Social Media

Are you Effectively using Big Data?

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Since the market introduced this term we’ve tried to make a distinction between data and ‘more’ Using Big-Data
data. In my opinion all data is ‘big data.’ That the challenge for IT departments is how to ‘quickly’ turn these new sources of data into ‘value’ for the business. In this blog post I’ll explain where we are with big data – illustrate the issues and propose a solution.

Backdrop

Within Life Sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices) ‘big data’ has been in place for quite some time. Most companies have had to address the challenges of managing data for instance:

  • Financial data – this would include your typical data for operating your company. There are additional complexities from a sales and rebate perspective along with cross border/country tax issues for products.
  • Supply Chain data – includes your typical sales and operations data plus the traceability of packaged pharmaceuticals or individual devices.
  • Clinical trials data – generating data that needs to be translated into information for product approval as well as storing data for adverse events analysis.

Government regulations influence how companies manage data. Most firms are required to maintain patient data for the life of the user. Managing data is also part of any legal defense in the event of product failures in the field, and the random audit from the FDA and other regulatory bodies.

 

Influences

If Life Sciences companies maintain their data we are dealing with large repositories of data. What are influencing IT departments are the changes in today’s markets, for instance:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions – most companies are prepared for this both from a due diligence prior to the acquisition. In most cases there is a common set of financial and supply chain information that is shared until an IT decision is made to absorb, or let stand, the IT landscape of the acquired company. There are a few firms that still operate in a mixed IT environment. So this can be a challenge without the right strategy for reporting and analytics.
  • Mobile devices – we’ve already been made aware of the growing use of smartphones and tablets. Besides the security aspects of these devices. Data needs to be made available at various levels of the organization. This is a topic that most IT departments are struggling with, and an area that requires a strategy with feedback from your users.
  • Digital Marketing or Business Insights – we should be aware that ‘social media’ is having a huge impact on Marketing. The advent of these new tools and data sources (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) poses several data questions:
    • How do we analyze and treat these new sources of customer/patient feedback?
    • With more and more doctors using tablets how do we get our product messages to them, and can we measure the impact on our market share?
    • How do I plan for this additional explosion of data because we still have the existing ‘structured’ data, and now we are adding new sources of ‘unstructured’ data?
    • Marketing and Business folks are asking for this information for further analysis? IT has to decide on the tools and methods to perform this analysis.

structured and unstructured data

So are you effectively using ‘bigdata,’ and if not what plans do you have to support the business and your company’s growth targets?

Your Strategy

Reporting Strategy and Elastic Analytics

If you are in this situation there is a need to prepare your ‘reporting strategy.’ Typically this is a 6 to 8 week exercise to identify the business needs and match this against your current IT landscape and solutions. I often recommend this exercise because if you have this strategy in place you can leverage this output for funding needs, new tools, etc., as well as a discussion with the business. Focus on immediate pain points and demonstrate ‘quick wins’ will go a long way to ensuring that IT is still a strategic influence within your organizations.

Yet even if you have you’re strategy in place you may need to move faster to help the business. At Capgemini we have introduced a solution called ‘elastic analytics.’ The link below is a video which provides a high level summary for this offering.

 Capgemini Elastic Analytics video

Elastic Analytics helps IT with the following:

  1.  If the deployment of your reporting strategy is a lengthy process then elastic analytics can provide you with ‘quick wins’ that demonstrate the ‘art of the possible’ when it comes to reporting and analytics. All you need to do is provide the data and we will process this into information served up in a variety of outputs (from a dashboard to a screen on a Smartphone or tablet).
  2. Let’s say you want to ‘test’ out different analytics tools using your data. Using elastic analytics there is no need for you to invest in and take time out for product demos. This landscape includes most of the leading products on the market. This allows you the freedom to test your data on multiple products.
  3. Maybe there is no in-house expertise when it comes to the science of converting data into meaningful information. Within this offering we have up 250 data scientists that can help you correlate your data into relevant business information.

In summary, if all data is big date then are you using this ‘effectively?’  There are various reasons for companies to look into changing their approach to reporting and analytics. What I’ve explained is available today, and I hope this helps you decide how best to approach your problem.

I am open to your feedback or suggestions, so tell me what you think?

Thanks,

Jim

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Does this mean the end of the laptop?

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In following last month’s blog post Now that you bought that new iPad... the tablet is rapidly replacing the laptop as the tool of choice for more and more business folks. This month I’ll take a look at the use of the iPad and then what apps I find useful if you do decide to leave behind your laptop. Apple has become the tablet choice for a lot of folks please note they’ve sold a lot of iPads (graphic from the article How many iPads (new and old) did Apple sell last quarter?).

How tablets are changing the Enterprise

The rapid adoption of tablets is taking place in the Life Sciences industry especially in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). So if you’re a field service rep or a Pharma sales rep you often hear complaints about their CRM system. Laptops are too bulky to carry around and in hospital setting are denied wi-fi access which means a late night back at the hotel to upload work files.

Tablets have ‘re-energized’ how IT is supporting the business. Most IT services companies are moving to find ways for IT departments to leverage back office systems (CRM, ERP and Financials). In this article by Andrew Tolve, “What tablets can do for pharma CRM” he speaks to how digital solution are helping to improve sales effectiveness.

That is one aspect of how iPads are penetrating the enterprise.Within my company we have successfully done projects for a variety of industries:

  • Present basic ERP sales module on the iPad. A great way for sales reps to share with their clients the status of their sales orders. 
  • Extended ERP processes to the iPad for a leading Japanese subsidiary of a global Pharmaceutical company. Tablets allow for multilingual front ends (in this case Kanji).
  • Rendered maintenance and overhaul parts on the iPad to allow field service repairs in real-time.

Add reporting on top of the apps that do this work and you have a powerful mix and the reason for the rapid adoption of the iPad. In two weeks I’ll be at the SAP SAPPHIRE event in Orlando where we will have demo of these and other mobility applications for the enterprise.

I wanted to finish this blog post with some feedback on a few applications that will help you easily decide if you need to carry around your laptop on that next business trip. So here a few comments for your consideration:

  • My iPad (and for that matter my iPhone) boots up a lot faster than my laptop. Often you have no choice in hardware since ‘company’ issued laptops have not upgraded to solid state hard drives. So while my laptop is still booting up I’m able to start working with my iPad.
  • Dropbox – is a free cloud service that lets you store key business files in the ‘cloud.’ Syncs with your cell phone and tablet and has a nice feature that allows you to ‘copy a public link’ and share this address with others. Handy feature when you want to give access to a large file to your colleagues.
  • CloudOn – brings Microsoft Office ability to your iPad and connects with Dropbox account. This is a ‘killer’ app since it give me the flexibility to edit and save presentations, spreadsheets and documents with my iPad. Very handy for team meetings and last minutes changes before a client meeting.
  • Smart Writing Tool – 7notes HD – this is the paid version of this app. I have searched for a writing tool that is both optimized for the iPad and can recognize my handwriting. This is the tool! It has three modes in the paid version (keyboard, writing and – writing to text conversion tool) the writing to text allows me to scribe and have my handwritten note instantly converted to text. Yes you can email, convert to pdf, and link it to your favorite social media sites. For this blog post I wrote my notes then emailed the document for further editing.

Since my last blog post learning to use your tablet is time-consuming if you want to reap the productivity benefits. I will be putting these tools to the test as I travel to meet with clients and trade shows. I will be publishing an article in August around R&D (more on this topic later), while finding the time to post relevant ideas on Twitter and Facebook.

I hope you find the apps comments useful. If you have any questions or comments or even find another awesome app please let me know I’m always interested.

Thanks,

Jim

Social Media and Life Sciences

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While there has been a lot of discussion about the FDA’s view of Social Media I wrote last month about Gearing up IT for Future Growth. IT must become more relevant in supporting the business and this new way of ‘collaboration.’ In last month’s blog post I spoke of how IT can be a catalyst for the business. There is a conflict in all this since IT budgets are constrained between maintaining the current IT landscape and investing in these new areas.

To get a better view on this dilemma I suggest you read this blog post on The Next Wave of Technology Led Business Gains written by a colleague of mine. His blog post is entitled Sadagopan’s Weblog, January 8th, 2012. In this article he describes the issues that benefit the business and yet prove challenging for IT.

Being a ‘social enterprise’ to me is all about the connections between your end customers and the products you sell. Within Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices investments have been made in the areas of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to help business process improvements and adoption for example: sales reps taking orders and processing quotes. Technology is providing opportunities to improve the ways in which companies can rapidly gain insight into the use of a medication or device.

Integration is the key in all this since the business is using social media tools to quickly gather up this data and transforming this into relevant information. Today I am working with several companies that are looking to improve their business processes via upgrades and ‘smarter’ deployment of this technology. The challenge is to ‘connect’ the output of social media for improved clinical trials or insight into existing device performance (via call center data and complaint tracking).

We are not quite there yet in ‘integrating’ social media with back office systems. Tools are being introduced to ease the ‘listening’ and ‘gathering’ of this data. I believe that Life Sciences companies would benefit from a better ‘collaboration’ with their patients and consumers of their products. As I see this progressing in the market I will offer an update to this blog post.

Thanks,

Jim

Gearing up IT for future growth…

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This blog post is a look back at topics I’ve written about this year with a look towards 2012. At the start of this year I had set a goal to cover some areas. In my current job I have been able to work with clients to help solve problems across these areas.

The table below summarizes the topics I’ve written about in my blog.

This is the time of the year when predictions are made and the trends that I see for Life Sciences and Healthcare are as follows:

  • Social Media – the industry has to come to grips with how to leverage these tools to create and effective means of communications to patients and doctors. I expect to see a move from one-off projects around Twitter and Facebook to a more ‘integrated’ approach to the use of social media (a more popular term being used is ‘social enterprise’).
  • Cloud Computing – given the tight IT budgets this offers the best avenue to quickly change existing business processes to meet the needs of the organization.
  • Mobility – the explosion in smart phones and tablets will drive the need for IT to give access to analytics and the data to help accelerate decision-making. Companies are making rapid strides in this area and are looking for ‘productivity’ improvements in the Sales and Marketing areas (impacting traditional CRM solutions).
  • Business process improvements – I’ve discussed supply chain management yet there are opportunities to further integrate existing customer relationship management (CRM) and product life-cycle management (PLM) solutions. Now that Life Sciences and Healthcare companies have implemented their IT solutions there is still a need to find more productivity savings.
  • R&D and Clinical Development – there is a huge shift in the way drug development and clinical trials will be performed. The traditional models have not worked and you can expect to see smaller investments and reduced team sizes with the focus on ‘rapid’ drug discovery and development. WE started to see how this is impacting the IT solutions necessary to do these processes.

There is economic uncertainty as we end this year. I am looking to focus on these topics to help IT organizations improve the chance for ‘growth’ in the new year.

So in 2012 I hope to also focus on these topics since they are important to me:

  • Diabetes – this has affected both family and friends. Managing this disease continues to be a challenge for a lot of folks so how can IT solutions improve the lives of those touched by this disease.
  • Personal Health – I have brother who continues to do well as a kidney transplant survivor and partners that are aging. What systems are being developed to help patients gather, watch and keep up their ‘personal’ data? I’ve recently started using “fitbit ultra” a device that helps check my health and log personal data. I’ll update you on the use of this device at some point in 2012.
  • Sponsor a child – we live in a great country and I have searched for a way to help others. Earlier this year I sponsored a child through “food for the hungry” organization based in Phoenix, AZ. A great organization. They connected me with a boy from Nicaragua and my sponsorship pays to help improve the education of this child. I’ve done a lot investigation and would recommend this organization based on their commitment to making this a better world and the way they use these funds. You can find more information on: www.fh.org/sponsor .

On a personal note I really appreciate my LinkedIn and Twitter network. I would also like to thank my colleagues and partners who have helped make 2011 both a successful and interesting year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have Happy New Year.

Jim

Fresh start in 2011

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By now everyone has gotten past their New Year’s resolutions and is picking up where they left off last year. So thinking about my

Fast start...

 first blog post for 2011 I would like to cover the following areas:

  • A look back at 2010
  • Maintaining momentum in 2011
  • The focus for the year

Reviewing 2010

The nice thing about blogging is that you can go back and see how you’ve progressed throughout the year. In last year’s blog post: Upgrading for 2010 I had worked on a business plan to startup a new Life Sciences practice for an IT services company. I covered the five focus areas last year by writing about the following topics:

  • Social Media – from the use of these tools to deriving ‘value’
  • Cloud Computing – producing a white paper for my employer
  • Drug Development
  • A three-part series on Aligning Life Sciences and IT – covering how to leverage information technology; Mobility and Innovation and the Business Process
  • Innovation and Outsourcing
  • A book review on ‘selling’
  • Patent Expiry

Unfortunately the business plan was not approved, and I moved to another opportunity to do business development for an IT services company. This challenging role now has me advising clients on the best use of IT within Life Sciences and Healthcare. This opportunity came by way of my network, and for that I can thank Robert.

Maintaining Momentum in 2011

I continue to focus on the use of social media tools. So I am thankful for my LinkedIn network and my followers on Twitter. I have come across lots of folks with the same interests and challenges for the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry. There are tons of creative people with new ideas for solving today’s business problems. In 2011 I want to carry the momentum started in 2010.

Karl Rove and Jim, 14Dec2010

 

I am also very grateful for my co-workers, coaches and mentors who have helped me transition into my new business development role. Towards the end of 2010 I started to see success in driving new opportunities for my company by aligning IT to improve businesses. Along the way I’ve met many interesting people. I had the chance to attend an industry meeting for Medical Devices and speak to Karl Rove the former aide to President Bush. Politics and Healthcare are very intertwined and for 2011 there continues to be changes.

 

The Focus for this year

I plan to enter 2011 by expanding on last year’s topics. How do I combine my interests with the tasks of being a business development executive? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. Leveraging Twitter to cover the following areas:
    #pharma – how is clinical development, social media, and regulations impacting this segment of Life Sciences?
    #mHealth and #mobility – the use of mobile devices will impact healthcare throughout the world.
    #hcsm – how to best leverage healthcare social media?
    #healthit and #it – what is the impact of IT on the organization?
    #personalizedmedicine and #genomics – will genomics have an impact on healthcare in our lifetime? (I’m currently waiting on results of my own genomics that has to do with ancestry.)
  2. Business process improvements in the areas of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM); Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).
  3. Clinical Development and Analytics
  4. Cloud computing
  5. Mobility
  6. Mergers & Acquisitions
  7. Globalization

In case I forget to add Marketing and the use of Social Media to further drive IT services opportunities. I will be more involved in our website and the use of the social media tools.

I continue to have a personal interest in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry. Last year I saw the impact of ‘personal health records’ for my brother who is a kidney transplant survivor. I’ve have friends succumb to diabetes, and parents who are aging. How will technology help to improve the lives of these people? Will this be something I will see in my lifetime?

 

January Snowstorm for Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA

So like the snow storms on the East coast of the US. As of January 2011 there are more storms this year than last year. We are starting 2011 with a lot of momentum.

Thanks,

Jim

Book review and Summary: “Never Sell Alone”

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Todd Cohen’s book “Never Sell Alone” is for both seasoned sales veterans, and for most of us who support the sales cycle. The book has Todd’s personal view of selling and lessons he learned from his father. While that does influence this book Todd’s systematic approach to the sales cycle speaks volumes to those of us who engage in any aspect of the sales cycle. This is an easy book to read with questions and examples in every chapter.

I’ve recently changed companies, and there is no need to explain the current economic climate. Typically new hires are given up to six months to get ‘on-boarded.’ Yet today’s business environment the pressure to ‘add value’ can be measured in weeks and not months. If you can’t cut it, there are many other ‘qualified’ candidates who can replace you. Sometimes a book comes along at the right time in your career. “Never Sell Alone” is just that book.

Background

I met Todd a few years ago at a networking event. He was the main speaker and his presentation was entitled: “Everyone is in Sales.” His presentation style demonstrated his passion for ‘selling’ and the premise that we are all in sales helped me think about the roles I have had in my past career. Todd took a very practical approach to selling whether you’re selling IT services or managing your job search he demonstrated the practical side of sales.

Key points in the book

  • Audience for this book – if you’re in sales this is practical way to understand how to manage and motivate your ‘sales’ team. If you’re new to your company the book provides a guide to check your sales team.
  • Organization of this book – it is brilliantly broken down into easily digestible parts that will bring you through the sales cycle. Each chapter includes questions and examples from Todd’s own personal experience.
  • Practicality – I personally was struck in the very first section when Todd addressed the need for selling complex IT services and solutions. This book, for me, helps to evaluate my role and I could easily relate to the things I do well, and take advantage of  Todd’s advice to improve on other areas of the sales cycle.

I would strongly recommend this book. It will help you recognize what you  do well and offers a framework (broken do by chapter – with questions – and situational examples) so that you can then concentrate on improving that part of your selling ability. Today’s sales model is evolving with Social Media and the Internet. Customers are finding ways to get relevant product information. I found “Never Sell Alone” a way to review the success of my sales organization, and what areas of the process I do well and where I need to improve.

If you want to learn more about Todd Cohen and order his book check out http://www.toddcohen.com/

Thanks,

Jim

Deriving “value” in today’s world of Social Media

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The focus on this article is to help you find “value” through the use of social media tools. The idea came to me when I read the Community Pharm post entitled Hindsight Is 20-20 But Foresight Is Critical. In this article, the main idea was on the Pharmaceutical brand manager’s focus on budgeting. I want to discuss ways in which this budget can be applied to activities that ultimately add ‘value,’ and how you can find ways to apply social media tools to drive revenue your products.

In setting the context for this discussion: I have the task of starting up a new business unit. So along with the usual business plan and strategic sessions that go into creating a new practice we need to find ways to promote our product and services. Most of us will also go through a process of creating a marketing plan. What I want our Marketing group to carry out is to:

  • drive revenue and specifically top-line revenue
  • create a positive image for our products and ultimately our company
  • help us understand the market and our customers

We’ve elected to merge the use of social media tools into our plan, and began a search for how to do use these tools. One article that I found helpful was 12 Reasons to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business by Pam Dyer.

She provides both growth information as well as twelve compelling reasons to use social media to grow your business. I would also recommend bookmarking these sites:

So now you know the how to use social media. Now let’s get back to the brand manager and his budget. The obvious question is what business models to invest in when your focus is on Healthcare? A good friend of mine Andy De (http://www.andyde.com/) has an article entitled: Will Social Media find “Meaningful Usage” in a Healthcare Context.

He proposes a ‘strategy framework’ around six business model scenarios for social media and healthcare. Of the six models our company has embarked on the business model scenario E. You see we offer IT services and solutions for Life Sciences and Healthcare. We have a keen focus on the “mHealth” market (also called “telehealth”). What is your focus/business model?

Our next steps are to start with tools such as Twitter, and Blogging, along with LinkedIn to create awareness around a set of products and services within Life Sciences and Healthcare. Your plan will be different. Our goals are set-up to allow our company to get accustomed to the use of social media tools. So far taking small steps has helped us evolve our company as we break into new markets. We have allocated budget for this activity and the value will increase over time. Do you have a story to tell about the use of social media for you company? Community Pharm (http://cp.pharmalive.com/) is a site for sharing such ideas. Let us know if this article was of value and if you want us to present relevant topics.

Thanks,
Jim