Power BI Insights for C-Suite from Microsoft MegaExpert Belinda Allen – Part 2

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 http://www.saci.com/.

If you would like to learn about our Data Analytics solution which includes Power BI technology and how it can help your Pharma company, click below!

Top 5 Benefits of IoT For the Pharma Industry and How to Harness It

The Internet of Things (IoT) has had a massive effect on many industries worldwide. But, the pharmaceutical industry has been rather conservative in adopting technological change, so the effects haven’t been felt as strongly across the pharmaceutical and medical device industry yet.

However, the IoT has incredible potential to help pharma and device companies improve quality output, reduce costs, and even change the way that medication is delivered to the prescribers.

To help you make the most informed long-term business decision, we’re outlining the top 5 benefits of IoT in the pharma industry and how you can harness it to grow profits and improve patient relationships.

What Exactly is IoT?

The Internet of Things, also commonly referred to as IoT, is the network of physical internet-enabled devices that enables seamless cross-device communication.

Essentially, it allows all of the devices within your organization to effectively “talk” to each other, using the data that they collect and send to streamline communication and encourage smart process automation.

There are two broad areas where the IoT could have a significant impact on the pharma industry: The production and administration of pharmaceuticals.

Here are the Top 5 Benefits of IoT For the Pharma Industry and How to Harness It to Grow Your Business

A Glance at The Benefits of IoT in Pharma Production

Immaculate production and quality control measures are an absolute bust in the pharma industry. When you’re working with a potentially life-saving substance or device, anything could go wrong.

  • Leakage of a dangerous liquid or gas could harm workers or create a fire hazard.
  • An improperly produced medication can be ineffective or toxic.
  • An equipment failure can interrupt production and require a expensive cleanup procedures.

However, introducing a network of connected devices with monitoring sensors can reduce the risk of machinery malfunctions and guarantee precision production by detecting issues and making adjustments before they cause a problem.

Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance

Industrial monitoring devices are already in widespread use in the industry, but real-time status information isn’t widely available yet.

Pharma IoT monitoring sensors can instantaneously feed all relevant facility data into a single dashboard, alerting a supervisor to abnormal conditions or to necessary maintenance requirements.

Plus, they can also connect to automatic shutoffs to immediately and remotely handle critical conditions as they arise.

Material Tracking & Management

Connected devices can easily track the availability of materials in real-time, allowing for better inventory controls and reduced costs.

Tracking the source of supplies is important to maintaining quality and speed of production, and the potential risks of ingredient substitution, counterfeit medicines, or the theft of drugs can have serious consequences for a pharma company.

Pharma IoT-enabled data-gathering devices located in shipping and receiving stations can collect information from RFID tags and barcodes and correlate the information from multiple locations, including production facilities and warehouses, to verify whether data is consistent.

By signaling restocking needs when supplies reach appropriate levels, they reduce both the need to stock extra supplies and the risk of running out at a critical time in the sales process.

Supply Chain and Logistics

Tracking finished products throughout the supply chain provides enhanced control over your pharmaceutical or device inventory.

Computers that correlate the data can determine how much more production is needed and identify batches that have passed their expiration date. If a batch is recalled, tracking devices make it easier to locate and remove it from the supply chain.

Regulatory Compliance Consistency

Pharmaceutical production processes have to be well-documented to establish and maintain consistent regulatory compliance.

Pharma IoT connected devices can continuously send data to a server to establish that quality standards are met, which effectively reduces the amount of manual paperwork and potential margin for error.

Rich Insights Into Production Process Health

The information gathered through IoT connected devices can be used in more advanced ways as well.

Data analytics software can determine what areas are most prone to issues, pinpoint inefficiencies, and potential cost overruns so that improvements can be put in place to boost productivity and profitability.

Enhancing Patient Connectivity and Adherence

The second most important aspect of pharma IoT is its inherent impact on patient adherence and overall health. In this digital age, everything is technically enhanced, even prescription or OTC medications.

Smart Pills and Implanted Devices

Leading pharmaceutical companies are using smart devices to administer medications and monitor their effect on patients. This includes the delivery of medications or medical monitors in “smart pills.”

One use is simply to check whether patients, especially ones with lapses in memory, are taking their medications on schedule. If they miss a beat, it will give them a prompt reminder on their phone to help get them back on track. If they fall too far behind schedule, it can notify their physician to step in.

Smart pills or implanted devices can also detect changes in a patient’s condition. For example; if there is a serious event, such as a hypoglycemic episode, the device can immediately alert a physician or paramedic.

Couple of doctors talking and using a tablet computer

More routinely, it can inform the patient of how well the medication is working. If the effect moves outside acceptable bounds, the patient can consult with the doctor for a change of treatment.

Being on a millimeter scale, smart pills have a very short transmission range and are typically used in connection with a transponder which may be worn or implanted under the patient’s skin.

Smart Wearable Devices

A more common and often more affordable (not necessarily more effective) application of IoT in pharma is the use of dedicated mobile apps and wearable devices designed to incentivize or encourage patient adherence.

Traditional monitoring of patients relies heavily on subjective evaluations. Unfortunately, many patients don’t report any symptoms prior to needing medical attention, and they may be unable to notify anyone when a crisis hits. That’s where IoT comes in.

Woman working out measuring fitness analytics.

Real-time monitoring backed by IoT networking can detect the early signs of a serious medical event and alert the appropriate party.

Larger, external devices are already widely used to transmit ongoing data analytics and individual patient condition metrics to a remote server, where doctors and pharmaceutical company representatives are able to monitor progress and issues.

Clinical Trial Optimization

Clinical trials are an obvious application of active monitoring with IoT connected devices.

Monitoring the effects of experimental medication in real-time helps to assess its effect. It allows quicker detection of adverse reactions, reducing the participants’ risk and improving the quality of the test data.

Ingestible and wearable external IoT-connected devices can simultaneously gather data and transmit to integrated software that provides detailed readouts that paint a complete picture of the patient’s condition or issue alerts. This invaluable resource allows for enhanced processes and a streamlined optimization process no matter what your company is selling.

Doctor conducting research on a sample.

What’s In Store for the Future of IoT in the Pharma Industry?

The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, and mistakes can incur serious liability which means that the entire industry tends to be a little cautious about adopting any technology. However, the immense value of integrated IoT in pharma organizations is easy to see and even easier to prove.

The addition of IoT in production facilities — what’s known as the “Industrial Internet of Things” or IIoT — faces the fewest barrier to entry. Typically, anything that provides better quality control and lowers the risk of workplace accidents isn’t likely to raise objections.

However, any device that administers medical treatment or reports patient data is very likely to fall under HIPAA privacy and strict security regulations. Unfortunately, the Internet of Things has acquired a reputation for devices with poor security, which online attackers can easily break into, and that does not bode well for the future of IoT in the pharma industry.

In the pharmaceutical industry, mistakes have serious consequences, so progress will always be slow and cautious. However, it will come. Integrating smart pharma IoT solutions into your organization will result in better production processes, decreased costs, new ways of treating patients, and a better experience for everyone concerned.

What do you think about the possibilities of IoT in the pharma industry and do you think your organization could benefit in a big way from leveraging it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!