Transforming Data into Actionable Intelligence

Universal data management in 2015

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The life sciences industry is facing dramatic change, created by a convergence of forces that are transforming healthcare. With the aggregation and analysis of big data, adoption of cloud computing, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, application of comparative effectiveness requirements for medicines, and many other market conditions, life sciences is at an inflection point not recently seen in this traditional, highly-structured industry.

To deal with these changes in 2015 and beyond, life sciences organizations need a more comprehensive way of managing data and turning it into useful information that allows for greater insight. And to thrive, life sciences companies must adapt by integrating multiple data streams from disparate sources to effectively transform business models and drive greater productivity and efficiency in commercial operations.

While there are many effective solutions and tools to address this rapidly changing environment, there is currently no single approach for managing data that drives an outcome resulting in actionable insight by the ultimate end-user of the information.

A new approach is required-one that comprehensively addresses the issue from the acquisition of the highest quality industry data, to the warehousing and management of the data. It also needs to provide dynamic access and control of the data with automatic provisioning to solutions and applications, and ultimately to performance analytics. These challenges all point to the need for a universal approach for managing data for life sciences. Simply put, organizations need world-class, trusted data that can be turned into actionable intelligence.

What is Universal Data Management?
Universal Data Management (UDM) is a framework that addresses:
  • Flexible Infrastructure. Like any large enterprise, life sciences companies must solve the complex problem of breaking down silos between data assets, systems, and business applications. Current solutions don't address this problem well; hence the growing acceptance of SOA-based infrastructure and cloud services.
  • However, pure adoption of these new technologies does not lead to nirvana, as disparate technology solutions acquired piecemeal are by their definition, disparate. They require effort and investment to integrate into an existing organization's ecosystem. Even post-integration upgrade and roadmap concerns remain as disparate solutions will evolve based on their individual course, potentially out of synch with the overall ecosystem. The end result must be integration of data regardless of the source of that data, across a strategically and technically unified ecosystem. UDM embraces the idea of solutions that interoperate and integrate and break down the barriers between silos of data and applications.
  • Dynamic Access. Life sciences companies spend billions of dollars acquiring data that are often delivered and managed in archaic systems that prevent quick time to market and ultimately increase cost and reduce productivity for the organization. With UDM, data is available on-demand with the ability to access, manage and provision data as defined by the business, not the structure of the network or delivery method of the data and gives the data stewards and analysts control over their business.
  • Data Integrity. The ability to arrive at a "single version of the truth" is the goal of every organization and the source of major investment for life science organizations. This is most often achieved through a Master Data Management (MDM) solution that is customized for the organization's environment and business case. While there are very robust solutions available in the market-without a flexible infrastructure and dynamic access to all data sources, MDM becomes limited in its ability to deliver the coveted "golden record."
  • In the UDM framework, master data becomes the "pivot" on which the business turns-once quality data is acquired, warehoused, managed and then mastered, it can be efficiently provisioned out to applications with confidence for all parties that the business is operating in a unified way.
  • Seamless Integration of Data. If there is a description of nirvana in the data management world - this is it. Once quality data has been identified, acquired, warehoused, managed, accessed and mastered, it must be "served up" or accessed by the applications used by business professionals making critical decisions. And it has to happen automatically-independent of sources and vendors.
In the UDM framework, mastered data as well as volumetric data are seamlessly provisioned to business applications, automatically updated and always available for consumption. This is where insight happens and where ROI is maximized for the organization.
UDM in the Real World

Physician access is an on-going challenge for pharmaceutical reps. Healthcare systems are beginning to forbid physicians to meet with pharmaceutical reps during office hours. Even when access is available, the ability of a physician to act independently compared to follow a health systems protocols can drastically change the value of a sales call. Physician Access, Prescribing Control, Regulatory Compliance and other factors create a complex environment in which companies must find ways to effectively operate.
By managing data in a UDM framework, life sciences companies can effectively manage these complexities as they exist today and be ready for the change that will undoubtedly come in the future. Sales reps will receive cleansed, timely, actionable insights that will empower them to succeed in their daily roles. 

Mike Allelunas is GM of Information Management, IMS Health.

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