Covering All Aspects of Analytics

Paul Kallukaran, Executive Director Global Commercial Business Analyst, Merck
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When Merck IT decided to focus on analytics, the intent was clear – empower the company to identify insights and make data-driven decisions that have the potential to solve important problems and drive shareholder value. While the goal may sound simple, it was, in fact, a huge undertaking that relied heavily on preparation and partnering.

So how did we do that? We set up eight work streams spanning portfolio management, data, technology, talent management, operating model, change management, knowledge management, and marketing and communications.

Working in close partnership with leaders and domain experts across the company, we established a single portfolio of analytics projects. These projects were, and continue to be, evaluated on three parameters: confidence to solve with analytics, projected value, and realization certainty as they progress through the pipeline.

For each project, the data analytics professionals located and integrated relevant data, ran them through algorithms, mined them for insights, and visualized the findings. In this way, we helped uncover the root causes of good and bad performance, answered important business questions, and balanced tradeoffs between conflicting goals and constraints to maximize ROI.

In 2014, our team also:

•Unveiled the Merck Data Manual, a searchable repository of our company’s Data Assets.

•Introduced the Merck Data Store, a storefront where our employees are able to review, request and gain access to hundreds of well defines and stewarded data sets across all divisions and regions within the Enterprise.

•Leveraged a next-generation collaborative analytics platform with APIs and applications that enable indexing, search, lineage visualization, algorithm recommendations and code sharing.

•Assessed capabilities and began building the skills and capabilities necessary to drive analytics.

•Employed a strong Change Management strategy to generate sponsorship, determine how analytics teams operate and drove awareness and adoption through an integrated marketing and communications program.

•Introduced an Analytics Knowledge Management Portal— a repository to store and consume analytics-related information, including business questions being answered, how problems were approached, and what data was used.

By using the Analytics Knowledge Management Portal, our employees can discover and leverage analytics solutions that have been successfully used at our company to answer key business questions; and employee scan:

•Gain insights that will facilitate deeper conversations with their business partners

•Increase the possibility of reusing solutions in other regions and/or markets.

•Reduce time spent searching for information (e.g. process, people, best practices)

•Easily identify and connect with project stakeholders to foster collaboration and discussion Most importantly, we were able to translate leaders’ challenges into business questions and delivered over $600MM in value back to the company. This was realized through a number of compelling projects across various business groups.

In summary, we were able to bring tremendous value to the company through the orchestration of ideation to value realization. Our process improvements and marketing strategy increased business adoption and collaboration and the foundational capabilities we engineered, will accelerate and mature future opportunities. With this focus, we look forward to even greater success in 2015.

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