life sciences reporting with insight and power BI

InSight and Power Business Intelligence: Improving Data Aggregation and Reporting in Life Sciences

  • Jun 19, 2019

Accurate regulatory reporting in a life sciences organization is critical for its compliance and overall success. So, why are industry reporting capabilities currently so weak?

To start, many companies have opted to stick with their Excel spreadsheets or home-grown systems to harness data into reports. While this isn’t necessarily the wrong method, the amount of data that’s generated every day can quickly overwhelm these tools – leading to mistakes.

Due to the sensitive nature of life sciences data, and the ever-increasing time, cost and complexity of getting regulatory approvals, companies have a lot to lose if they make even the slightest mistake.

Clinical trials will go off-track. The drug development process will stretch out even longer. Projects will be shut down.

Many organizations use InSight, a Regulatory Information Management (RIM) system where important life sciences data can be stored, and submissions can be tracked. But when it comes to extracting useful information from the data and generating meaningful reports, companies have fallen short. Ironically, we’ve found that InSight customers are struggling to get actual insights from their data.

This is because they are missing an important reporting piece. The key is in combining a RIM repository with a powerful business intelligence tool – like Microsoft Power BI.

To keep regulatory submissions on track, life sciences organizations need to know how to turn their InSight data into actionable reports with BI.

It’s no question that creating accurate reports helps life sciences companies maximize transparency. But more than that, they need to be able to build reports not just for the sake of building one, but to actually use it to make better, more informed decisions.

Luckily, we’re here to tell you that there are things you can do today to improve your processes – so long as you find the right combination between regulatory data and business intelligence.

InSight and Power BI: A Match Made in Heaven 

Power BI empowers employees to leverage data from a vast number of sources into beautiful, actionable reports – but only if it’s used the right way.

Here’s what you need to know about using these tools:

Benefits of the InSight Platform  

InSight is a powerful regulatory information management (RIM) platform that stores an abundance of submission, registration, publishing and even XEVMPD data – and Power BI provides the ability to turn this cornucopia of information into visually pleasing reports.

InSight is the data source – whereas Power BI is the reporting tool used to massage that data into metrics that are particularly meaningful for the organization.

Power BI is adaptable to many different sources and types of data. The user interface is very intuitive – the graphics are sleek and easy to synthesize. Third party integrations are available to aggregate your InSight data in Power BI exactly how you need it to be. Other tools don’t compare to its level of data visualization, which includes charts, tables, matrices and more.

Once a report is assembled with Power BI, all data contained within is refreshed overnight into beautiful data sets, so you don’t have to worry about manually exporting your InSight data, building formulas or handling other tedious tasks.

The metrics generated from the platform are more accurate as they come from an automated process that’s ready every day. You can drill down into multiple levels of those metrics and really know what your next step should be. Ultimately, there’s a lot of versatility in the platform.

Power BI is an ideal reporting solution for companies in many industries. But for life sciences, it’s critical.

Reporting Without Power BI

What about life sciences companies that aren’t using a sophisticated program like Power BI? What are they using?

Some are using other out-of-the-box tools – applications that are underdeveloped, less intuitive and not customizable.

The turnaround time for developing reports on these tools is much longer, costing organizations more money to build the reports and, often, forcing them to use expensive third-party vendors who specialize in one of these niche tools. Reports are also much more extensive – in a bad way. They’re not intuitive and there’s a higher learning curve in developing a report that displays InSight data in a truly meaningful way.

It’s also more difficult to be proactive with the information you receive. Unlike Power BI, the data is not interactive based on report user input. It’s not seamlessly actionable without several extra steps in between.

Additionally, these tools are fraught with bugs and lack the extensive amount of learning materials available online that you have with a tool like Power BI.

Other companies are using legacy Excel sheets.

This comes with a similar set of problems. A lot of the data has to be exported and then manually built into Excel formulas. Because organizations are dealing with so much data, mistakes are more common – and they may go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Life sciences companies that use underdeveloped tools or Excel sheets for reporting have to deal with a much longer process. They have to add the data, get approval, then develop the report. But if there’s an error or bug, they have to update the documentation, get approval again and then develop the report. This is time that could be better spent elsewhere for a growing business. 

InSight and Power BI

InSight truly provides a wealth of information, but, often, organizations fall short when it comes to gleaning useful insights from that information. Implementing Power BI with InSight unlocks that data in a new way that surpasses the capacity of what an Excel report can provide.

InSight and Power BI allows you to:

1. Track submission volume on a regional, country, project or even product level to identify which publishing regions, countries, projects or products are experiencing the highest submission volumes, and where additional publishers may be required to avoid delayed submissions.

2. Identify current bottlenecks in the submission process. For example, in Power BI you can easily identify a region or country where a higher percentage of submissions are being submitted late.

3. Combine finance data with InSight’s submission data to show projected and actual submission costs and fees globally for the past, present and future (yearly, quarterly, monthly, etc). These costs and fees can also be broken down in endless ways to gain insight into the projects, regions, countries, products and more – which have or will require the largest allotments of the budget. A report like this can be incredibly useful in projecting more accurate budgets for the company.

4. Identify incorrect or incomplete data with direct links to the data in InSight. A report that shows the end user exactly what is wrong with the data (based on company-specific or industry-wide best practice) and the specific publisher that the Regulatory Information Management team can contact to get the data corrected or ensure completeness.

All of these examples have historically been painstaking processes that were completed manually by exporting data to Excel. In addition, Excel only provides a limited set of graphics to link these aggregated metrics – whereas Power BI provides a vast array of graphics that are interactive with the ability to filter and drill down into the data and are even responsive to other visuals within the report.

Are you struggling with extracting meaningful information from your InSight data? Is your reporting method clunky and out-of-date? Then maybe you need a new business intelligence tool that pulls data and aggregates it in a sleek, responsive and graphical interface like Power BI.

If you need help creating reports from your InSight data using Power BI, give us a call – we’d be happy to help you create beautiful, actionable reports.

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