The use of big data remains a relatively new concept across the pharmaceutical industry, according to a new study by Cutting Edge Information, which provides research and consulting for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices industries.

Just less than half of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies report having dedicated big data teams in place, according to the report, “Pharmaceutical Big Data Insights: Harnessing Real-Time Data to Drive Decision-Making and Innovation.”

The report found that big data supports companies’ existing practices to help dedicated teams achieve and expand existing market access, medical affairs, clinical and business development objectives.

As familiarity with big data grows, companies are moving toward establishing formal big data structures, the firm says. It shows that 63 percent of surveyed companies without dedicated teams report plans to establish formal teams within the next few years. Of those companies, top 10 pharmaceutical companies are among the frontrunners to establish teams.

“Because establishing big data teams requires ongoing planning, many companies that presently lack dedicated teams have become proactive in their approach,” Nicole May, research analyst at Cutting Edge Information, said in a statement. “These preparations range from recruiting big data staff from existing analytics teams to strategically positioning big data databases within companies’ structures.”

The study is aimed at helping executives develop an initial big data team strategy, and presents key performance indicators such as activity budgets, team sizes and specific metrics concerning prospective studies, retrospective studies and market intelligence initiatives.

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