This blog is the second of a two-part series. It highlights three of the six reasons for Small and Medium Business (SMB) pharma companies to move away from siloed point-solutions and choose an integrated end-to-end commercial data and analytics solution.
The first of the two-part series focused on the importance of finding efficient, effective, and flexible solutions that address most challenges that befuddle SMBs, such as the need for:
- Integrated data management
- Customized reporting capabilities
- Self-serve commercial analytics and insights
Part 2 of the series addresses critical but straightforward hygiene factors that enable SMBs to focus on key product and commercial objectives while being competitive in the marketplace. These simple rules also help clear the clutter in deciding to choose the right solution.
SMBs have their strength areas. Small business pharmaceutical companies are nimble and bring a focused approach to drug science; that is not always the case with large pharma companies, which spend seven to ten years and up to $7 billion on developing a single blockbuster drug.1 But SMB companies also have their limitations, and a solid go-to-market approach is one of them. Here, the large pharma companies have the advantage with their sales forces and marketing muscle to bring newly launched drugs to their patients.1
Even though life sciences industry experts are noticing a synergistic partnership between small pharma companies and their larger competitors2, SMBs must ensure a robust commercial strategy in-house. This task is daunting because of the characterized challenges that smaller companies face - relying on lean data, analytics, and IT teams. Some of the product and go-to-market-related challenges that SMBs can face are:
- Assessing the market size
- Identifying the target HCP universe
- Developing channels optimally
- Allocating territories, designing, and aligning their sales force
- Planning optimal incentive compensation
An end-to-end integrated commercial data and analytics solution can prove to be of immense value in such situations. Here is how:
- Robust Customer Master Data Management (MDM): SMBs usually start small and scale rapidly. In the beginning, they have only a few customers, and that universe grows as the business expands. Because of this situation, it is not usually wise to invest in a full-fledged MDM product from the get-go, as that would lead to high and unnecessary costs right from the beginning. It is ideal to invest in a commercial data and analytics solution that can master a small customer data set and allow for a seamless migration towards a more industry-grade MDM as the SMB’s customer universe expands.
- Commercial Process Efficiency: The right commercial data and analytics platform will help improve the commercial process efficiency and effectiveness by managing data and providing actionable insights across the commercial lifecycle of the new drug or indication, including targeting, call planning, and incentive compensation. Mastering each of these steps is critical to ensure a sound go-to-market strategy.
- Integrating Sales and Marketing: All organizations’ sales and marketing functions need to work together to ensure overall business success. A robust commercial data and analytics platform can integrate marketing, sales, and performance management datasets right from the beginning. It also helps unite siloed field reporting, sales analytics, and marketing analytics capabilities for valuable business insights and a consistent go-to-market picture.
- Reporting: Quality reporting capabilities not only aid seamless performance insights consumption and swift data-driven decision-making, but they also support a healthy feedback loop between the sales force and Home Office (HO). An end-to-end integrated platform can cover all essential go-to-market reporting aspects, such as field reporting, brand reporting, market access reporting, customer-360 views, and patient journeys, along with the capability of personalization and customization.
Click here to read about Axtria’s commercial data and analytics solution to commercialize an orphan drug launch for an SMB pharma company.
AIRTIGHT PROGRAM GOVERNANCE
Ensuring data quality and governance is of utmost importance for all organizations making data-driven decisions. Especially for rapidly growing SMBs, it is common to overlook basic data hygiene requirements and compromise data accuracy, accessibility, and overall quality. A robust data and analytics platform comes with pre-built data governance capabilities, accelerating data standardization and harmonization and taking care of all such requirements from the get-go through to business expansion.
- Rule-based Quality Checks: Pre-configured business rules can provide a comprehensive list of rules that may be usually overlooked due to lack of expertise or experience and ensure data quality checks across ongoing and new vendor data files. These rules are also customizable and can be used to normalize data, change data granularity, profile and summarize various customer accounts, and assign missing information.
- Relationships and Dependencies: When working with multiple data streams, a robust data governance system can ensure consistency, referral integrity, and data control. A well-equipped data and analytics platform can perform these tasks across various transaction types, physician specialties, therapies, and account ZIP codes.
- Attribute Checks: Precise attribute checks can ensure data uniqueness, completeness, uniformity, and standardization.
SUSTAINED FLEXIBILITY AND MODULARITY
SMBs are typically known to start small with a vast potential to scale rapidly. It is essential to ensure the proper mechanics are put into place to foster flexibility and seamless organic growth with such a lifecycle. When the business grows, expectations from the commercial data and analytics systems will change continuously. For instance, when an SMB launches its first drug or indication, the organizational focus is primarily to assess market needs and gaps to ensure flawless implementation. As the business grows, the focus shifts towards optimizing sales and marketing operations.
People involved across business functions will need to be comfortable with the data and analytics systems to adapt to such changes. By ensuring pharmaceutical innovation through its people, small and medium-sized pharma can focus on different levers influencing costs and performance.
An end-to-end commercial data and analytics platform compares well against siloed point-solutions to ensure consistent enterprise-wide adaptability with business growth. SMBs can expect such advantages because the right commercial platform enables:
- High business user productivity due to faster and better insights
- Availability of automation and new features
- Reduced need for custom development
- Lower management overheads
- Elimination of the need for solution rewriting and the consequent sunk costs
Another vital offering of a robust data and analytics platform is the modularity they provide. Any such platform will have core components, including commercial data warehouse, MDM, field reporting, HO reporting (including brand/marketing reporting), search-based analytics, and advanced analytics workbench. Such modularity will help adapt as the commercial strategy progresses across a product’s lifecycle, from pre-launch to post-launch.
In summary, an integrated commercial data and analytics solution can be a real silver bullet for an SMB’s continued success – something that can never be guaranteed with a collection of siloed point-solutions offered by third-party vendors. It is critical for small and medium-sized pharma companies to acknowledge their unique position in the market, recognize their strengths and weaknesses and lay the best-suited data and analytics foundation from the get-go. Doing so will not only help them launch their products fast and appropriately, but it will also significantly help them during the post-launch commercialization as well.
The pharmaceutical sector’s future is promising, where organizations of all sizes play a dedicated role. The right choices regarding the fabric of data, insights, operations, and evaluation will be the deciding factor to give SMBs a competitive edge against the competition.
- Robin Robinson, PharmaVOICE’s “Small Pharma Driving Big Pharma Innovation,” published online Jan 2020, available at https://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2020-01-pharma-innovation/
- Emily H. Jung, Alfred Engelberg, and Aaron S. Kesselheim, STAT “Do large pharma companies provide drug development innovation? Our analysis says no,” published online Dec 10, 2019, available at https://www.statnews.com/2019/12/10/large-pharma-companies-provide-little-new-drug-development-innovation/