How streamlining data procurement to a centralised process can change your pharmaceutical enterprise

Every industry has realized that data provides tremendous potential to transform the industry. With the advent of big data, Affordable Healthcare Act and recent developments in last five-seven years, Bio-Pharma companies are sitting on trove of  RWE (Real world Evidence) data along with Social Media data. Today these companies are s ailing on two boats today with one leg in big data, and the other in the vast ecosystem established around earlier methods for conventional third party data such as Sales, Distribution and Claims data etc. Companies need transformation to leverage this information available and it can happen only if organisations can translate their data into an asset to make informed decisions.

Bio-pharma companies spend multi-million-dollars to buy data, but in many cases, it isn’t used efficiently across the organization. Effective use of third party data helps organisations to get better edge over their competitors. While Third Party data benefits are talked about at every pharmaceutical and IT conference, it also presents a dilemma for the industry IT leaders. The challenge does not lie in collecting data, but in harnessing and analysing it to create actionable insights. The intelligence derived from data can help not only in making informed decisions, but in better customer relationship, innovation and efficient operations.

Currently, we have observed that various departments of the Pharma organisation buys data separately, sometime from the same vendor. This results in a few issues:

  • Pharma organisation misses out on the value that can be derived from collective data purchased by the organisation.
  • Though the data requirement is different for each division, the same data sometimes get purchased repeatedly, making it an unnecessary expense.
  • Individual stakeholders draw their insight but corporate insights are missed often.

Streamlining data procurement

One of the most efficient ways to ease out the data dilemma lies in setting up Data Management Office (DMO) and appoints Chief Data Office (CDO) for centralising data procurement from third-party vendors. Centralization means an organisation gets better deal structure on procurement and gives better control over their contracts with suppliers. If executed well as a core function, it can build support functions and exist alongside distribution, IT, finance, sales and other areas of business.

Centralising data procurement can create an impactful change within the organisation. Once the data is sent to the pharma company, the Chief Data Officer decides how the data is analysed, categorised, catalogued it and placed it in common folders. Selective data can be accessed by the right users, while considering the aspect of security concerns and privacy. There are third-party solutions to simplify activities like data categorization, create a user friendly UI and create security profiles for access.

This way, data about various aspects of your industry is available in a centralised fashion. BI team can take informed decisions after considering every element involved. A centralised system also eliminates redundancies and ensures more purchasing controls, maximising your bargaining power at a time when the pharma industry faces serious budget challenges. This can bring down data procurement costs significantly as you save yourself from purchasing of same data multiple times -assembled differently for different departments. Besides, users who access this data derive more benefit from collective data reports which they didn’t have access to earlier.

However, don’t be surprised if your management gets hassled with the switch to centralisation. Since each division has a different priority and budget allocated for data subscription and procurement, the central approach is seen as a blast of change. Procuring data for the entire organisation requires planning and coordination within the enterprise. Hence, you can expect some delay in procurement. This step may require change management to deal with initial hiccups and mind set of the management. It is evidently more cumbersome than it sounds, and there’s no universal cure-it-all remedy. Conversely, it is only a matter of time before they get used to the change and start noticing its benefits.

Sanjay Koshatwar
Executive Vice President, Pharma & Life Sciences
Incedo Inc.


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