In this second part of our series with Microsoft Power BI Certified MVP executive strategist, Belinda Allen, she shared deep insight with us about how Power BI can elevate your pharma company and provide enhanced efficiency for C-level executives.
We asked her two questions about Power BI below, here’s what she had to say:
What are some of the biggest advantages that come with using Power BI?
Not only does the product come with a low cost of entry, but it is also easy to use for the person consuming reports and it’s very easy to share data. Along with that comes built-in Microsoft ability. The fact that Microsoft has sister-like areas to Power BI, such as machine learning and AI, C-level executives can take advantage of utilizing the other areas and bring them into Power BI.
Power BI also has Bing technology built in it, and natural query language that can have us go in and ask questions from our data and the answers come back in the form of a visual (a chart, a graph, a table, etc.). That’s just insanely powerful! And it’s something that we’re used to, it’s a natural progression for people, it’s called Q&A. Another advantage is the quick analysis of the Power BI service. The quick analysis goes through the data and it looks for trends and outliers to those trends.
Now, it doesn’t know what the data is, it doesn’t know, and it doesn’t care. It just picks the data and it looks for trends and outliers and then it provides you with a report of various visuals based on what was found. I’m going to admit, if you’re familiar with your data then you’re going to look at the visuals and not be surprised by the trends and outliers, but there’s often this golden nugget of information in there that you didn’t expect to get – you didn’t expect to see, and you never even thought about before.
I think one of the biggest advantages is being able to take advantage of and leverage other Microsoft products with Power BI. Another advantage of Power BI is the ability to take advantage of Microsoft’s Power Platform – Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate (formerly named Flow). With this Power Platform, instead of doing all the work in various places you can do everything in one integrated location.
One of the things I love about it is you can literally do it from your iPad. So, if the person is out of the office, they can log in and approve/reject or make any adjustments to reports. You can build some custom apps that can have pharma sales reps retrieving data from a CRM system – Dynamics 365, and with the app in there as well you can have it write back to Dynamics 365 and give information out that way to pharma sales reps while they are on the road.
Also, from the marketing point of view, you can go through and monitor tweets. For example, any tweet that uses a certain hashtag you specify can be stored in an excel file in OneDrive and that way I have all my tweets stored and can run my sentiment analysis on them.
What Are Some Challenges that Power BI can Help Large Pharma Companies Overcome?
One of the biggest things is that you can reduce the chain of command to get information. So, you don’t have to ask different people to have that information funneled back up to you. The fact that you can get access to information very quickly is invaluable.
Another thing is the ability to attach comments to reports that can be accessed from any device and location. You can specifically ask questions in real-time from your device while out of the office and have the answers delivered to you immediately. Reducing the chain of command to request information and retain information is one of the biggest ways you can generate efficiency because you’re getting it right away.
Another advantage Power BI offers C-level executives is that this efficiency is forcing the line-level employees to enter data in a timely manner. So, it’s an electronic tattle tale device if you will. If we want to know what is going on in real-time, we must have everything in on time because we are only going to be able to analyze what’s already in the data.
It’s forcing people to do their work much more quickly and to stay current with it which is only going to provide faster information in the long and short run. Pharma sales reps can use the cloud when they are out of the office and they can do a quick analysis of reports when they are selling to a physician. To be able to quickly analyze trends and other data right before entering the door to speak with a physician is invaluable to pharma companies commercially.
There’s also the ability to analyze the status of making their payments. Power BI includes the approval of reports and that’s where the access to the sister Power Apps can help as well. The main advantage with Power BI and the Power Apps is requesting information, so if the information is already in. Instead of C-level executives having to go to other people for reports, the reports can instantly be shared with them including relevant data.
A lot of companies in the past would have challenges with “closing the books” because a lot of employees would allow work to stack up on their desk. Now, if you’re accessing data as it’s collected, you’re asking questions about that data as it is in real-time in the system – and that changes the whole world for the people who must get the data into the system.
Real-time data is a major way Power BI can reduce costs because you can find out what’s going on in the moment. It also doesn’t have to be just an email that goes out with a Flow, using Power Automate. Once it sees that alert has been activated in Power BI, it can do other things as well. You can have it update something inside of a CRM system, update a to-do list activity, and more!
It can do these types of things in conjunction with each other as well as going off the alert that was activated in Power BI. So, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, it can be an entire change of events that occur from that alert. If costs are going up dramatically, you can see that and find out what’s causing it and you can monitor those trends as you’re going along.
The fact that the monitoring of communications becomes an automated process, it’s much more efficient and much timelier. It can also be something that might be happening over the weekend when nobody might be working so the data collecting in real-time can be ongoing constantly. While employees are no longer being used to monitor communications with the help of Power BI, you can now utilize those same employees for more pressing tasks that can help generate more sales.
We are proud to be a partner with Belinda to provide her insight into the C-level application of Power BI strategies, changing the methodology of business in the life sciences. Stay tuned for the next release of insight from Belinda.
Belinda Allen is a Microsoft Certified Power BI MVP and Gold Level Trainer; she is also the Business Intelligence Program Manager for PowerGP Online. She has excelled in assisting partners and customers to implement and create BI methodologies, enabling businesses like yours to make high-quality decisions based on real-time and accurate information. You can find out more at www.saci.com.
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