Article written by James Don-Carolis, Concentra
Analytics is a hot topic for many industries at the moment and the value it can bring is no secret. The Pharmaceutical and Life Science industries are in a better position than most to take advantage of the benefits; their strong scientific heritage means there is an appreciation and appetite for data and analysis that is moving ever further into commercial and operational decision making.
So, how can you get more value and enhance your pricing and market access decisions from your data and analytics? This article identifies 5 ways:
1.Crowd source inputs to leverage expertise within your organisation
Pharmaceutical companies strive for consistency in operations on a global or regional scale. Unfortunately, the market reality is a patchwork of sovereign health systems each with their own processes, idiosyncrasies and challenges. The value of local market expertise is as strong as it’s ever been, and this expertise needs to be fed into and connected to a global strategy.
The best way to do this is to use technology to ‘crowd source’ expertise from in-market P&MA professionals. Sourcing inputs via a consistent template means that contributions can be used in a global modelling framework. In our experience this unlocks a huge amount of value in the organisation, and by encouraging collaboration, it leads to better buy-in of the global strategy.
2. Allow decision makers to interact, real-time
Decisions are made by senior executives, not by analysts. So why should the evidence-base for decision making be prepared by someone else? With the new breed of visual analytics software (such as Tableau, Qlik and Alteryx) decision makers are able to get closer to their evidence, in real-time, as they are making decisions. We have seen this transform group discussions by encouraging questioning and sparking debate.
This does not herald the end of the analyst, quite the opposite in fact – analysts are responsible for preparing the framework and for designing intuitive dashboards that support discussion. Their work gives decision makers the opportunity and responsibility to follow instinct, gather evidence and create the business case for their chosen direction. For example, have a gut feel that you aren’t optimising your uptake strategy? Integrate forecasts with retrospective sales data from the supply chain and compare actual and predicted performance to see where penetration targets are being met and where they fall short.
3. Get visual dashboards into the boardroom
Important decisions are made by groups of people discussing and debating issues around a board table, not sat at the desk or via email. To support this dynamic, everyone needs a shared basis of understanding. This is the beauty of a visual dashboard; it draws the room together to focus on a common point. Say goodbye to meetings where heads are buried in board papers and fine print. Visual dashboards get heads up, people engaged and spark interest. A meeting that is supported by visual analytics is often more focused, more efficient and ultimately leads to decisions that are better supported by consensus. This is particularly relevant for pricing and market access professionals given the amount of decisions which should be made through rigorous modelling and scenario analysis.
4. Scenario analysis, done properly
Scenario analysis is a powerful technique to drive decision making by enabling comparison of two or more options side-by-side. Analytics can help to quantify the differences between scenarios but often the trade-off (and ultimately the final choice) will combine this with intangible expertise that only people can provide. The problem with much scenario analysis is that it has to be pre-prepared, and once debate has begun it is too late to change assumptions.
The analytical power of today’s solutions enables scenario analysis to be done properly, i.e. genuine multivariate scenarios compared side-by-side, with reports that compare metrics in absolute terms, as well as the delta. Using the latest technology these can even be prepared on the fly during a meeting. For example we recently built a pricing framework for a PharmaCo which was struggling to define a consistent launch price policy across 28 countries. When we mapped the relationship between price and access we found that there were several combinations that generated a similar predicted total revenue (e.g. high price – lower volume, versus low price – higher volume). We designed a scenario comparison view to display key metrics from up to 4 scenarios side-by-side, which enabled decision makers to hone in on and debate the trade-offs.
5. True transparency
In the era of ‘big data’ it is a fair criticism that analysis can sometimes become so complex as to confound rather than clarify decision making. This need not be the case. A well designed analytical framework will adopt a pyramid communication technique, presenting the most salient metrics at an aggregated level, but enabling the option to drill further and further into the detail if the discussion requires. This serves two purposes; firstly, it builds confidence in the minds of decision makers – they know that, should they need it, the evidence supporting a number is accessible at the click of a button. From experience, voices of concern are often appeased once the provenance of a number can be shown.
Secondly, it provides an audit trail of where inputs have come from. Because we often crowd source inputs (see point 1) we have seen how useful it is to attribute names of the people who have provided inputs (and even comments). If an outlier appears to be skewing the analysis or preventing a decision, the person can be contacted to sense check their rationale. In many cases, such a discussion can unlock the way forward.
In conclusion, we are in an exciting time; a new wave of analytical technologies is genuinely driving better collaboration, greater insight, and more informed decision making across the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences industries. The question now is how can you make the most of it?
Concentra’s healthcare and pharmaceutical team transform how organisations manage and use data to get the edge. Engaging people and organisations across health and life sciences, their industry, analytics and technology experts make beautifully crafted, intelligent and intuitive solutions giving you the power to speed up analysis, drive new insights and make the right pricing and market access decisions, everyday.
Concentra will be exhibiting at the upcoming World Pharma Pricing and Market Access Congress 2015 happening February 24-26 in London. Find out more>