017 will be business intelligence and analytics.  So with this priority in mind, what four trends can we act upon today, to revolutionize pharmaceutical analytics?

1. Analytics is shifting from reporting to data discovery

While only 30% of business users today have access to BI, this number will grow as companies implement solutions that allow users to conduct their own analysis, to find out what they need to know, when they need to know it.  The power will be in the hands of the users, be it commercial operations or a sales rep in the Field.

2. Apple & Google contribute to health data aggregation

By 2017, over 50% of analytic applications will use new data sets obtained from instruments, such as health monitoring systems: wearable (e.g. glucose meters), ingestible (e.g. medication adherence monitoring) or digital health management (e.g. fitness or nutrition app) devices.  With Apple’s recent HealthKit announcement, quickly followed two weeks later by Google Fit, the platforms are being built today, with the prediction of data aggregation and population trends to come tomorrow.

3. BI vendors will be domain specific

By 2017, analytical software vendors and SaaS analytical solution providers will be indistinguishable.  In fact, BI software vendors will move towards establishing domain expertise to enable data self-discovery.  Rather than a “one sizes fits all” BI tool, the trend is moving towards vendors that stand out from the pack in terms of industry domain expertise and that can build this knowledge into their solution, thus taking the development burden off of the IT department and providing best in class analytics.

4. Cloud based analytics will help companies cut costs

Pressure will be on the commercial team to cut costs.  According to a study from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, 40% of respondents anticipated cutting commercial operations costs by at least 10% over the next three years.  However, pharma companies could save $36B over the same period and maintain operating margins of 25% by using advanced analytics and big data to hone their sales and marketing efforts.  This means providing payers the outcomes-based, numerical evidence they need to justify pricing during the contract negotiation process.  And, it also means finding patients in niche populations (and the doctors that care for them) as they develop finally tuned marketing plans, to include social media or improved HCP targeting.  Enabling these analyses will not be in-house, homegrown systems.  Rather, nimble, cloud-based solutions will keep pace with changes in big data and analyses requirements.

The pharma analytics world is evolving.  Analytics are shifting from standard reporting to data discovery and the amount of data available is growing exponentially. With emphasis on cost cutting coupled with the need to be more strategic in their marketing efforts, companies that partner with domain specific, cloud-based BI vendors will be well positioned for this new world.

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