'Big Data' analytics are coming to life sciences--but they're not there yet


Genpact survey of finance offices at major life sciences companies finds that half believe their strategic financial performance is poor

In a survey of 100 corporate executives and finance offices of US and UK life sciences companies, Genpact, a New York-based international management consulting company, found that while 76% of respondents were engaged in “improving financial systems to address reporting and forecasting capabilities,” roughly half of them rated their overall performance in strategic planning as “stagnant or declining.” The general theme from the study (available at genpact.com) is that Big Data—the current catchphrase for intensive analytics of large databases—is a high priority.

“The amount of data generated within life sciences is astounding, but at the same time, the lack of use of those data is a big problem,” says Mike Haley, VP sales and business development for life sciences at Genpact. The survey points to several barriers to performance cited by finance officers:

-lack of real-time information for operations and execution (55%)

-lack of process standards and discipline (44%)

-lack of integrated risk management (44%)

-lack of up-to-date information for strategic decisonmaking (42%).

Haley says that the best example of the pain being felt by corporate executives comes from one who told him that he was getting better forecasting and assessments from analysts on quarterly earnings calls than from his internal finance operations—and a wake-up call went out quickly to the finance department to correct that.

Genpact (which originated as a service company to GE Capital, but is now a freestanding, publicly traded company) offers a “Smart Decision Services” program to analyze internal financial controls and analytics, and can perform both outsourced analytics an internal consulting and support services. The company says that nine of the top 10 life sciences companies are currently employing it.

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