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Commercial Data Platform: 3 Considerations as a First-Time Launcher
As a first-time launcher, the ability to quickly identify hurdles and take action through this exciting and turbulent time is critical. The greatest impediment lies in the relationships and implementations involving your commercial data.
When considering this data and how it will be managed, accessed, and reliably assessed, important considerations need to be made as early as 18 months prior to launch. This is purposely early, with the goal of preventing rapid, pressure-induced buying of solutions that are unlikely to continue to serve your organization as new needs emerge post-launch.
Early Considerations in Commercial Data: What to Think About First
We focus on three areas when we help clients navigate their first steps in selecting and implementing commercial data resources. These primary questions give direction and begin to form a strategy in selecting vendors and devising a plan to implement according to the needs, requirements and goals of your unique organization.
Consideration 1: Who will have control of your data – now and in the future?
An important early consideration is data ownership. Vendors handle this in different ways, and the long-term implications are not always obvious.
You should specifically consider the level of control you expect to have over your data. This can mean being able to limit the number of people who claim ownership to the data, and whether or not the data is built in an asset you own (as opposed to “rent”) and can eventually fully take over.
For example, some vendors that operate as “full service” solutions will host your data. What you may not know is, the day you end your engagement with these vendors, you lose access to that data. In comparison, other vendors will build in your own environment, giving you the capability to eventually transition the management and ongoing maintenance of the data asset or analytics in-house.
Consideration 2: Will you be obligated to a Third-Party Access (TPA) agreement?
A lot of vendors in the data space are in the business of selling data. This comes with a price tag, and it’s not always a price in dollars. Often times, because they’re selling data, they consider the work they do with your data to be enrichment or addition of value. Therefore, the data is partially theirs.
Depending on the vendor you choose, you have to consider what you plan to do with your data later down the path to commercialization.
For example, if you plan to share the data with other firms such as marketing vendors, your speaker bureau, or an incentive compensation administrator, you may be obligated to manage that access through onerous TPA agreements. We had one client report that their TPA management took half an FTE!
Consideration 3: How will you achieve a holistic view of your data?
One of the biggest lost opportunities we see in commercial data platform design is the tendency to enable siloed decision-making through the use of siloed data solutions within an organization.
There is hesitance to allow certain functions to have cross-functional access to certain types of data, and often times more focus is paid to what can’t be shared instead of what can be. An “all mine” mentality ultimately prohibits the ability to derive leading performance indicators. These leading indicators provide a holistic view of how all pieces of the organization are performing toward the common goal.
Though siloed data may provide leading indicators, this data on its own is directional at best. Cross-functional data must be collated and compared in order to provide a full picture. This is a highly important consideration to make as you make decisions about your data, as it will likely involve some organizational alignment regarding the purpose and value of shared data.
As you digest these considerations, we would love to hear your questions or comments. Our next post will share our specific recommendations relating to selection and the 3 common models we see post-implementation.
Jenny is a Principal with SVA Consulting, a member of the SVA family of companies. In her role as a business and technology advisor, Jenny specializes in helping companies achieve their goals by effectively leveraging their business systems and information.