Business Intelligence
Solutions for Pharma.
fragmentation problemThe pharmaceutical industry is awash with sales and marketing data, but getting instant access to this information to solve business problems is often fraught with difficulty. This paper discusses some of the issues involved and some possible solutions.
About the Authors: Data Intelligence is a software product and services provider for the pharmaceutical industry, specialising in market research and sales force effectiveness solutions. Read more at: Each new report or analytical request from The pharmaceutical industry is awash with sales management may mean hours, or even days, of and marketing data, but getting instant access to collating data to answer what appear to be simple this information to solve business problems is often business questions. Significant effort is spent fraught with difficulty. An immediate and fundamental massaging the data into a usable format – such as obstacle is that answering even simple business an Excel PivotTable – leaving little time to utilise the questions usually requires several sources of disparate information itself. Even for those companies who have invested significant amounts of time and money on building a data warehouse, it is often the case that Typically, a pharmaceutical company will source adding new, or modifying existing, data sources can sales and marketing data both internally from lead to significant expense and change that does not in-house systems and externally from several different fit within the timescales of the business. Factors such providers. Data providers themselves do not have a as bridging and complex data modelling all contribute completely integrated view of the sales and marketing to the time it takes to integrate the disparate data pharmaceutical universe; some specialise in primary sources into one database. Business consumers of care markets, some in secondary care and others the data such as senior managers, brand managers, have limited coverage in both. Further fragmentation sales managers and sales representatives simply in data sources occurs between national and sub-national data. In addition, it is rare for a data provider to even supply a single, integrated view of all its own available data sources.
A second, related problem is that pharmaceutical business information analysts have to contend with data delivered through a number of different proprietary software tools. Indeed some providers supply one tool to deal with one type of data and another tool to deal with a different type of data. On top of this, pharmaceutical companies have their own internal software tools to extract the data from a job. This leaves the analyst with little time for real analysis of cause and ef ect in markets – relegating important analysis of the behaviours of a market to a “nice to have”.
Determining the effectiveness of a given promotion may require According to a survey from PA Consulting the average different sources of data, both internal and external. Sources to implementation costs of a Data Warehouse are £1.25m [1]. answer this question can include retail and hospital sales audits Conspectus Magazine also reports that Data Warehousing (of which there are numerous types), primary care promotional projects frequently run into seven digits and have a 65% audits, up to three secondary care promotional impact audits and internal cost and activity data.
Data providers have historical y developed their The pharmaceutical industry faces a common products and solutions around single data sources, problem in the fragmentation of sales and marketing focusing on one particular outlet or market sector at a time. Furthermore, this approach is often inherent in the way the data provider’s business is organised • Significant amounts of time being spent – in contrast to the consumer’s need for a broader inappropriately preparing and formatting data view of the pharmaceutical universe. Internal y, pharma companies also have operational database systems • Proprietary solutions handling only one data focused on single data sources, such as ETMS, CRM, financial or HR data – al of which can be applicable to the sales and marketing teams. These factors combine • Opportunities lost because the behaviour and to hinder the provision of a ful picture of al the sales characteristics of pharma markets cannot be and marketing data in one easily accessible database.
analysed quickly enough to ensure that sales and marketing investments can be channelled efficiently. Another challenge is that historically the technology available within open-market reporting and analysis tools has not been able to cope effectively with the complex pharmaceutical data models. This has led to data providers developing various proprietary tools Ideally, any pharmaceutical company requires all its that handle only their own particular types of data. sales and marketing data in a single, shared database easily accessible through dashboards, standard Finally, pharma companies have struggled to bring reports or an analytical query tool. Adding or changing real pharmaceutical data and technical knowledge data sources should be a relatively straightforward together internally to implement a truly integrated task that simply “plugs in” to the single overall picture of all their possible sales and marketing data database. This goal is achievable if all the entities sources. Unlike other industries such as finance and and events that represent the market are correctly manufacturing, little outside specialist knowledge has modelled into a single, unified pharmaceutical sales been available to help. Hence pharma companies are and marketing data universe. Modelling the data is of reliant on their own internal IT and marketing teams for course only half the solution, since the next step is to their knowledge of the business problems, underlying build this data model into an appropriate database technology that grants any user – wherever they may be located – rapid access to the data. OLAP databases are specifical y designed for this purpose – organising data into business “dimensions” against which facts (“measures”) may be reported – and represent a very attractive technical foundation from which this goal can be met. Dimensions and related measures are grouped together into “cubes”. This provides a far more intuitive interface for navigation and analysis of the data than that normal y found in traditional relational databases. In addition they provide many opportunities for pre-calculation, which leads to significantly faster response times than alternative technologies – vital for interactive data analysis.
extracting and combining data into a single, integrated picture.
Typical y, Data Warehouses are not flexible enough to handle OLAP is a particular type of database technology designed changes rapidly enough to meet the business need. This can be for fast reporting and analysis of data in terms the business caused by the underlying data model not taking into account the typical y understands. OLAP stands for On-Line Analytical ful universe of data and so the initial design has inevitably only Processing. A more comprehensive introduction to the subject, focused on the initial data to-hand.
written by OLAP analyst Nigel Pendse, can be found on the OLAP Report website [3] Some typical examples of analyses that can be built and run in minutes, or indeed seconds, using an integrated OLAP cube are listed below: fragmented data sources into a single unified cube. 1. Impact of sales representative promotion on prescribing/product usage: a business information The following diagram illustrates an extremely analyst can quickly identify which markets appear to react faster to rep promotion, in terms of script promotion, than others. Measures from different “For Zoton, show me the achievement of target in Feb” audits can also be quickly “sliced” into the analysis to gain different perspectives on the same question. For example, by simply switching measures, an analyst could quickly analyse the impact of rep promotion on retail or hospital sales growth. Furthermore, the analyst could then slice in measures from primary care audits to see if hospital recommendations influence the prescribing behaviour and ultimately sales in the 2. Competitor intelligence: using an integrated data cube an analyst could start to analyse where rival corporations are focusing their efforts – by markets, by retail or hospital sector, or both – and how that is changing over time. Industry trends can be quickly shown by “drilling” between different time periods – years, quarters, months. Also, by simply slicing a company’s own data into his company’s activities versus the industry.
Once all a pharmaceutical company’s sales 3. Hotspots of influence: by having a range and marketing data is integrated into a single cube, of typical sub-national audits integrated into a cube, the business information analyst can step back from it is possible to see quickly where hospital specialists reviewing a single audit at a time. Instead, a complete are influencing the prescribing habits of GPs. and coherent picture of all the data is available at his Hospital recommendations from one audit can be or her fingertips. OLAP’s “speed-of-thought” queries easily compared to sub-national prescribing activity, (typically sub-three seconds) enable the market leading to identification of which hospital departments researcher to rapidly investigate “cause and effect” in which markets have significant influence over across all the combined data sources. Dimensions primary care prescribing. Sales representatives’ can be “drilled into” to help explain underlying efforts can then be effectively targeted.
behaviour. They can also be rapidly sliced and diced so that different perspectives on the same business The list is by no means exhaustive. Indeed, the fully question can be instantly compared. However, integrated sales and marketing cube would have without a fully integrated OLAP cube, market dozens of dimensions and potentially hundreds of researchers will often avoid performing analyses different attributes, meaning that the number of involving multiple data sources since the extraction, potential analyses is almost boundless. It should also transformation and bridging effort required frequently be noted that as well as market researchers, there will be a wide variety of other users of such an information resource – all with differing needs. As such, the tools employed to cater for these different users cannot be limited to a single interface – something to consider when choosing an OLAP platform.
Al OLAP platforms have the basic capabilities of dimensional A dimension is a container for one or more related attributes. model ing and fast response times. However, specific capabilities For example ‘Geography’ is considered to be a dimension are required of a platform for integrating the complete set of whereas ‘Brick’ and ‘Territory’ are considered to be attributes Pharma sales and marketing data. These include intel igent aggregation, rich dimension model support, dimension applicability, advanced calculations, dynamic views, open interface and flexible data take-on capabilities. Al of which are now supported in Microsoft’s latest OLAP technology, Analysis Services 2005.
With such a powerful information resource available a pharma company should no longer have to face This white paper merely scratches the surface of the data fragmentation problem. Instead, a complete solving the fragmented data problem in sales and picture of the market should be immediately available marketing that pharmaceutical companies face. for any market research question, saving significant Data Intelligence has developed a suite of products amounts of time as well as improving the return on the and services to overcome these challenges: PharmaANALYTICSTM is the innovative technology platform developed by Data Intelligence, which leverages the very latest Microsoft OLAP technology, Analysis Services, to provide a single integrated sales and marketing cube. PharmaANALYTICSTM has been designed by a team of experts with significant experience in the pharmaceutical market research industry. To date, PharmaAnalyticsTM models over twenty five pharmaceutical sales and market research syndicated, customised and internal data sources and harmonises them into a single, tightly integrated • Market Review – Leveraging PharmaANALYTICSTM Market Review is designed to offer best-practice reporting to service the individual needs of the marketing fraternity. Rapid development, utilising our technology framework, ensures that the expected benefits are realised in a short timescale thus through a thin-client web front-end.
• XLCubed – Data Intelligence is proud to partner with XLCubed, a leading provider of front-end dashboard, analysis and reporting tools. Leveraging the power of the PharmaANALYTICSTM platform and Excel, XLCubed’s tools are easy for anyone to use, and powerful enough to quickly progress an analysis from seeing what is happening to clearly understanding why.
• Implementation – Implementation of the Modelling your customised secondary data and own internal data sources into PharmaANALYTICSTMDeveloping customised dashboards and reports on a choice of front-ends aligned to you and your user’s needsTraining of end-users on Market Review and XLCubed Ongoing production of your data sources within the PharmaANALYTICSTM platformSecure hosting of PharmaANALYTICSTM, Market Review and XLCubed for your business Day-to-day support References:[1] Implementing a business-driven approach to data warehousing,[2] Risk Free Business,[3] The OLAP Report, Nigel Pendse, The last word: Thank you for your interest in this free paper. We welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions and would be delighted to hear about your experiences in this area.
How to reach us: If you want to learn how Data Intelligence’s innovative PharmaANALYTICSTM platform can rapidly help you to provide a ful y integrated and usable solution for your company’s sales and marketing data please feel free to contact us: We would be happy to provide a free initial consultation and demonstration of our PharmaANALYTICSTM platform at your site.
Business Intelligence
Solutions for Pharma.


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