Getting under the skin of your digital analytics

Published: 1 Year agoArticle


Ryo Sakai

Data Visualization & Scientific Communications Lead


Data is only as useful as the decision it enables.

With this philosophy in mind, we use data to drive design improvements of our digital services.  User analytics support our customers to gain insights into how these digital tools are used in the real world. However, there is a need for an in-depth understanding of data, which isn't achievable through off the shelf solutions.

In previous articles we have discussed data visualization: what it is and how to turn numbers to narratives.  We deliver these digital visualizations to present medical information or sales tools across multiple platforms including virtual reality environments, websites, interactive touch screens at conferences and iPad CLM systems.

By collecting data on the user interaction over time, we apply best practices in data mining and visual analytics to derive unique key performance indicators (KPI) to evaluate against our design rationales and objectives. This extends analysis for managers by providing actionable insights to consider strategies for increased adoption and utilization of the tool.

The opportunities of data analytics are manifold, but there are hurdles even before starting the main data analysis process…

Firstly, the data needs to be collected accurately at the right breadth and depth. Secondly, the data is often (if not always) noisy and requires data wrangling operations to filter and structure the raw data for analysis and visualization. 

The excitement surrounding the use of real world data in the pharmaceutical industry were highlighted recently at the 15th Pharmaceutical IT Congress.  Many speakers including Margaret McDonald, Senior Director of Real World Data and Analytics at Pfizer discussed the challenges of wrangling unstructured, real world data into usable insights; but it was clear that the insights gained from real world data make it worth investing to tackle these challenges.

Other pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, Bayer and Hoffmann la Roche, to name a few, were well represented at the congress demonstrating the growing appetite in real world data analytics. 

One talk in particular resonated well with us at PharmiWeb Solutions; Lars Greiffenberg, the Director of R&D information research at AbbVie cautioned “If we don’t anticipate the potential purpose of the data while we capture it, we will miss to capture the crucial contextual information”. We share Dr. Greiffenberg’s concerns, unless we consider the purpose of the data we collect, any analysis will be devoid of meaning.  This is why when we embark on any digital project we carefully consider and customize every aspect of the analysis including the purpose of the information, the data collection methodology, cleaning of raw data, how the data is analysed and the final visualization.

This customized approach can’t be achieved with standardized business software, but it is the only way to extract meaningful insights from the data. If data is to inform decisions, all aspects of the data analysis must be tailor-made to meet the purpose of the analysis.

Do you have analytics data that are just stored in Salesforce? Does your data dashboard answer all the questions you have? Would you be interested to see if other meaningful insights can be extracted from data or dashboard you use? 

Get in touch with us to explore opportunities around data analytics.


Ryo Sakai

Data Visualization & Scientific Communications Lead


With a multidisciplinary background in science and technology, Ryo specializes in the visual communication of science, medicine and healthcare information. His education includes an MScBMC in Biomedical Communications from University of Toronto, a Professional Doctorate in Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology, and a PhD in Biological Data Visualization from KU Leuven.