Is Pharma Competitive Intelligence finally ready for disruption?

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a key enabler of effective market positioning and product marketing strategies. The continuum of services extends from early phase (R&D and BD&L) of development, gathering steam mid developmental stage, becoming critical in late phases and extending support during post launch LCM stage. In the new and evolving organizational models, CI teams work in close collaboration with brand, regional, forecasting, market research and market access teams often serving as a horizontal support across portfolios or brands.

While CI remains such an integral part of the life sciences strategy & tactical engines, it has also largely stagnated in terms of innovation and disruption in models of delivery. Even with all the talk about big data and artificial intelligence, CI is still delivered through a traditional resource based model that leverages the traditional data sources. Within the current landscape of boutique primary intelligence vendors and secondary research driven companies, the focus is mostly on delivering consulting type services that does not leverage current technological advances adequately. This approach inherently comes with its own limitations in that the research findings are often limited by analyst bandwidth and challenges around effective dissemination of insights and subsequent discussions around them. This results in the following set of challenges in a traditional CI setup:

  1. Market & Therapy area blind spots: With resource dependency, information channel access around clinical trials, news feeds or specialty sources is limited by analyst or CI team capability making it challenging to identify new sources of intelligence for novel areas
  2. Lack of a single source of truth: With challenges around collection, curation & dissemination, brand teams go with custom CI approaches that result in redundancy and multiple sources of truth.
  3. Visualization of insights: Often, the deliverables of a CI initiative resides as a presentation or some static form thereby limiting further exploration, usability and reusability
  4. Little or no collaboration among stakeholders: Teams, portfolios, brand strategies are continuously evolving and so are the needs of stakeholders. With the current CI model, it is hard to disseminate findings, invite critique and arrive at actionable next steps.

With information explosion across digital & social domains and available technology to leverage this wealth of intelligence, the current CI delivery model is ripe for disruption. Not only can we leverage technology to unearth insights from sources previously thought unreachable (Forums, social media conversations, job postings etc.) but also ensure that these insights get effectively communicated to the appropriate stakeholders. While human intelligence can never be eliminated in a CI offering, there is opportunity to innovate in this space and add tremendous value to clients considering the data boom.