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Keeping pace with the prescription drug market using Snowflake and Tableau

Case study by Sarah Diehl

The core goal of any analytics operation is to utilize data to drive fast and effective decisions. But achieving these objectives requires the capability to process massive amounts of data at the fastest possible speeds. It’s a reality that is increasingly leading companies to the powerful combination of Tableau and Snowflake, as was the case with a recent Thorogood client, a leading provider of data-driven marketing services to pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

Pairing the power of Snowflake with the functionality of Tableau

When it first engaged with Thorogood, our client was in the midst of a considerable growth phase that continues today. In working with customers to maximize the reach of their marketing campaigns for specific drugs, the company relies upon data from third party vendors like IQVIA, a firm that sells healthcare information, including de-identified prescription data. It wanted a solution that would allow users to glean insights from this data and improve its ability to evaluate existing marketing campaigns and add new business by identifying underserved markets and relevant prescribers.

The combination of Snowflake and Tableau was the clear choice for the job. Over the last five years, Snowflake has elbowed its way into the data warehousing market alongside traditional powers like Microsoft and Amazon. Its multi-cluster, shared data architecture allows for compute, storage and cloud services layers that are logically integrated but scale independent of one another. This allows for a more flexible cost structure. If you need more storage, you can scale that up without also paying for an increase in unnecessary computing power. At the same time, the integration between the three layers is seamless, giving users the ability to process large volumes of data over a live connection and allowing for rapid, user-friendly querying.

Initially, our client was relying upon Power BI dashboards that were connected to data that resided in the Snowflake warehouse. Realizing that the functionality of Tableau would better fit its needs, the company began looking for a partner with the expertise necessary to both migrate its existing dashboards to the platform and help it incorporate a series of new complementary dashboards that would create an easier data discovery experience.

A collaborative, business-focused approach

The company was looking for a robust and flexible solution that would surface key insights to drive and understand growth. Together, we identified four market indicators that were essential to growing business: the total number of prescriptions that exist for a certain drug, the number of new prescriptions that doctors are writing, the geographic location where all of those prescriptions are being filled, and health care provider information, which allows for the targeting of doctors within certain specialties. Our client needed the new platform to surface information on these key areas in a way that would help it to quickly adjust its business decision to changes in demand amongst customers and the pharmaceutical market.

Thorogood helped the company understand how Tableau could be utilized to home in on those key questions in the most effective and user-friendly manner, particularly in conjunction with Snowflake. As part of the process, Thorogood optimized some of their queries and designed custom SQL connections with Tableau parameters that are only usable due to the rapid computing power of Snowflake.

This collaborative approach serves as the bedrock of Thorogood’s Iterative Dashboard Development methodology. Side-by-side, Thorogood and the company in question designed and built a solution that allows users to monitor prescriptions written from a variety of vantage points, including scalable geographic locations and the class and specialty of the prescriber, which include Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Dentists in addition to doctors. For example, if a pharma company was looking to build a better targeted marketing campaign for a certain drug, it would benefit from data about the number of doctors or hospitals in a specific region as a measure of potential access to the drug. The new solution gives that company’s team an easy way to monitor that information, as well as the ability to view a profile of the set of doctors that are writing prescriptions for specific drugs.

The final result: business growth

The ability to continuously monitor this type of information enables our client to better fulfill the needs and marketing opportunities of its current and potential clients. Thanks to the power of Snowflake, the versatility of Tableau, and the collaborative spirit that typifies Thorogood’s relationship with clients, the company is now even better positioned to serve its clients grow its own business.

Find out more

Contact Sarah Diehl. Sarah is a BI & Analytics Consultant at Thorogood based in the US.