The Groundhog Weather Predictions; A Tale of Pharma BI Solutions

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It’s funny how tradition and old folk customs can teach us quite a lot about modern practices, even in the business world-

The groundhog has traditionally been thought to have special predictive abilities as to the arrival of spring (a tradition first started in ancient Europe and is now well celebrated in the U.S. as well). It is believed that if it is cloudy on the festive day, then the groundhog will emerge from his burrow and spring shall come early that year. However, if the day is sunny, the groundhog will see his own shadow and run back to his burrow, thus delaying spring in another 6 weeks or so.

Funnily enough, this is a tale of Pharma BI solutions no less than it is a tradition of awaiting spring; whereas a sunny day should indicate the coming of warmer, sunnier times, the groundhog is smarter than to be fooled by a false visualization. He well knows the deceiving weather, and concludes that a sunny day this early in the winter signifies only one thing- a false indication, an unstable weather.

However, a cloudy day instead, shows of a moderate weather, a stable, solid dynamic of changing seasons. It indicates this season will end in time, bringing spring with its disappearance.

This is, in a nutshell, the difference between a Pharma dedicated end-to-end solution, and a general front-end solution.

Data analytics and Business Intelligence software solutions are a tricky business. And it’s because not any combination of the words ‘data’ and ‘analytics’ immediately turns into a real BI solution. In order to distinguish the truly powerful BI solutions from the others, there are a few points to be made.

Let’s start with first emphasizing the importance of end-to-end solutions, as opposed to front-end ones. A front-end solution is based on creating data visualization and dashboard reporting, whereas an end-to-end solution consists of the backstage process of preparing a platform of tools and algorithms that actually handle all the data, making it possible to analyze. Needless to say, you want your reports and data visualizations to be based on sophisticated data analytics processes making it possible to derive actionable insights from your data.

So what makes a BI software a truly strong, powerful solution to your business, is virtually combining both sides of “the stage”; front and back. The comprehensive solution should be able to contain four vital abilities:

1. Gather all the data in one place, creating a single version of the truth. This of course requires a synchronization of all sources feeding the system.

2. The data sets should be flexible enough to easily be updated by a limited number of users. The software should allow for a number of users to collaborate and exchange existing data sets in real time, all working on the same data repository.

3. The software should include multi-step formulas to perform a number of calculations both simultaneously and linearly.

4. The software should be dedicated to suit your business. In Pharma, a truly powerful BI solution will have relevancy to the domain and the specific processes, and will fit for specific roles in the organization.

These ‘traits’ are only available in a comprehensive, end-to-end solution, offering both the back-end support needed for handling huge masses of data, and the front-end to report relevant, significant information.

Because when you get blind-sighted by the sunny day, thinking just as far as the eye can see, you miss-out on what’s really important in Big Data analytics- gathering, calculating and extracting the data in a business-process-relevant analysis, producing actionable insights for your business. And quite often, trusting a sunny day will get you even more clouded than you think…

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