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Accelerating Mergers & Acquisitions in the Medical Device Industry & the Rise of Data Monetization

As part of a very busy month for Reltio, I attended and presented at an event organized by Q1 Productions dedicated to Medical Device Industry Corporate Strategy and M&A in Atlanta, GA. The meeting was very well attended including representatives from Medtronic, Stryker and other companies sharing their insights into techniques for more effective M&A.

The topic of my presentation was:

Accelerating M&A in the Medical Device Industry with Modern Data Management

We discussed how bringing together clean, reliable, relevant data in a timely fashion from the IT systems of both parties to support an M&A is still largely a manual, inefficient and potentially inaccurate effort.

The audience agreed that the complexity of data siloed across both companies made it very difficult to analyze information within the legal and time constraints of all pending transactions. If the merger goes through, all work is generally discarded, leaving the combined company to start from ground zero. If the merger is called off, someone is left with hardware procured to support the M&A that is wasted. 

As part of the presentation I detailed:

  • How a multi-billion dollar merger blended & analyzed data from hundreds of sources with full security & audit controls, without spending a dime on hardware
  • Why they can also now realize millions of dollars in increased negotiating leverage through better vendor/supplier management
  • Which groups are positioned to benefit from new data-driven applications that will significantly improve the efficiency of their day-to-day operations
  • I also provided a modern data management Platform as a Service (PaaS) 101 overview, so attendees could understand the difference between MDM, Big Data, IoT, Analytics, Graph databases and Machine Learning
  • What other opportunities, including data monetization, are now possibilities for the future

Due to a cancellation I also was asked to dive deeper in a separate presentation on the topic of Data Monetization.

Data Monetization, Chief Data Officers, and Industry Clouds

This session provided details on: 

  • What exactly is data monetization
  • Why Data as a Service (DaaS) is a prerequisite
  • How reliable data with full compliance and audit controls are needed as a foundation
  • What are the legal ramifications?
  • Who is responsible for thinking about monetization?
  • What is a chief data officer, and what is his/her role?
  • How does a CDO play well with a CIO?
  • What are industry clouds, and how will that change the landscape of industry specific data applications
  • And even a topic what the future holds for our children’s future career choices: whether to learn how to program or be a data scientist

Finally the next day I moderated a lively “war stores” panel on

Lessons Learned from Recent M&A Activities

Distinguished panelists included

  • Girish Gangadharan, Analyst, Corporate Strategy & Development, ANALOGIC
  • Richard B. Smith, Partner, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY

We discussed how over the course of the past 18 months, the medical device industry has experienced some of the highest levels of mergers & acquisition activity recorded to date, and as a result, many executives and organizations have sharpened acquisition skill-sets and have also learned substantial lessons. A lively debate ensued with the panelists and audience around recent experiences, lessons, as well as challenges that lie ahead for the industry as it continues to evolve and grow. The discussion continued throughout the day as attendees identified best practices across the business development spectrum; from identifying appropriate targets to negotiating in order to secure the optimal outcome.

Other key points raised included:

  • Managing expectations for earn outs as part of the deal
  • The difference between acquiring pre-commercial and commercial companies
  • Bringing together sales teams, and managing cost synergies
  • Retaining founders of start-ups and incentives
  • Legal and contractual requirements

Medical Device M&A continues to be hot. A recent infographic by Medical Device Trends shows some of the latest statistics: 
(BTW their site is a wealth of information and you should follow them @mdtrends on twitter) 

Contact me if you’d like to chat about your experiences in life sciences and medical device M&A, or if you’d like a copy of my presentations.

Cognizant and Reltio Webinar Recap and Replay

Click here to listen to the webinar replay

Master data management (MDM) as a discipline and a technology has had its ups and downs over the last 10 years. With significant investment in multi-million dollar projects, many enterprises certainly have the right to expect a more direct impact on the business.

With the explosion of data volumes and the wide adoption of cloud and mobile technologies, frontline business users are starting to expect a new breed of data-driven applications. They are comparing what they have today with the ease-of-use and agility of consumer applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook. 

This webinar replay shows how enterprise data-driven applications backed by a modern data management Platform as a Service is breathing new life into MDM, and allowing both IT and businesses to be more agile and effective. It delves into specific industry use cases from Life Sciences, High Tech, Information and Entertainment to illustrate how organizations in these industries are leap frogging competitors by using data as a strategic asset.

Helping Software & Service Providers Deliver Data-driven Applications

My one year anniversary at Reltio is just around the corner and it’s been quite a ride. I’m particularly proud of our rapid growth in which we have grown our partner ecosystem to 9 Data as a Service partners, 16 service and technology partners, and counting. I’m also particularly excited to formally announce al Powered by Reltio solution in conjunction with ZS Associates. See Reltio and ZS Join Forces on a Revolutionary Oncology Solution.

It’s been amazing to see how partners have embraced the Reltio Cloud platform and the market opportunity with open arms. Each finding differentiated ways to collaborate with us in order to bring to market new and innovative solutions. Ultimately delivering rapid time to value to customers. 

In support of our partners we are unveiling two new programs:

Powered by Reltio

Powered by Reltio enables technology and service partners to rapidly create and bring to market new data-driven applications leveraging Reltio Cloud. Partners can complement an existing offering, or create an entirely new application, addressing unmet business needs by brining their domain expertise to life in easy to use, LinkedIn-style applications.

Powered by Reltio data-driven applications take advantage of a modern data management Platform as a Service (PaaS). which includes built-in master data management, big data scale, a commercial graph and Data as a Service (DaaS).


Delivered by Reltio enables third party data partners to monetize their data offerings directly into the Reltio Cloud and applications, giving frontline business users access to their data through Data as a Service (DaaS).  Data providers get a new, unique channel that reduces the IT effort required to onboard their data, while also benefiting from an Amazon-style delivery of their data by-the-record in real-time.

Powered by Reltio partners collaborate and leverage Delivered by Reltio partners, bringing together the perfect blend of applications and data to market.

On a personal note, it’s been a very rewarding experience building Reltio’s alliances and partner programs. Unlike many companies who view partners mostly as a sales channel, our focus has always been on the end-customers and how we can collaboratively help them Be Right Faster. Powered by Reltio and Delivered by Reltio is another example of how we are doing just that.

Can Data as a Service (DaaS) be the Magic Blend for a Healthier Life Sciences?

In my 12 years consulting for PwC and subsequently IBM, I estimate that I participated in life sciences strategic consulting projects totaling in the tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The vast majority of these projects were commercial IT and data architecture assessments to address key business pain points, or to determine how best to support new requirements in an ever changing life sciences landscape. Each architecture was inevitably complex and resulted in unhealthy complications including low ROI, unmet business requirements, long times to value, and ultimately significant tensions between business and IT.  

Developing a good IT vision and implementing the governance and enforcement needed to support it is a major challenge for life sciences companies. Usually, the architectures evolve organically based on point solutions to satisfied business requirements. These are the typical dynamics due to corporate budget cycles, lack of experience, the need to deliver business value quickly, and frankly office politics that do not favor successful governance or changes in direction.

This is why modern data management and architectures are now focusing on the data first. Then subsequently enabling data-driven applications to be rapidly created to solve any business problem. The ability to bring in data sources of any kind into a simple low cost, big data, cloud platform to manage the information, understand it, query it, share it, and make decisions from it isn’t trivial. The quality and latency of access to reliable data is often “the” bone of contention between IT and business, as well documented in the post “Bridging the Gap between IT and Business” by Dr. Tom Redman (aka the data doc himself).

So what will help life sciences companies cut to the chase, and truly allow them to have data-driven applications that both IT and business can agree on? I passionately believe that Data as a Service (DaaS) is a key component in this equation.

What is DaaS? Simply put, it’s the ability for data to be delivered regardless of geographic or organizational separation of provider and consumer. Today data from third party providers is still often delivered through batch files, IT dependent ETL uploads, laborious comparisons of what data has changed between updates, difficulty gauging the quality and value of the data provided, and slow manual communication back to data provider about corrections, uncovered by field teams that could be applied to improve data quality.

@Reltio we believe that data-as-a-service integrated into a modern data management foundation, and fully accessible by data-driven business applications are a game changer. But just sourcing and having on demand access to data is not enough. Data has to be converted into reliable information, by seamlessly cleansing and blending together related data from third party vendors, and social and public data sources, but also across departments within the enterprise. As a bonus it should also be flexible enough to be used as the backbone technology for data monetization.

This is why I joined Reltio, and why I’m focused on recruiting and enabling leading data providers through Reltio DaaS. In life sciences we are fortunate to have companies such as MedPro, DarkMatter2BD, Healthcare Management Systems and Enclarity (now LexisNexis) as data partners through our Delivered by Reltio program. Reltio DaaS benefits both pharma companies and data providers providing a two way on demand consumption of data, and closed feedback loop that can reduce the cost of improving data quality and delivery.

This is truly an exciting time, and I believe fully integrated DaaS is an integral offering that will enable life sciences companies to achieve an agile and data-driven architecture they need to succeed.



Explaining Data-driven, One Slice of Pizza at a Time

While a lot has been written about what it is to be data-driven, up until now there has been relatively little written about enterprise data-driven applications, and how it relates to other types of applications, and data management infrastructure.

I thought it might be fun to extend the pizza analogy that was previously blogged about by Albert Barron, IBM Software Client Architect, in which he cleverly showed the differences between on-premises systems and “as a service” concepts through the various components that make up a pizza meal.

If you will forgive me I’m taking his “pizza as a service” concept to an even cheesier level. Starting with a baseline of software as a service, modern data management Platform as a service (PaaS)data-driven applications and adding the following capabilities:

  • Data as a Service – to provide the raw multi-domain, structured and unstructured data from third party, social and transaction sources (such as through our Delivered by Reltio partner program)
  • Master Data Management – to create reliable data by cleansing, verifying, matching and merging, ultimately uncovering affiliations and relationships between siloed sets
  • Analytics – to deliver in context, relevant insights with visualize cues specific to the role of the frontline business user
  • Machine Learning – to give recommended actions, that can be immediately actioned within the data-driven application, by the user or autonomously executed on their behalf. With closed loop feedback to continuously improve outcomes


So there you have it, the secret “sauce” of data-driven applications delivered as a pizza for your enjoyment. Sorry I didn’t squeeze the beer into the post, but I think beer can be taken as foundational, like big data infrastructure and cloud for today’s modern data management Platform as a Service.

If you’d like a more technical view of what a data-driven application entails, please check out Phil Russom, PhD’s first of its kind checklist for data-driven applications.

Better data, better pizza, #berightfaster

How to Monetize Your Enterprise Data … Without Really Trying

Data monetization as described on Wikipedia “… generating revenue from available data sources or real-time streamed data by instituting the discovery, capture, storage, analysis, dissemination and use of that data. It is the process by which data producers, data aggregators and data consumers, large and small, exchange sell or trade data.”

There have been some very interesting articles around this topic, primarily focused on data gathered from the Internet of Things (IoT) as described in Cap Gemini’s presentation Extracting Value from the Connectivity Opportunity or mobile devices in Accenture’s piece Monetization in the Age of Big Data.

But did you know that any enterprise can tap into the data they manage and use to run their businesses as a recurring revenue stream? In order to do so, the data must be, among other things:

  • Reliable
  • Relevant
  • Segmented
  • Secure and anonymized if necessary

And there should be an easy way to distribute and make the data available for purchase either in batch or by-the-click “Amazon style”. But it doesn’t stop there, like any form of commerce customers of the data need to be able to provide feedback and rate the value and quality of the data.

Better still, wouldn’t it be great if the users of data could contribute back more accurate information in exchange for discounts on future purchases, making it a win-win for all.  

While getting there seems daunting, the first steps start with just improving the reliability and relevance of your internal data to improve your business operations. Using Data as a Service (DaaS) to bring in third-party data assets to enrich information for your data-driven applications, and allowing your employees to collaboratively curate data, optimizes the efficiency and cost of your internal operations.

From there you can turn your own data into an asset and even begin profiting from it. The technology that you previously used to bring in third-party data can be used to distribute and license your own data externally. Effectively making you a Data as a Service provider. The caveat of course that any technology you use, must provide full audit and lineage as to where the data originated from so that licensing rights are clear.

It can be done and chief data officers (CDOs) everywhere are starting to think in terms of not just using data to improve operational efficiency within their enterprise, but monetizing data as a significant revenue stream. To do this they are selecting cloud-based Modern Data Management Platform as a Service (PaaS) that include Data as a Service and data-driven applications that support collaborative curation.

Freedom to Choose … Your Data

Patients and payers are gaining influence over healthcare decisions, physicians. Other prescribers and healthcare organizations remain central to driving high-quality, cost-effective care. Understanding the decisions they make and how these decisions impact patient outcomes – is vital. As the business adjusts to these changes, it is important to understand who these customers are and how best to engage with them.

Many companies struggle to keep their provider, payer and patient master records in order. It’s an ongoing monumental task that requires constant evolution of data management practices that IT organizations are challenged to handle due to the constantly evolving nature of the data and data sources.

Help has presented itself in a few forms. There have been solutions mainly focused on improving the quality of customer data for CRM.

While useful and incrementally more efficient, these solutions are not for everyone. The life sciences industry has a wide variety of quality data providers, MedPro, LexisNexis Enclarity and HMS, DarkMatter2BD, IMS, Cegedim and others, each delivering unique value. If time and effort of acquisition and integration were not an issue, most would prefer not to be “locked-in” by a single data source.

A better alternative might be a dynamic and open data-as-a-service (DaaS) offering that allows companies to choose from the excellent range of data providers, pre-integrated and accessible through simple point and click. This on demand access allows for the business user to directly search for and acquire the data they need across multiple vendors, often previewing before purchase, and dynamically on boarding and combining the data with their own. They can even provide feedback and updates to the vendor seamlessly, often in exchange for credits. The third party provider gets higher quality data, which benefits other customers consuming the information, so everyone wins.

IT, who often have been saddled with, and wrongly pointed to as the bottleneck, due to the need to have them perform tedious ETL uploads, and constant verification of changed data between batches, are now free to focus on more pressing matters. 

@Reltio we believe DaaS is an essential part of a modern data management platform which in turn should be built into data-driven applications. With this, IT can not only be more efficient, but also more compliant by tracking update and consolidation of all attributes across all sources, internal and external. This gives them full visibility as to how the data procured, is benefiting business users in their day-to-day goals.

With the dramatically lower cost of ownership and efficiency, now combined with choice, higher data quality and greater compliance and visibility. That would be freedom of choice worth voting for.

MedPro & Reltio Partner to Simplify Customer Master Data

MedPro Systems and Reltio today announced real-time access to the MedProID® MedProMasterSM database within Reltio’s cloud-based master data management (MDM) solution. MedPro’s leading source of health care practitioner licensing and profile data is now pre-integrated with Reltio’s software as a service (SaaS) MDM platform.

MedPro Systems and Reltio together offer a complete and secure cloud-based customer master for life sciences companies wanting to better manage and leverage their customer data for competitive advantage. The new customer master solution combines data and stewardship services from MedPro Systems with Reltio’s innovative, multi-domain MDM application.

Reltio delivers real-time access to the world’s leading data and services providers for healthcare and life sciences companies, among other industries. MedPro Systems maintains one of the most comprehensive and current health care professional databases available and used by over 250 life science customers today.