The Internet is now our primary source of information. You can find the answer to just about any question in a click, but the REAL challenge is to sort through all the available data.

The pharmaceutical industry has been a bit different in this respect. The data required to develop new products couldn’t be found on line for one very simple reason: It didn’t exist. A big part of the development process was managing to pinpoint potential needs, so that they could be quantified and their feasibility could be determined.

In the era of big data, companies now have access to reams of information about consumers and their behavior patterns—almost in real time. The decision-making process is now much more rapid and targeted to needs. Pharmaceutical companies are no exception. The old process, in which you asked a question and then looked for an answer, has been turned on its head. More than enough information is available; the challenge is to understand the true nature of a problem in order to find THE exact data that will make it possible to decide on the right actions to pursue.