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What is Big Data?

Few dispute that organisations have more data than ever at their disposal. But actually deriving meaningful insights from that data – and converting that knowledge into action – is easier said than done. One of the key ways to transition from a knowing to a learning business – one that can move forward with new advances and creations based on information – is to harvest, collect and analyse huge quantities of valuable data. This is known as ‘big data’, and business who utilise it fully are seeing fantastic results in every area. But what is big data, and how do we use it to make better business decisions?

What is Big Data?

 ‘Big Data’ in itself is a term that the industry has been debating for many years, and still there is no complete agreement on the meaning of the term. However, fundamentally big data means not only a large volume of data (as it might first imply), but also includes other features that differentiate it from the concept of ‘massive’ or ‘very large’ data. In other words, there is a reason it’s called Big Data. As a whole, Big Data is considered a data set that is so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with it. Challenges in handling Big Data include capture, storage, analysis, data curation, search, sharing, transfer, visualisation, querying, updating and information privacy.

How Can Businesses Use Big Data?

Despite its issues, big data is a huge source of valuable information for businesses. Once they have understood how to handle it, the benefits of utilising big data can be massive. In fact, here are just 3 ways any business can use big data analytics to really improve not only their customer facing services, but their internal operations too.

1. Understand What Makes Your Customers Tick. Understanding your customers is an essential element to business, no matter what industry you’re in. Big data enables businesses to see a fuller picture of their customers – what makes them tick when they buy, how they prefer to shop or consume and what factors lead them to choose one brand or company over the other. This means that business owners can engage in highly targeted marketing and increased sales performance. Useful data sources include in-house sales data, customer service logs, social media data, browser logs, text analytics and large, public data sets.

2. Identify Trends. Spotting and monitoring behaviours and patterns allows business owners to make fairly educated predictions about where things are heading next, how demand for our products or services will change over time and what will prompt the change. Until recently, trend analysis often came down to ‘gut instinct’, but now big data has taken a lot of guesswork out of the process. For businesses offering media services for example, it has allowed them to spot trends in viewing patterns for certain types of programme, allowing them to capitalise on interest in a certain genre much more quickly.

3. Improve Operations. Big data can also be useful in helping businesses improve their everyday operations and business processes through analysis. With any business process that generates data (for example, machinery on a production line, sensors on delivery vehicles or customer ordering systems), you can use that data to make improvements and generate efficiencies. For manufacturing industries, machines, vehicles and tools can be made ’smart’, which means they can be connected, data-enabled and constantly reporting their status to each other. By gathering and analysing this data, organisations can gain real time visibility into operations and look for ways to increase efficiency in supply chain management, big data can be used to optimise routes and improve the tracking process.

At Invenio Business Solutions, we help businesses decode the mysteries of big data and see the true benefits it has to offer. Our innovative solutions mine, collect and condense huge quantities of data to be visualised and analysed for business use. For more information, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Leveraging Predictive Analytics for Finance: The why and how.

No one can capture and analyse data from the future. However, there is a way to predict the future using data from the past. It’s called predictive analytics, and organisations do it every day.

What is predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics can help CFO’s to use the existing data and identify trends for more accurate planning, forecasting and decision making. By using predictive analytics your organisation can predict outcomes, identify untapped opportunities, expose hidden risks, anticipate the future and act quickly.

Every company wants to see into the future. How much will a product sell next month or will the demand drop off? How much will the business have to spend on manufacturing, distribution and other overheads? Does the business have a “next best offer” for a product or an estimated revenue for a newly launched product? Predictive analytics techniques are used to help answer all these questions and to create a better understanding of possible variables to aid smarter decisions.

Gain valuable insights

One of the biggest developments in SAP’s Predictive Analysis Tool has been its integration with SAP HANA. HANA provides remarkable output possibilities by using complex and heavy algorithms run on the in-memory platform.

Big Data which is the large volume of unstructured data from data sources such as external financial reporting systems, RFID sensors, Twitter, Facebook and other social media, can now be used to its advantage by using this powerful tool to forecast future performance and drive strategic decision making.

There are several routine processes that can be improved or enhanced using predictive analytics, including:

  • Target more profitable customers: By analysing the customers it is possible to identify small customer segments which are highly profitable.
  • Cash forecasting: Cash flow management is a key aspect of business to plan its future cash requirements to avoid a liquidity crisis. Leveraging data insights, financial professionals can look at trends to identify slow payers, detect and address system issues and improve receivable management.
  • Detection of financial risks: Financial departments can leverage predictive analytics to establish baseline criteria that makes it easier to identify outliers before they can damage overall company performance.
  • Demand planning: Predictive analytics can be used to forecast the sales over a period determining the demand of the product. This will help reduce returns from the customer and scrapping of the product, increasing the profitability of the company.
  • Company performance risk management: Predictive analytics can also help finance professionals get a forecasted “sneak preview” into the financial mid-period to avoid surprises.
  • Receivables aging: Finance professionals can optimise receivables aging processes and collect overdue amounts faster by setting alerts when customers deviate from past payment patterns.

Big data is useless – small data is key

Craft customer experiences that drive recommendations (word-of-mouth) and sales

 

As an SME, how can you push the boundaries of your organisation? How do you extend the value of your organisation’s products & services with limited budgets?

The phrase big data is thrown around in every sector and has exploded onto every touch point for business growth, in reality, it is small data that is key. For every business large or small, it is really all about your customer, when a customer has a business problem what do they want to see? Your customer can see millions of products and millions of solutions. But what is it that your customer really needs?

Impact of word of mouth across various stages of the purchase process

We know that:

For an SME, one of the most important factors that drives your business growth is strong recommendations or word of mouth.

As recommendations are a key influencer across all stages of a purchase process; from being initially informed of a product or service through to the concrete purchase decision, you need to engage your customers with above average experiences and build positive feedback properties or word of mouth equity. This can increase the stickiness of a sale and improve the repeat purchase potential of customers.

impact_of_word_of_mouth
Figure 1: Mckinsey: Impact of word of mouth – across various stages of a purchase process.

It is reported that 8 out of 10 purchases are influenced by a recommendation by people talking face-to-face. And every product or service category  (regardless of price point) is usually influenced by friends, family or colleagues rather than more expert sources. The ‘experts’ matter more when seeking advice in technical categories such as digital cameras or cars.

 

So where do you focus for word of mouth marketing?

For an engagement to happen you need to:

  1. First identify the close & trusted set of customers that you can work with.
  2. Understand if they would recommend your product or service to others.
  3. Extract the genuine reasons behind being a promoter or a detractor.
    a.These reasons should not be ambiguous and should be a quantifiable indicator regarding the product design, service delivery or the pricing.
  4. Identify the key influenceurs of the group which you need to focus on to drive the word of mouth recommendations.
  5. Also identify the key influential detractors in the group whowould need to be converted to a promoter.

 

word_of_mouth_marketing

Figure 2: Mckinsey: Where to focus on for an Effective Word of mouth for a Brand.

How do you measure word of mouth marketing for customer engagements?

 

Your objective is to have an understanding of how customers’ experiences are influenced by their overall loyalty so you can figure out ways to improve those experiences. How do you use small data for a competitive advantage? Hence for me it is about my customer’s customer.

It’s not about presenting a billion items and handing over an inventory or your encyclopaedia of solutions, it’s about presenting a highly relevant experience for your customer.

customer_engagement

 

Connect the Dots and encourage your customers to be great!

Sheejo

Sheejo Arvind, Practice Lead – Customer solutions (CEC) at Invenio Business solutions has 9 years of strong SAP Consulting experience, and 6 years of extensive sales experience including the implementation of SAP CRM Sales specific scenarios, delivered key billing revenue & innovation management (BRIM) solutions, actively engaged with Customer engagement & commerce solutions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
References:
  1. Ed Keller
  2. The Face-to-Face Book:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace
  3. Mckinsey

How well do you Know Your Customers?

Using audience data to monetise your digital content.

hospital-clubAfter a very busy summer, Invenio are now gearing up to host their next SAP HANA event for the media industry, aiming to inform and educate the media delegates about Big Data.

Digital consumers demand content on a variety of platforms and media companies must engage with consumers across all channels. Consumers leave a fascinating trail of valuable data, including content preferences, behaviour, attitudes and opinions. But once you have collected this data how do you use it to build, target and engage a loyal audience? And how can you monetise the information?

We hope to address these questions in our morning briefing.

Matthew Hembrow, previous Global Account Director of SAP, now working with Invenio’s Media practice, will take the stand to talk about how demystifying your data can help to understand customers and viewers online habits. Matthew will also discuss how the industry has moved from demographic marketing to personalised adverts that are more relevant and less invasive. This gives the media companies providing the content a positive effect rather than disruption and leaves the content providers to concentrate on the sourcing or making best content.

Our next presentation will be a real scenario involving one of Invenio’s long standing customers. The business had some pain points with their processes, mostly related to the huge data causing delays in the month end closing process. Invenio spent time studying the key pain points and planned the objectives for the proof of concept (POC). After understanding the existing landscape and processes, Invenio were able to re-design using SAP HANA and present a more robust, dynamic, maintainable and quick on performance solution. SAP HANA made significant improvements to company and the presentation will lead onto an open Q&A session.

Registrations are free and are still available so don’t miss out on this must attend event!

HANA, the British Sunshine and a Naval Ship: What an event!

photo-32Following the previous blog “SAP HANA Evaluation: Why Invest?” it’s only right we update you on the event. Well what can I say? Yesterday was an exciting day for the Invenio team; it marked our first 2014 event for HANA. We held the event on HMS Belfast in London, a unique ship and venue. She is the Royal Navy’s last surviving cruiser, the largest preserved warship, and the only surviving cruiser built in the 1930s.

Luckily for us, the weather was kind, and you can’t help but love our capital city in the sunshine! We were really looking forward to showing the audience our capabilities with HANA, we have a good reputation in the marketplace for our work with this superb appliance. We currently hold the SAP EMEA Regional Partner Excellence Award 2014 in the category “Database and Technology”, awarded to us for our HANA Lab Innovation. Invenio have the largest HANA Partner deal worldwide, so we are becoming known as an organisation with expertise.

We wanted the day to be very open, to have a relaxed and casual feel to it; it was all about the delegates getting the best out of the day and giving them the opportunity to ask questions specific to their business needs. We had a large table with the speakers sitting amongst the delegates, to really allow open discussions amongst everyone.

The day started with a short and informal introduction from our Managing Director, Partho Bhattacharya, who has worked with the teams in the UK and India on the Universal Music HANA project. He explained that as an organisation, we started investing in HANA in mid 2013, despite HANA being available for the past 3 years. The reasons for this can be seen in our previous blog ‘Big Data, Hype of Reality?’ As Partho explained “if you use a PC, you will somewhere be using in-memory technology”, although you may not realise it!

SAP: Zach Dover

Our first speaker was Zach Dover from SAP, he presented ‘Reinventing Businesses through Innovation, Value & Simplicity’, a relevant, entertaining and understandable piece. This raised a number of questions from the delegates and helped them to understand HANA alongside business needs. As he explained, the way a consumer purchases is different. The way we interact and engage in 1-2-1 relationships with consumers has changed. You can send an e-mail to a customer service centre and wait a day or two for a response, if you tweet a complaint, you will receive an almost immediate response. All this creates data, a lot of which is unformatted and text, such as e-mails and social media tweets, postings and updates. With HANA you can uncover the value in your data and make it accessible to all in your organisation. HANA has shown people, they can unlock questions they never thought possible to answer, or even to discover it can answer questions they never realised they needed an answer to. Zach’s presentation was well received and really opened up the areas for discussion.

Universal Music

Universal Music, came to present a HANA case study using their evaluation, what it has done for them and where they hope to take the developments in the future. They started by explaining that an artist is no longer just someone that makes music, they are now becoming a brand, a shift seen over the past 5/10 years. Life with these artists is a lot more complicated – not just because some are divas! But due to the different streams and aspects that comes with an artist, such as merchandising, social media, direct-to-fan, brand partnerships, to name a few. With all of this comes data and lots of it!

Universal is fairly unique in the fact it has one SAP instance across the whole organisation; information can be seen across some 70 countries. So whatever is done can be replicated in the other 70 countries. With the revenue reducing from the music, the shift in emphasis is on the other elements. Universal can use the revenue from the various data streams when in negotiation with artists, to show the number of sales they need, number of downloads/streamings to generate target revenue, etc. This also varies in different countries, some are now into streaming music, but places such as Japan, still like to buy a physical CD, so these elements can be accounted for.

Universal Music are not looking at HANA as a quick term fix and have looked at this from a long term roadmap, where they are now, where they would like to be and then future developments. The current installation of HANA has been all about month end, for 20 days per month the system is unused and then the billions of records are uploaded towards the end of the month, as a result month end can take up to 10 days. Because of the native features of an SAP system, a journal entry in SAP can take up to 4 hours to appear in the consolidation tool (Hyperion).

In the POC that Invenio conducted in the HANA Lab, it was demonstrated that the delay of 4 hours, can be brought down to 5 minutes. Also, HANA’s power can be utilised, to make data upload much faster and allow the business to run reports much quicker.

‘Words of Wisdom’

To close their section, Universal Music shared with the delegates what they call ‘words of wisdom’ from the HANA Evaluation:

  • Identify your Business, Financial and Technical Drivers /Objectives/Constraints for the HANA project
  • Liaise closely with SAP and Support partners ensure your Roadmap is in-line with the SAP Roadmap
  • Limit the number of HANA options reviewed
  • Keep the POC process as short and focused as possible
  • Define measurable deliverables
  • HANA alone is not the answer to all of your businesses problems!
  • Don’t underestimate the hardware and architecture required

Following all the presentations, a panel discussion took place around the table; here are just a few of the questions asked by delegates.

  • Why wouldn’t a new ECC customer go straight to HANA?
  • What happens to commitments with commercials such as Oracle, if moving to ECC with HANA?
  • HANA is all about data in one place; our organisation has data everywhere, what is the process to get data in one place?
  • Total drilldown: Can you drill down to the original data with HANA? Other systems, don’t seem to be able to do this
  • Currently data is taking days to load, will this also be cut down?
  • If taking data from multiple systems, does the data need modelling?

To finish the day, there was a complimentary tour of HMS Belfast, what a remarkable experience, to see a piece of British history and to experience what life was like aboard for the 1963 crew. You are able to see the quarters, go aboard the 9 decks and onto the top deck with its spectacular view of London. HANA, the British sunshine and HMS Belfast made for a wonderful event!

 

HMSBelfastTo ask your own question, to see the comprehensive answers given to the questions raised or to understand more about HANA, please do get in touch with us.

SAP HANA Evaluation: Why invest?

278Today I was thinking have we connected with our blog readers enough? Have we told them of the progress we are making with SAP HANA? What it can do for them and their organisation? The conclusion I came to, was not enough! Here are a few answers to some questions you may have and also an opportunity to find out more. Happy reading!

So what is HANA?

HANA is an SAP platform to enable organisations and individuals to analyse huge volumes of ‘Big Data’ in a record breaking time. This In-Memory Appliance enables you to run real-time reports whilst continuing to add data, all at the same time as analysing and segmenting it, to plan and progress your business. HANA runs 3600 times faster than traditional disk based systems, meaning that data that can take hours or days to gather and analyse can be done in a matter of seconds.

The data that HANA uses can be captured from operational data or through the import of additional data, this means the data across the whole organisation can be utilised.

What have Invenio been doing with HANA?

The first and most important thing we realised is that there is not enough education around HANA, too few experts and too few knowledge sources. What did we do? We addressed it!

We have set up our own HANA lab, solely to make sure we are world class experts, we did this for you, our customer, to show the true capabilities of this superb software. We can perform test scenarios, using YOUR real data, to show you the true results that are relevant, meaningful and key to your organisation. We like to think of this as our ‘car showroom’, you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, we believe, HANA is the same.

Who has used the HANA lab?

Firstly, our employees. We used the lab to train and spread knowledge of HANA internally, growing the capabilities within our team. We aim to train our staff members to the highest levels, so they, in turn can help our customers.

Secondly the lab has been utilised by our customers considering HANA, we are able to run test scenarios using your personal data. We are able to manipulate it, run reports and show you in real-time what you can do with the vast volume of information your company generates. We are able to prove we can cut the time you spend analysing and segmenting the data.

Top 10 reasons for a customer to choose HANA

Here are some of the key reasons organisations are choosing to invest in HANA and the benefits they are receiving.

1. All data
HANA enables you to work with all data. Rather than working with lots of different and complex systems, HANA enables you to use one system with your complete data-set that is constantly being added to.

2. Any Source
HANA combines all of the data you gather, whether it is structured (fits into fields in a database) or unstructured (e-mail messages, word processing documents, videos, photos, audio files, presentations, webpages and many other kinds of business documents). You can then gain useful insights from this. This means you are not restricted to the data you already have in known and used databases and programmes.

3. Real-Time
HANA works in real-time. You can continue to collect the data, it can be constantly updating, but HANA will still be capable of turning that data into meaningful results. The fact you don’t need to add additional data, or stop the process and start at a dedicated time, means that the results are accurate and up to date.

4. Analysis
With HANA you can now unlock new insights and more complex data analysis. HANA is predictive and so is able to suggest and aid your analysis. Things that were previously too complex or impossible to analyse can now be done through HANA.

5. Applications
HANA has been designed to run on the next generation of applications. It will enable extra capabilities going forward.

6. Cloud
Despite being such a large and complex system, HANA has been step up to run all its capabilities on the cloud.

7. Innovation
With the capabilities of HANA, its strength of performance and the ability to analyse data like never before, it truly is the ultimate platform for business innovation. Forward thinking and development ideas are assisted by this functional and essential platform. It frees up the business to think of new ideas, rather than sitting with the existing time consuming reports.

8. Simplicity
We want to keep things simple. So HANA has been designed with fewer layers and a much simpler landscape, making using it so much easier and less complex. It also has a lower cost, essential for any organisation, considering change.

9. Value
‘Innovation without disruption adds value to legacy investments’ this summarises the true value in HANA. What is to be achieved by adopting this within your organisation.

10. Choice
As with any SAP solution, there are choices to be made, how it works best for you, what your organisation will achieve by utilising it. With HANA there is open choice at every layer.

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What we have achieved with HANA

So why should you look at HANA with Invenio? We are fully committed to achieving the best from HANA for you, our customers. We are very proud to have received recognition for the work we have done with HANA and are recognised as a Partner who has expertise in this application.
Invenio are the SAP EMEA Regional Excellence Award Winner 2014 in the category ‘Database and Technology’ this was awarded for SAP HANA, having invested in a HANA laboratory and won the largest EMEA Partner Deal for HANA.

Wanting to evaluate HANA further?

I imagine you may still have some questions about HANA and what it can do for you. Why not come along to our evaluation event on the 6th March and meet the team, this event gives you the opportunity to meet with Universal Music, who are speaking about HANA and what it has done for them. Click here to contact us.

It’s all about SAP HANA

Would you like to cut through the clutter of unwanted data? SAP HANA is an in-memory database that can help your applications zero-in on the information they need – without wasting time sifting through irrelevant data. The result? Instant answers to your complex queries – and better decision making across your enterprise.

  • Get lightning-quick results from complex data queries
  • Run multiple queries in parallel – without sacrificing performance
  • Develop intricate, predictive models to meet your business needs

Powerful In-Memory Appliance for Real-Time Insight

SAP In-Memory Appliance (SAP HANA™) software enables organisations to analyse their business operations using huge volumes of detailed information while business is happening. Organisations can instantly explore and analyse all of their transactional and analytical data in real time from virtually any data source. Operational data is captured in-memory as it occurs, and flexible views expose analytic information at the speed of thought. External data can be added to analytic models to incorporate data from across the entire organisation.

Key Features

  • Real-time analytics – Analyse business operations using huge volumes of detailed information while business is happening.
  • Multipurpose, in-memory technology – Instantly explore and analyse all transactional and analytical data in real time from virtuallyany data source.
  • Adaptable, powerful analytic models – Create flexible views that expose analytic information at the speed of thought
  • Extensive, source-agnostic data access – Add external data to analytic models to incorporate data from across the entire organisation.

Business Challenges

Information is the lifeblood of business today. Organisations demand insight into business operations while those operations are running. But the volume of operational data available for business insight often exceeds the amount of data that traditional disk-based systems can process within a reasonable period of time. As a result, organisations are forced to reduce the data from operational applications into analytic models for even the most basic analyses. That means that analytic environments are disconnected from operational applications, resulting in significant lag times between gathering data and gaining insight into that data.

Organisations also want to employ flexible analytic models when working with information in order to uncover trends and patterns or to improve planning, forecasting, and financial close processes.

In traditional analytics, high data volumes require that assumptions be made during modelling in order to reduce the data set to a manageable size. Such simplified models don’t accurately reflect the multifaceted nature of operational data, often resulting in suboptimal forecasting, planning, or trend analysis – items all critical to monitoring and enabling a rapid response to business performance.

  • Process huge volumes of operational data to gain business insight while those operations are running.
  • Perform analyses based on all data from operational applications.
  • Employ flexible analytic models when working with information to uncover trends and patterns.
  • Keep analytic environments connected to operational applications.
  • Eliminate lag times between gathering data and gaining insight into that data.

Benefits of SAP HANA

SAP HANA provides organisations with better insight into business operations more quickly by analysing all the data available and enabling you to respond to changing business conditions, no matter how rapid. With SAP HANA, organisations can make better decisions more quickly by gaining immediate access to relevant information – requiring far less reliance on IT to gain the insight needed.

SAP HANA provides a flexible, cost-effective, real-time approach for managing large data volumes, allowing organisations to reduce dramatically the hardware and maintenance costs associated with running multiple data warehouses and operational and analytical systems. SAP HANA will form the technology foundation for new, innovative applications based on in-memory technology, thus enabling business applications – such as planning, forecasting, operational performance, and simulation solutions – to perform better.

SAP HANA provides direct access to operational data without affecting the performance of the SAP ERP application or any other operational software.

  • Real-time business insight by analysing business operations as they happen.
  • Better decisions more quickly by gaining immediate access to all relevant information.
  • Greater analytic flexibility through less reliance on IT.
  • Dramatically reduced hardware / maintenance costs through a cost-effective, real-time approach for managing large data volumes.
  • Improved planning, forecasting, and financial close processes by employing analytic models that uncover trends and patterns.

To find out more about SAP HANA please contact us

How Tax Agencies can use Big Data

Tax_Fraud_TechTax authorities these days face challenges across the board, but recently tax evasion, fraud, insufficient taxpayer compliance and data overload are the main topics addressed by international media. With the availability and sourcing of data and information, more and more,
people and organisations believe in data analytics to gain value out of Big Data.

Since increasing data volumes are available for tax agencies they must consider new ways , to analyse this data and to address the challenges it brings.

The volume of data produced in recent years could possibly be described as an ocean of data and to look at the analytics, as searching for ‘fish in a big ocean!’ The tax inspectors are searching out these ‘fish’ (pieces of data).

The need for tax inspectors to understand analytics is mandatory and a valuable skillset needed by governments and assess and also, to identify the answers to some of the following questions:

  • What data sources are available to address key issues, such as tax evasion?
  • What interfaces are required to update the data on a regular basis?
  • What are the costs of having the data available in comparison to the potential tax recovery?
  • How can the available data be merged to address specific needs e.g. auditing requirements?
  • What are the hidden relationships between corporate and individual taxpayers?
  • How can the data be visualised?
  • How to support risk assessments and taxpayer creditworthiness in data processing?
  • Does the data also support digital foot printing to generate taxpayer profiles?

The questions above are indicative and reflect only some of the potential topics that need to be addressed and the requirements with regards to legislation. Nevertheless, the answers to the given questions are not easy to give as special analytical skills and tools are required to retrieve the business value out of the available data to tackle the challenges and to meet the information needs.

Although a variety of tools have been around for some time, the way in which public sector organisations are using these systems is changing. Developments in mobility and cloud computing, together with improvements in communication infrastructures and data security means that tax officers can now access Big Data anytime and anywhere.

In the context of tax authorities, for example, it’s now perfectly feasible to equip field-based tax officers and remote compliance inspectors with real-time information – making their jobs more efficient, and improving overall job effectiveness. Office-based tax officers can now visualise and drill down into a much deeper range of data more quickly and efficiently than ever before. The technology enables them to analyse taxable operations based on a larger volume of tax returns, external information and a variety of other detailed taxpayer data in real time.

Invenio’s Public Sector practice is uniquely placed to offer a rapid, efficient and cost effective deployment of SAP Tax and Revenue Management solutions. Invenio helps Tax Agencies to create a stable foundation for the entire tax management lifecycle across all tax types to aid efficiency of the entire collection process. SAP Fraud Management has been designed as a platform solution to prevent fraud and non-compliance in various areas tackling the large volume of tax related data. The analytical tools and reporting capabilities enable tax authorities to gain value from the processed data to increase recovery rates on a wider scale. For more information, please contact us.

Big Data in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Mankind is generating more data in two days than we did from the dawn of man until 2003 (Eric Schmidt, Google).

The use of Big Data has become a very important tool in helping businesses to outperform competition. In most industries, existing businesses and new entrants will use data-driven strategies to innovate, compete successfully and capture value.

Among the biggest challenges confronting the pharmaceutical industry is bringing a drug to market. This is among the riskiest and most expensive endeavours a pharmaceutical company can undertake. Here are some statistics –

  • Only 10 -12% drugs make it from discovery to commercial launch.
  • Cost per successful drug averages US $4 Billion
  • Average time from discovery to launch is 12 years

Against this backdrop, pharmaceutical business are constantly looking for ways and means of getting new drugs to market quickly, cost-effectively, at reduced risk and ensuring maximum patient benefit. Pharmaceutical businesses are constantly looking at ways to help take more intelligent decisions on which drugs to pursue.

To be able to take these decisions, pharmaceutical businesses needs to access / analyse huge volumes of clinical, market and legal data to help zero in which drug has the best chance of moving from the R & D labs to the consumer.

Areas where big data comes into play are:

Tracking data pertaining to previous clinical trials

There are a number of sources of information pertaining to historical clinical data that provide valuable insight into negative or other effects on trial patient populations.

Commercial viability of a product

A historical analysis of similar products factoring current and future regulatory environments, market conditions and market size helps assess profitability of a potential new drug.

Tracking regulations – globally and in regional markets

Pharmaceutical businesses are global. Any new drug that is launched is almost necessarily for the global market. In this context understanding regulatory frameworks in global markets and their impact on a new endeavour is critical and timely, successful global launch.

Monitoring current clinical trials

Tracking current clinical trials and any insights to be had from such trials helps re-adjust and re-align on-going trials factoring in any new insights that might be available.

Providing personalised treatment

 

pills assortment on white bakcground

Medicines imageDoctors always aim for treatment which will have the highest probability of success. In such cases, knowing the patient’s past history and marrying it with results of clinical trial results for a particular drug could result in the most optimal course of treatment.

Big Data offers the ability to analyse vast quantities of data which is central to making tailored treatment plans the norm. With the in-depth analyses that are made possible through Big Data analytics, pharma companies can match patients to a specific drug or course of treatment that is most likely to work for them. It also enables medical organisations to access information that will help to develop comparative effectiveness models for specific treatment scenarios which can, in turn, enable accelerated development of more cost-effective approaches to the delivery of a wide range of healthcare services.

Drug Safety

Predictable information on the side effects of a certain drug or drug combinations is the outcome of clinical trial reports. However field reports of a drug i.e. after the drug has been released and used by patient groups can be more easily accessible by accessing data from a range of sources- prescription data combined with online forums and patient records.

Applicability of drugs across other conditions

Innovation is not merely about discovering new drugs. It is also about being able to reuse active ingredients to treat other medical conditions. Accessing bio-chemical data on a drug along with patient outcomes and information on side-effects could help the healthcare industry take informed decisions on the wider applicability of a drug.

In each of the quoted instances above, there is a necessity to access tomes of data both internal and external. Internal in the form of clinical trial data, bio-chemical information on a product; external in the form of social media, drug safety data available in the public domain etc. There is also the challenge of sifting through and reacting in real-time to the large volume of chatter on the social web.

Given these humungous data volumes that need to be manipulated, processing times and response times could run into days – even weeks. Clichéd as it sounds, time is money. This is literally so in context of pharmaceutical businesses looking to get meaningful information to enable them take decisions. Decisions to discontinue an R & D initiative, to modify a product recipe, to modify a research initiative to incorporate new clinical findings etc…

SAP’s High Performance Analytic Appliance – SAP HANA – can potentially allow companies to process millions of interactions in real-time to deliver deep, actionable insights. HANA reduces processing times from months, weeks and days to days, hours and seconds. Some of SAP’s partners like Invenio have actually set up HANA labs where they are actually demonstrating the effectiveness of HANA in manipulating terabytes of data in real-time.

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What is Big Data? What does it mean for your company?

101Big Data is everywhere; and can be found wherever we have the capability to capture any form of data. This can be personal data, online web traffic, social media outputs, purchase transaction histories, to name just a few. This data is captured from many different sources meaning these all individual pieces of information can make a data set that is so large and complex that it becomes almost impossible to manage using ‘traditional’ data processing tools. It also means that the processing power needed to make sense of this information can become incredibly costly and complex to manage.

Clearly each organisation’s maximum capacity for data varies – and so the point at which having a high volume of data becomes a problem also fluctuates. But, as the volume of data increases, the length of time to analyse, predict and to seek trends is greatly increased. So, as well as the cost of additional processing power, the number of people needed to process data increases – and the time taken to extract meaningful information increases in line with the amount of data stored. Below we take a closer look at the key advantages you can realise through deploying a Big Data solution.

Increased and unnecessary headcount

The number of staff it takes to sort, analyse and report on massive data sets can be extensive. You can have a whole team whose function it is to sit and produce the necessary reports on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. If an organisation invests in the right tools to address Big Data, these staff can be freed up to concentrate on more useful value-added reporting that is faster and more accurate. This gives you more effective use of your biggest asset, your people! Clearly if you are in human resources and finance, the benefits of improved efficiencies and reduced headcount can be very compelling when considering any Big Data project.

Time

Time is probably one of the biggest factors in the requirement for analysing Big Data; time is precious to every organisation and every person, and so the more time effective we are the better… as they say, time is money! Big Data solutions can help to drastically cut the amount of time personnel are taking to extract information and work with data sets. It means more time can be spent on increasing the number – and the value – of reports. A good Big Data solution will enable you to free up time to improve your productivity and increase reporting, making a much better and streamlined department that can add more value to the organisation.

Expense

Rising costs are a problem for any organisation and so the added expense caused by data capture and analyses should be reduced where possible. All elements have a cost associated with them – whether it is data capture, data storage or the cost of personnel. To collect data and do nothing with it will still cost the organisation – whether this is a loss of the opportunity you have available, missing trends or key insights into your organisation’s performance. Some data has a requirement to be kept for up to 7 years i.e. financial. To just store this information, rather than use it to your advantage, is not making the most of your assets. The way to look at the data is how it can make the most for you, your team and your organisation. To be able to see peaks in sales figures for example, and then pre-empt these with the necessary logistics to fulfil these orders quickly, can actually help save you money and help to grow a loyal customer base.

Keeping ahead of competition/Overperformance

Using a Big Data solution that is accurate, fast and works, can have a massive impact on an organisation. SAP for example found that installing Big Data analytics for their CRM system resulted in a system that was 250 times faster — resulting in 30% cost savings compared to the previous CRM installation. If your organisation is working at these increased speeds and with relevant and accurate data, you will be able to move faster – giving you a distinct advantage over competitors.

How can SAP HANA from Invenio help you?

SAP HANA is SAP’s answer to the Big Data challenge. SAP HANA can transform the speed at which your company operates by enabling real-time insight into every aspect of your business operation as it happens. And by taking advantage of high-speed analyses of all of your data, the second it’s created, you get answers based on information right now.

Invenio are a certified SAP HANA reseller, and can help you to understand how this ground-breaking technology can help you to improve business insight and performance at speeds you never thought possible. For more information contact us.