While reading “How Pfizer Uses Tablet PCs and Click-Stream Data to Track Its Strategy” (see here), I was struck by two thoughts:

  1. Pfizer’s use of technology to collect sales analytics seems pretty basic; eg, David Kreutter, a Pfizer VP of US Commercial Operations, revealed a source of “predictive analytics” to be a simple Web log that shows what physicians click on and what they click through to when they visit a product website. But Pfizer doesn’t have “any greater data on how those clicks translate into prescription writing.”
  2. and

  3. The “real-time” data they get from sales reps using tablet PCs seems pretty easy to falsify. Here’s how Kreutter describes it:

    “As they click the screens with their styluses to illustrate points, those clicks are recorded. That’s how we’re able to see things like the order of presentations, the messages within a presentation that were presented, if the physician found it engaging. Representatives synchronize their tablets on a daily basis, and we get a data stream back to our data warehouse. Our customer data master now has all of that click-stream data for each representative and each doctor.”

    Maybe I’m being a cynic or not understanding the technology, but what’s to prevent a sales rep from doing all the clicking while waiting in the physician’s office hallway just to drop off samples?

This sort of thing is probably not new — no doubt sales reps have falsified paper-based sales call reports as well. But now the amount of data coming in from 4,000 representatives, each seeing “about seven or eight physicians a day,” and each detailing “about two to three products in each of those calls,” provides a false sense of knowing in detail what’s going on. As has been said ever since computers were invented, “garbage in, garbage out.”

P.S. I also note that Kreutter only spoke about “tablet PCs” and NOT iPads. I guess Pfizer has not yet progressed to using that technology.