How cloud services accelerate market analytics

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - September/October 2012

Deployment of Model N cloud-based IT services boosts internal capabilities at J&J

Sunny Longordo has been an analytics leader within a center of excellence at Johnson & Johnson dedicated to that function. Now an independent consultant running her own company, Silver Sun Analytics (Clinton, NJ;, she is an active proselytizer of bringing cloud-based services into pharma business analytics groups. One of her preferred vehicles is Model N (Redwood Shores, CA), which offers a group of tailored SaaS-based analytics products for life sciences within its broader Revenue Management Suite. The company also provides dedicated data-cleansing and integration services to help clients aggregate and manage multiple data sources.

Longordo, who was senior director, sales analytics, at J&J, following stints at other leading pharma companies, was responsible for teams of up to 65 professionals performing a variety of commercial analytics functions for J&J marketing units. Upwards of 19 brands, and an even larger number of dedicated sales forces, were being handled at various times.

“We already had a data warehouse, supported by IT, but we could see a flood of new data sources coming in,” she recalls. “So, in discussions with IT, the decision was made to deploy some SaaS-based resources. The advantages were that the SaaS model would not require additional internal investment in hardware and software, and the possibility that analytics could be performed without the direct involvement of IT personnel.”

That possibility turned into an actuality when the Model N solution was implemented. “Our vision was to create a world-class pharma analytics service organization within J&J, using cloud analytics as a supplement to our organization. We staffed our team with top-notch analysts capable of building our own sophisticated models, but we also wanted strong businesspeople with proven experience in the field. One of the key advantages for us was that business analysts who were not programmers could use the tools,” she says.

Sales resource allocation

In a typical scenario, Longordo’s analytics team was tasked with monitoring brand performance against forecast using aggregated internal and syndicated market data streamed by Model N. By generating what-if analysis and trend reports for sales and marketing, allocations could be adjusted as needed to align pull-through with forecast expectations. “One of our primary areas of focus was around resource allocation in sales and marketing,” she says. “This required that we be able to align multiple sources of syndicated data, and deliver visibility and consistency of information down to the territory and physician level. Our analysts were able to recommend sales resource allocation, which customers to target within territories and how often to call on them, what sales should say to them, and what promotions worked best. This same capability was also applicable to marketing programs.”

The data integration services Model N provided were so good, she says, “we had them provide ongoing processing and quality checking. We looked at it as

Dashboard pullout from an analytics project shows a product’s volume distribution for one sales territory by type of reimbursement. Credit: Model N

another benefit of the cloud analytics.”

It is possible that IT departments can look on SaaS providers as a threat or problem, but those territorial issues can be worked out, says

Longordo. The key is to partner effectively with the internal IT departments, and make them an active participant in achieving common goals. “IT is usually constrained by resources, and with the SaaS tool, they didn’t have to build a front-end interface for us. And by partnering with Model N as the analytics provider, the overall quality of our in-house data warehouse improved significantly.”

Model N offers both transactional and analytical solutions across pricing, contract, and brand management; incentives and channel management; and compliance management, among others. Analytics solutions are available via a SaaS subscription model, and transactional solutions are available via SaaS or site licenses.

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