Challenges of Small Biotech Companies in Reporting & Analytics Adoption

Nov 28, 2021 | Commercial Reporting
Sayantani Sen
Reporting & Analytics Adoption

Challenges of Small Biotech Companies in Reporting & Analytics Adoption

Challenges of Small Biotech Companies in Reporting & Analytics Adoption 1024 683 deepak

Small and emerging pharma companies are at the forefront of new drug development, responsible for the major share of new drugs being approved. However, these companies are often challenged on account of their size and scale, with funding tied to milestones, etc.

Small teams: Small and emerging companies are typically lean with teams structured by subject expertise. While this model can be nimble and agile, it often results in a heavy reliance on external service providers to support operations like analytics and data management.

Disparate data sources: Most SMBs are focused on complex and specialized therapy areas such as rare diseases, immunology, etc. Owing to the complex treatment settings and targeted patient population for these therapies, data sources can be disparate and with questionable quality. These disparate data sources are often viewed in silos with limited ability to generate integrated insights.

Nascent analytics capabilities: Purchasing secondary data, conducting in-depth market analytics (qualitative and quantitative), and running thorough modeling can be expensive. The nimble and lean organization structure of these small pharma companies adds to the capacity challenge, hence resulting in ‘bare-bones’ elementary use of analytics.

Limited infrastructure: Functions such as analytics, commercial data operations are often given no/low priority. There is a limited investment needed to build the long-term infrastructure to support increasing and complex data needs. Hence, most of these companies rely on external service providers to support these functions. These solutions are often ‘black-box’ and off-the-shelf solutions that give no or low control to the companies.

Beyond these challenges, whenever an SMB in pharma decides to embark on their analytics journey, the typical approaches followed can be:

Ad hoc approach: Basic support to business functions based on a ‘no-frills’ framework which involves ad hoc data extraction and preparation, non-standardized business rules, and manual interventions. They typically rely on legacy methods such as Excel and PowerPoint-based reporting, which is static and has a high turnaround time (TAT).

Reporting services from data providers: While this is the quickest and a seamless option to receive basic KPI reporting, it often proves to be expensive in the long run. It also has limitations with lack of customization and the inability to integrate multiple data sources.

Third-party service providers: These emerging companies tend to engage with multiple, yet disjointed agencies for their reporting and analytics needs. While the standalone point solutions can be useful, they often fail to provide integrated insights into a business’ performance.

While the above approaches work in the short run, they tend to be ineffective in the long run. These approaches are sub-optimal and not sustainable with evolving commercial needs. Hence, SMBs need to consider implementing an integrated end-to-end commercial data and analytics solution. Such modern BI platforms can deliver maximum insights while utilizing their limited manpower, increasing long-term ROI and efficiencies.

Why modern reporting platforms are crucial for SMBs

Modern BI platforms are recommended for SMBs as they not only overcome the challenges listed above but also propel them onto the predictive analytics journey.

Tailored reporting capabilities: Modern Business Intelligence (BI) platform-based solutions offer the capability to design and develop a range of insights based on user personas such as field forces, brand teams, or executive leaders. The reports can be highly customized to suit the needs of individual business teams and help them discover critical insights.

Self-serve analytics and insights: While pre-designed solutions can prove to be immensely valuable, the business and analytics teams can benefit from the self-serve reporting and analytics solution that can allow them to build solutions independently and provide critical analysis on demand.

Improved scalability along the product journey: While SMBs start small, they have the potential to scale rapidly. As the product focus shifts from launch uptake to optimizing market share, the needs of the Commercial and Sales teams also evolve. Hence, it is critical that the data infrastructure is capable of handling both scale and complexity in the long run. Modern BI platforms-based solutions fare well compared to legacy systems and enable:

  • Automated solutions with regular updates
  • Rapid ramp-up for new markets/products with minimal re-development
  • Increased business user productivity
  • Standardized solutions resulting in ‘one version of the truth’


Modern BI is the optimal and recommended route for SMBs to initiate their analytics transformation journey. However, often such companies are faced with typical challenges in the adoption of these modern BI technologies. By looking beyond these challenges, SMB pharma can transform towards high-impact and data-driven commercial decision-making.

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