Analytics pros more than just 'quants,' says study

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Market research departments of a number of life science companies incorporate analytics functions, either partially or fully, a study shows. These functions run the gamut from forecasting and sales force analytics to competitive intelligence and market sizing, along with eight others.

While analytics pros are vital, they're a misunderstood lot.

“People think of analytics as just number crunching. There's so much qualitative involved,” said Rob Naylor, senior analyst at Best Practices, LLC, which ran the study to identify models around which companies can build and maximize the business value of market analytics.  

One way involves staffing. The number of full-time employees required varied among the 21 firms. Proper staffing levels depend on several variables including product lifecycle. A well-established blockbuster may require one full-timer, while a Phase III candidate, three.

Another useful tactic: positioning. At one company, all 12 analytics functions were housed in one department. At another, the 12 were divided among seven. While each style has its advantages, in general, “It's good to integrate as many functions as you can to eliminate duplication,” said Haswell.
Bottom line: analytics has to be a core competency, with market conditions and pipelines determining to what degree this function grows.

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