For Life Sciences Business Intelligence is Exploding in Importance

If a recent survey conducted by Ovum, an independent research firm focusing on primarily biotech and pharmaceutical companies, indicates that virtually all intend on increasing dramatically their spending on business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools.

The survey drew upon the input from life science IT executives and when asked about their investment plans for the next 18 months more than half indicated they intend to install all-new performance management systems. Many are also planning on a complete replacement of database query tools and predictive analytics.

Ovem analyst Andrew Brosnan points out that “although there is an increa

Binary data under a magnifying lens. Digital illustration.
Binary data under a magnifying lens. Digital illustration.

se in budgets for analytics, for many life science companies these are new technologies, and they will thus require guidance on how to implement and use them in order to gain maximum [return on investment],”

We are not talking about small change either. In the report they forecast that the life sciences industry will spend about $40.8 Billion by 2017. With 60% of the respondents seeing clinical research IT as a “top-three priority” over the next year and a half. 30% also noted that it is a concern “due to the competitive advantage it can bring in improving the efficiency and productivity of drug development.”

Brosnan sums it up, “These survey results reflect how the larger trends within the industry are affecting pharma IT investment in the US, such as outcome-based reimbursement plans, lower operating margins, mandatory price cuts, and personalized medicine. These factors are driving the pharma industry to glean more insight from large and more diverse data sets to drive down the cost of drug discovery and development.”

As he mentioned most of these organizations are not prepared for the need, nor do they have the kind of in-house expertise necessary to accomplish the task as quickly as needed. These are new territories for even the most capable life sciences exec with cost of staffing and necessary outside expertise being a high concern.

Organizations facing these challenges can consider working with outsourcing firms who maintain local project experts and utilize lower cost development, migration and implementation teams offshore. Many “off-the-shelf” tools already exist and these outsourcing companies have made using them in custom applications easy and cost effective.

For companies facing the challenge of keeping up, BI will be a factor. Now there is at least one set of surveys that show that there are many in the life sciences industry who believe that to be true and are willing spend the money necessary to win in this space.