How Pharma can Better Leverage Big Data to Support Business Strategies

August 26, 2015

Megatrend #13: Pharma Must Go Big on Collaboration to Close the Gap on Big Data

Digital health initiatives revolving around “big data” are ongoing among global pharma firms, but continue to trail other industries. Nearly two-thirds of pharma professionals surveyed believe their companies could do a better job of leveraging big data to support business strategies.1

Capturing the full potential of big data will require collaboration across the healthcare ecosystem with life sciences organizations, providers, payers and social and governmental organizations.2 The surge in healthcare-related data provides opportunities to gain insights and competitive advantages like never before.

Pharma executives understand their organizations’ shortcomings in regard to big data. On a 1-5 scale, nearly all executives interviewed for a recent survey ranked their firms at three or below for personalization, analytics and responsiveness.3

So where to start? Appoint a Chief Data Officer (CDO). This role works across traditional functions and champions data collection, prioritization, distribution, analysis and security.4 The CDO should be given the management authority for a number of cross-functional tasks, including: hiring, integration of third party tools, development of qualified teams and related infrastructure, streamlining workflows, speeding delivery of relevant data to end users, and, ultimately, deriving insights and value from data.5

Pharma must follow a few fundamental internal precepts to ensure the success of a big data strategy. Optimizing analytics within the organization means collaboration across the entire enterprise. Executives and management must encourage disruption of the status quo, moving beyond traditional organizational boundaries. Accept no objections (and there will be plenty). The organizations that best harness and share data will become leaders with distinct competitive advantages.6

Any big data design (for a specific treatment, condition, or disease) should have as its mission to create a transparent data hub that leads to improve outcomes across the patient pathway, and to deliver a better research base. Every data model should be validated by an external panel of relevant thought leaders.

Ensuring that optimal value will be gained from analytics requires simplifying the process by uncluttering dashboards and limiting the number of metrics, focusing on the meaningful metrics, establishing digitally-embedded action alerts triggered by designated behaviours, simple visualizations and designation of a few, highly-relevant metrics as KPIs.5

Advanced analytics add levels of end-user sophistication, moving from purely retrospective analytics to predictive and prescriptive analytics that leverage historical data to understand future probabilities and provide immediate responses to improve efficacy.5

The trend is a product of an evidence-based research study undertaken by the Healthcare Division in Valtech to map the pharmaceutical landscape of digital mega trends. The research study provides essential insights on how Pharma companies could utilize digital engagement to break down stakeholder barriers, impact stakeholder behaviour and demonstrate more cost-effective outcomes. The research study is based on information from 100+ trusted sources and has resulted in the identification of 14 mega trends.

Reach out to gain an understanding of how to execute on the underused digital opportunities

The Healthcare Division in Valtech has developed an analytical framework that can identify the engagement potential of your brand.

Please contact Healthcare Director Conny Carlzon for further advice or to set up an informal meeting.

If you want to read more about Megatrend #13 you can download more information here.

Make sure you did not miss the previous blog posts on pharmaceutical megatrends:
Megatrend #1: Pharmaceutical CEOs Lack Confidence to Act
Megatrend #2: Transforming to a Digital Business: A Fundamental Paradigm Shift
Megatrend #3: The “Trust” Gap: Leveraging Digital to Reconnect with Stakeholders
Megatrend #4: Reinventing the Marketing Function for a Digital Environment
Megatrend #5: Follow the 20-20-20 Rule for Digital Budgets
Megatrend #6: Big Data, Mobile and Social Create a More Level Playing Field; Pharma is Slow to Respond
Megatrend #7: In the New Era of Quantified Self, Patients Want Pharma on Their Side
Megatrend #8: Achieving Long-term, Sustainable Growth Starts with Meeting Patient Expectations
Megatrend #9: The Majority of HCPs are now Digital Natives; and they Expect Pharma to Follow
Megatrend #10: Pharma Must Deliver a Seamless Cross-channel Experience When, Where and How the HCPs Want it
Megatrend #11: Pharma is in Prime Position tu use mHealth Across the Entire Value Chain
Megatrend #12: Pharma Must go Beyond Facebook and Twitter to Tap Into Social Media's True Potential


1. PwC. Swanick et. al. (February 2013). Dealing with disruption, 16th Annual Global CEO Survey. Key findings in the Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences industry.
2. PwC. David Levy (February 2014). Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth.
3. Capgemini. Tim Moore et. al. (2012). Multichannel Closed Loop Marketing. Digitally Transforming the Life Sciences Industry.
4. Accenture. Anne O’Riordan et. al. (2013). Accenture 2013 Technology Vision. Every Life Sciences Business is a Digital Business.
5. IMS Institute. Murray Aitken et. al. (March 2014). Riding the information technology wave in life sciences: Priorities, pitfalls and promise
6. IBM.Heather Fraser et. al. (September 2013). Analytics across the ecosystem. A prescription for optimizing healthcare outcomes.

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