COVID-19 Impact on Operationalization of Analytics – Analytical Wizards

Mike Steward Principal, Chief Digital Officer Analytical Wizards

Mike Steward, Principal | Chief Digital Officer

Analytical Wizards


Business disruption from COVID-19 has rocked every industry. This disruption to pharmaceutical and Lifesciences industries has redefined and accelerated trends that were activated but moving slowly.  The use of digital and technology transformation both, have typically taken a more self-paced approach, with each organization setting their own timeline. Enterprise level shifts are complex, take immense planning, and are often not swift to completion.  The use of data and analytics was growing in the industry prior to COVID-19 disruptions. However, engagement was nowhere near what was instantly needed when the pandemic hit. Both Technology and data analytics will be critical to the success of organizations going forward. 

Unmet need

For many pharmaceutical companies, the infrastructure and resources were not in place to handle the speed to which changes needed to be made.   All areas of the business were impacted, including supply chain, sales, marketing, market access, and medical affairs.  An almost instant change to business as usual created an urgent need to understand and re-evaluate business strategies.

The role of data and the ability to use the data to gain insights quickly, became increasingly vital.

Many companies just weren’t prepared to move as quickly as the business disruption was changing the course of business. New unmet needs emerged.  Speed to insights, efficiencies, scale, and agility were now more critical than ever. The need to predict what would happen next, increased in urgency.

Like a new dawn, realization that we could do much better rolled across the industry. We saw new partnerships emerge as the industry embraced the urgency to find a vaccine. We saw new processes implemented to share valuable data that could assist in the development of a vaccine. And we are seeing an awakening of how powerful data analytics can be, in providing the foundation of business decision making.


One of the biggest opportunities in our industry is the real-time operationalization of analytics. This accounts for three main areas:

  1. Data readiness for on-demand analytics which includes consolidation of big data (claims, EMR/EHR, lab, etc.), promotional activity (marketing, salesforce, etc.), descriptive data (segments, customer information, etc.), and advanced analytics feedback (channel propensity, messaging impact, promotional cadence impact, etc.) into an analytics ecosystem that is well beyond a data repository. This analytics ecosystem approach allows for speed to market of advanced analytics including repeatable analytic needs like forecasting, promotion mix, market and competitor analysis, customer experience and customer journey mapping, sales force optimization, scenario planning as well as advanced data science and AI / ML algorithm applications.
  2. Deploying platforms and analytic engines to drive advanced analytic scale. This is the natural next step to transition scheduled, point-in-time analyses into real-time insights that shape marketing and sales initiatives. This allows for consistency of recurring analytics while freeing time from advanced analytics resources to solve new business needs. For instance, why are we only measuring promotional impact once a year vs. as activities are taking place? Why does it take weeks to do promotional scenario planning when a market event takes place? These are perfect examples of where a systematic platform approach would greatly improve business impact.
  3. Linking analytic outputs to CRM platforms to ensure actionability. Most in our industry are using static business rules for promotional delivery which are already dated by the time they are deployed. However, the above-mentioned data readiness as well as scaling of advanced analytics allows for real-time inputs (segmentation shifts, promotional impact, promotional affinity, messaging impact, channel cadence / frequency, etc.). This information allows for true personalization of how we engage with our customers (HCPs, patients, caregivers, etc.) along their journey.

Maturity of the three areas above cannot be accomplished in a vacuum. This requires a tight team working to the same business outcomes across analytics, marketing, sales operations, IT, and the right innovation analytic partners.

Analytical Wizards (AW) is an advanced analytics consulting company focused on the Life Sciences industry.

In partnership with Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and other Life Sciences companies, Analytical Wizards utilizes technology for data analytics, providing speed, efficiencies, scale, and data visualization. With technology enablement, AW data scientists employ state-of-the-art analytic models, AI (artificial intelligence), and ML (machine learning) applications. Analytical Wizards’ teams integrate commercial life science expertise with data scientists to provide an unmatched level of support to clients.

In their 5th year, Analytical Wizards is currently working with 15+ partners across 30 countries. Recognized recently by INC Magazine for ranking in the top 25% of the INC5000 fastest growing private companies, by CIO as one of the top 25 Predictive Analytics Solutions Provider and by Retail Tech, as a leader in Artificial Intelligence utilization.  Please visit the AW website at to learn more about their offerings and insights, or reach out to for more information.

Mike Steward serves a dual role as Principal Consultant as well as Chief Digital Officer at Analytical Wizards.  He has over 18 years of experience in Strategic Consulting, Research, Commercial Analytics and Digital Analytics.  Mike previously held roles at Indegene, Targetbase, Merkle, and comScore, where his experience Included Life Sciences, Retail and Insurance.

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