commercial analytics professionals


Market Research Future, a market research provider to the healthcare industry reports, “The growing adoption of new technologies and analytical tools, regulation of R&D productivity, the growing trend in big data advertisement in the pharma sector and increasing usage of analytical tools in streamlining the business process are the major drivers propelling market growth. However, the lack of skilled professionals and the conservative nature of the healthcare industry constrains the growth of the market.” Even with those constraints Market Research Future goes on to report that the global pharmaceutical commercial analytics market is expected to have 20.0% CAGR and reach $9.3 billion by 2027. What do pharmaceutical firms have to do to fully utilize commercial analytics professionals?

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The C-suite has to commit to utilizing analytics. Determining what questions require answers and funding the resources needed to get those answers is an essential senior decision. The pharmaceutical industry for all their size and strength is significantly behind other organizations in utilizing analytic capabilities. Firms like Walmart and Netflix had developed analytic solutions that have dramatically improved their service and profitability. Commercial analytics professionals can do the same for big pharma.


The capture, integration and security of data is the first step toward creating a viable analytic center of excellence. Typically data assets are spread across the organization and combining that internal data with syndicated market research and specialty pharmacy data leads to new insights and improves the value of the data sets. Leo Adams, Eisai’s Director of Commercial Analytics told PwC, “Bringing that data together has been extraordinarily helpful in understanding what the data can really do-for example, tracking patients and the duration of therapy over time.”


Potentially the biggest cost of moving from a static and reactive commercial state to a predictive and dynamic approach that commercial analytics professionals can use, is the cost of software and computing power to support that transition. Cloud computing has reduced that financial exposure and open source software has contributed savings as well. The flexibility of these types of services means changing with the market is much easier and less expensive.


There are three models to begin or expand the use of advanced analytics in the pharmaceutical organization: outsourced, hybrid or internal. Many pharma companies prefer the confidentiality and competitive edge of keeping everything internal. Hiring externally or training already existing internal experts becomes the challenge. Vipin Gopal, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Eli Lilly believes talent with deep experience in new technologies, like AI and machine learning, can apply their skill set across industries. Cutting edge talent like that is scarcer and needed more than specific industry knowledge. “From a problem solving perspective, I believe it’s easier to teach the healthcare domain to an expert in AI or machine learning, instead of the other way around,” said Gopal.


For a single product an advanced analytics capability could deliver “at least a 10% net impact from a top and bottom line perspective,” said Sai Jasti, GSK Chief Data Officer. Increasing the speed of insight generated to inform decision-making is critical but insuring the organization has buy in to the service and the information is essential for immediate and lasting impact. Some companies are already experiencing success through commercial analytic excellence. At Novartis the use of analytics for sales force effectiveness drove six years of continued growth by improving physician targeting and identifying “success principles” of top performing sales force members. At Roche, sales force effectiveness resulted in a market share increase of 3% in 18 months, aided by a supportive executive culture and increased focus on data and analytics.

Want to be a part of the 20% compound growth expected in commercial analytics? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo, at [email protected].

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