Information management: gaining value from data

Data management systems are moving in to a new era of enterprise information management, says Mike Allelunas in the first of three blogs on the topic.

To maintain their competitive edge, life sciences companies must gather and analyse disparate data sets and turn them into easy-to-understand, useful insights. Easy, right? Far from it. Now add the pressures of a rapidly-changing business environment and increasing global regulations.

Life sciences companies are pouring significant resources into maintaining information management (IM) infrastructures equipped to collect, manage and extract meaning from data. At the same time, they’re feeling the pinch of a diminishing blockbuster drug model due to generic competition and a move towards speciality drugs, precision medicine and combination therapies.

To keep pace with the changing times, life sciences leaders are looking to streamline processes, reduce costs, and focus resources on more value-added activities within their organisations. The need for a quick, reliable and valuable solution grows almost daily as the infrastructure becomes progressively more difficult to harness internally.

Consequently, many life sciences companies are partnering with service providers equipped to tackle overwhelming streams of data and implement effective IM solutions. They are looking for providers that know how to integrate the information, maintain high quality, streamline the output, and ensure everything is compliant.

As data access needs and expectations climb in the life sciences sector, the question remains whether internal structures can handle the demand. Linking all critical data so that it can be easily parsed and analysed by a variety of users and applications is an enormous undertaking. Companies don’t just want their data processes streamlined to remain competitive; they need a solution that can take their organisation and commercial strategy to the next level.

They need to rethink the master data management (MDM) strategy and define a long-term enterprise information management (EIM) strategy. Many of the functional MDM solutions that proliferated in the industry in the last decade are inefficient and rigid. However EIM solutions can realise long-term savings, and benefit from efficient, simplistic and bidirectional capabilities. Internal stakeholders gain quicker access to better data at a lower total cost of ownership.

Ideally, an EIM strategy should establish a ‘hub-and- spoke’ model within the organisation under which all commercial operations are run – incentive compensation, sales force deployment, compliance activities etc. All of this is only possible if the data is trustworthy and accessible, and with data volume and sources on the rise, this can be a Herculean task for many organisations.

MDM has been used for decades to provide a single, reliable, 360-degree view of customers. But the rate and pace of change in data types and volumes has forever changed the discipline of MDM and the corresponding technology. External providers can remove the handcuffs of data integration and analysis tasks, providing universal access to information that delivers immediate business value.

This is the first in a series of three features on information management solutions in the life sciences sector. Upcoming features will address data governance and business intelligence. Read the second part here and the third part here.

About the author:

Mike Allelunas is General Manager, Information Management at IMS Health. Contact him at:

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