Trinity Pharma Solutions, based in Waltham, Mass., has been the technology arm of life sciences consulting firm Trinity Partners since 2004. The company, which employs 30, helps pharmaceutical companies create, deploy and manage data management solutions. But the firm found that it was able to help its customers solve business challenges by better analyzing data, director Glenn Wong tells IncTechnology.com.
Elizabeth Wasserman: How does your company use data?
Glenn Wong: We are a business and tech solutions provider to pharmaceutical and biotech industries, primarily to manufacturers. The mainstay of what we do is to build reporting and analytic solutions to help the sales teams, the folks who sell the pharmaceutical products. We’re not just reporting what they did but we help them with data management.
Wasserman: Why did you decide to look into business intelligence?
Wong: It was to help us do our job better. We were actually introduced to TIBCO Spotfire by one of our clients. They said, ‘We know you are smart guys and you deal with a lot of data. Take a look at this.’ We did and we really liked the software. It did help us analyze information better, faster, easier and with more richness. We started using it internally on projects initially for clients.
Wasserman: What problems did it help you solve?
Wong: In our world, data can be quite complex. Finding an insight or answering a question can take a number of steps. It requires fairly technical knowledge. This product simplified that process and allowed us to get to an answer faster. It also allowed us to get to a better answer. We had a great tool and it wasn’t as if we went out to find problems to fix, but as we started to use it, we recognized problems the software could help with and started addressing them better than before.
Wasserman: Such as what?
Wong: In the pharmaceuticals industry we look a lot at segmentation. How do you look at your customers? What are the criteria that let you classify and categorize your customers? With pharmaceutical clients, we’re typically looking at physicians as the person you’re selling to or trying to influence. One thing that’s important is understand prescribing patterns – whether a physician is likely to use a drug when it’s first released and what are the patient populations different physicians have. We also try to derive other information. What are your target customers and how would they respond to a different message or market event – for example, if another product, such as a pain medication, would enter the market, are they likely to use that quickly or are they likely to wait and see what the general feedback is? You’re looking at patterns of behavior. Depending on the richness of the data, you can look at the promotional response. If I have a sales rep go talk to doctor once a month, does that make it more likely he would use my product? This doctor attended a conference. Could we look a few months down the line and see whether his prescribing changed based on attendance of that conference?
Wasserman: What have the results been?
Wong: It’s made us get answers in a more timely manner and it’s also made us more responsive to our customers. It allows us to see insights we might not have otherwise seen. Besides the speed and flexibility, it’s also a great visual tool, which allows us to see multiple dimensions faster than you would otherwise. If I’m putting together a graph using PowerPoint or Excel, I’m lucky if I can show three variables. With Spotfire, I can put up five or six in the blink of an eye. It’s also made us more responsive to our customers. For example, a client VP asked an off topic question during a presentation. Using the software, we came up with an answer quickly and at the VP’s request, gave him soft and hardcopies on short order. He said, ‘I’ve been asking this question internally for 2 months, and you just gave me the answer in 10 minutes.’”