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Constellation Research: Analysis of IMS Health and Reltio Alliance

IMS Health: Reltio Alliance Profile

At a Glance

IMS Health, a well-known information, technology, and services provider to pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, has entered into a significant alliance with Reltio. As part of the relationship, forged in June 2016, IMS Health will resell Reltio for Master Data Management (MDM) and it will also use Reltio Cloud as the data management Platform as a Service (PaaS) behind its cloud- based IMS One data warehouse platform.

IMS Health chose Reltio for its combination of agile cloud deployment, scalability and advanced MDM and information management capabilities. Reltio MDM will help life sciences firms meet stringent compliance requirements tied to the U.S. Sunshine Act and other reporting mandates globally. MDM also helps resolve physician identities and fast-changing affiliations as integrated delivery networks and accountable-care organizations continue to emerge.

The Reltio Cloud data-management platform will enable IMS One customers to quickly deploy new analytical environments combining internal sources with data from IMS software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Finally,  Reltio Data as a Service (DaaS) capabilities will make IMS Health reference data assets, including the OneKey healthcare professional database, available on-demand to help customers resolve fast-changing identities and enable better compliance.

Industry Challenges

Pharmaceutical companies need agility, flexibility, and scalability to cope with new compliance demands, new commercial models, and risks tied to constant change and regulatory uncertainty.

  • Product-launch pressures: FDA approvals are never a sure thing, and they are seldom issued on a predictable schedule. Pharmaceuticals need to provision analytical environments in advance of a product launch so they can track competitors and their own products, align sales territories, load customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and develop incentive compensation plans. Start building that environment too early and you risk a wasted investment. Start too late and you risk missing a timely product launch. Agility is crucial, and startups in particular are averse to the costs, lead times, integration requirements and risks tied to conventional on-premises deployments.
  • New commercial models: Life sciences commercial models are evolving with the emergence of outcome-based health care, which is raising the importance of accountable-care organizations, payers and integrated delivery networks. Effective MDM enables this new commercial model by identifying the right stakeholders and their relationships with influencing organizations. The solution must be robust and agile to ensure that it can keep up with frequently changing data sets.
  • Compliance: Regulations such as the U.S. Sunshine Act, corporate integrity agreements, EFPIA guidelines in Europe, and regulations emerging elsewhere in the world demand that life sciences companies have an accurate view of physicians and other healthcare professionals so they meet stringent reporting requirements. 

The Solution

  • Reltio MDM: The complexity of the latest compliance challenges coupled with the scale and dynamic nature of emerging healthcare networks demands an agile, accurate and scalable MDM system. “Reltio gives us the cloud flexibility we need, as well as best-in- class technology including graph data matching and a Big Data architecture,” said Chitra Varma, director of product management at IMS Health.

IMS One powered by Reltio Cloud: With Reltio MDM and Reltio Cloud forming a data-management backbone, IMS One is a cloud-based, turnkey alternative to vetting, deploying, and integrating multiple pieces of technology. It starts with a data warehouse service into which life sciences organizations can load their data, but the data is also pre- integrated with IMS SaaS apps, including CRM, Multichannel Marketing, and Incentive Compensation. The final piece is popular IMS Health data sources, including its OneKey, Xponent and HCRS databases, available on demand in the same environment, with self-service data-sampling, pricing and provisioning within a few clicks.

The Impact

IMS Health expects Reltio’s technology to help it bring customers significant advantages through agile deployment and ongoing flexibility. The combination of Reltio MDM, IMS One and the on-demand availability of reference data assets will be most appealing to startups and established companies that are ready for a clean-slate, cloud-based approach. Reltio Cloud is the data-management backbone that quickly brings together on-premises data, SaaS app data and on-demand enrichment data in a data warehouse service maintained by IMS Health. Large pharmaceuticals deeply invested in their on-premises infrastructures would be more likely to opt for Reltio MDM as a stand- alone upgrade to their environment, bringing greater flexibility, scalability and accuracy to compliance initiatives.


“We take a tremendous amount of time, cost and risk out of the equation for our customers,” said Mike Allelunas, general manager of information management at IMS Health North America. “Legacy systems are too hard-coded and it takes too much time and too much money to reconfigure the old on-premises solutions to adapt to the next iteration of a go- to-market plan.”

Constellation Research Analysis:

IMS Health is a blue chip in the life sciences industry and long-time purveyor of MDM and data- management infrastructure. Its selection of Reltio MDM and Reltio Cloud affirms the vendor’s best-in-class capabilities, market traction and long-term viability. It also speaks to the appeal of Reltio Cloud as a data- management PaaS, offering customers and partners a platform for building their own data-driven applications and data services. The majority of Reltio’s customers are in healthcare and life sciences. But Constellation sees Reltio as a horizontal platform provider that deserves consideration from would-be customers and partners in any data-intensive industry. 

Access the full Constellation Research Reltio profile and IMS Health Alliance Analysis