Top executives in the pharmaceutical industry feel their firms are struggling to manage the "deluge of data" they face.

That is the key finding in a report from the software giant Oracle which states that companies are accumulating data at "unprecedented rates", but are falling short on turning it into revenues. Some 330 US and Canadian C-level executives (eg CEOs and CFOs) from the life sciences sector and 10 other industries were surveyed about how well they are using data to drive profit and growth.

Around 93% said their organisation is collecting and managing more business information today than two years ago, by an average of 78% more. However 29% of life sciences executives give their company a 'D' or 'F' in preparedness to manage the data deluge; only 10% of the latter group give their organisation an 'A'.

Life sciences respondents say they are unable to realise, on average, 20% of additional revenue per year, translating to about $98.5 million per year, "by not being able to fully leverage the information they collect." Of those surveyed from the pharma/biotech sector, 30% are "most frustrated with their inability to give business managers access to the information they need without relying on the IT team".

Life sciences executives note that they are making the best use of their data to move the business forward in the areas of R&D (33%), regulatory submissions/compliance (27%) sales/marketing (23%) and customer service (23%). They identify supply chain management (37%) and clinical trials (33%) as areas in which their organisations could benefit most from additional business intelligence and analytical solutions.

Neil de Crescenzo, head of the Oracle Health Sciences Global Business Unit, noted that pharmaceutical companies as well as biotechnology firms are struggling to make the most of their data and translate it into innovation and new revenue. He added that executives need to put "big data to work for their organisations, including deploying industry-specific solutions and analytical applications that deliver timely information when and where it is needed".