Tag Archives: Data

Data sharing and ownership: home truths for utilities

Despite a history of insularity, data sharing is an inevitable reality for utilities. So who is liable for that data? Engerati asks data specialists at OSIsoft for insight. Originally published at Engerati on 17 Apr 2018

Data is at the forefront of many utilities’ minds – collecting data, protecting data, distributing it and monetising it. However, are utilities prepared to share their own operational data?

Between the associated risks to both security and competitive advantages, utilities have historically had plenty of reasons to be hesitant in sharing their operational data. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there may be a business case for it – should it be executed correctly. Unlocking these benefits will be crucial for forward-thinking utilities looking to adapt to the data-driven market.

To better understand the issues surrounding data sharing for utilities, we turned to specialists William McEvoy, Industry Principal Transmission & Distribution / Distributed Energy Resources and David Thomason, Business Development Executive / Industry Principal – Global Power Generation at OSIsoft.

The need for operational data sharing

David Thomason explains the increasing need for operational data.

He says, “We look at the whole ecosphere around power generation as a community. There’s a whole world of information sharing among them – there’s the power generation companies, the regulation companies, your regional operators… but there’s also others to consider. Your suppliers, vendors, generators – there’s a whole supply chain of demand in terms of data.”

“Data sharing between those entities becomes core to how they’re going to operate. More and more as we bring in data from renewables, distributed energy resources, batteries, these will add new characteristics to the market, and will require a huge amount of operational data to ensure they run efficiently,” he continues.

William McEvoy agrees; “one of the biggest risks facing utilities is reliability and impact on the grid from these new disruptive technologies.”

Sharing this data across the supply chain will provide distributors with crucial insight to their performance and position within the market. The difficulty arises if the cost of sharing data – be it through regulatory penalties or losses in competitive markets – outweighs the associated benefits.

Adding to the difficulty will be the attitude shift required from utilities when sharing this data.

McEvoy explains, “it’s a big paradigm shift for utilities who are used to providing reports to regulators just around events or issues. They look at that reporting as penalty reporting. Now, the concern is shifting towards not only what regulators can do with that data, but what competitors can do with it.”

“If you’re in an open, competitive market, that operational information is very confidential,” seconds Thomason.

Thomason sees this as an avoidable risk factor, should the correct preparations be employed. “Not every piece of data at a detailed level will matter, so to make this work there needs to be some sensitivity around segmenting data,” he explains.

Another suggestion is that distributors that submit their data openly receive compensation for the exposition to competitors.

Data sharing ownership – who is liable?

Beyond the need for operational data sharing within utilities is a larger problem – the liability for the data and its security.

“Regardless of what new technology is put on the grid,” explains McEvoy, “the distributors are still responsible for the grid. So then, the more data they share, the more liability they have.”

Thomason believes the industry hasn’t put enough time or effort into how these ideas of data ownership and responsibility come into play.

He continues, “When these utilities send their raw data, external bodies can do advanced pattern recognition, machine learning, design assessment, really massage that data and provide analytics. The problem then becomes who owns this new, refined data.”

The conversation around ownership here is twofold. On the one hand, owning this data renders the utilities, vendors, or analytics companies responsible for it should something go wrong. However, it also gives them a powerful, valuable asset.

Much like with the conversations around blockchain, it appears some serious forethought is needed before full implementation.

Join OSIsoft Group Live Webinar “Transforming IoT Data into Results for Power” on 21 November at 3PM London/10AM New York


Peter M. Wahl, ScD, MLA, MS, Director, Epidemiology, Covance


Dr. Wahl is a pharmPeter M. Wahlacoepidemiologist specializing in complex study design and analytic methods, with expertise in the full spectrum of primary and secondary health care data. He directs epidemiological study design and advanced analytics in Covance Market Access Services, and devises strategic advice for clients in the development and synthesis of real world evidence. 

For the past 20 years, Dr. Wahl has held management, consulting, and research positions in for-profit and academic institutions including Aetion, the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, HealthCore, the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, CareScience, and the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Wahl received his ScD in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, his MS from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and his MLA from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his training in Pharmacoepidemiology in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Wahl also holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University.


  1. Why did you decide to do a webinar with us?

The importance of real-world evidence for healthcare decision-making has grown rapidly in the past decade, making it critical to understand its applications.  Given our expertise in the nuances of real-world data and their individual strengths and challenges, we want to share this knowledge in the hope that well-informed colleagues can become effective stewards of meaningful, actionable real-world evidence.

  1. What will the audience gain from attending your webinar?

Attendees will acquire foundational knowledge and a framework to begin meaningful dialogs with their internal stakeholders around real-world evidence and the value it can bring to their organization. Specifically, the audience will become familiar with:

  • The continuum of healthcare evidence
  • Real-world evidence throughout the product development life-cycle
  • Strengths and limitations of available real-world data sources
  • A decision-analytic framework for real-world evidence development
  • Resources for best practices
  1. What’s your favourite thing about presenting to a live audience?

Presenting live offers an opportunity to engage with the audience.  The question and answer period is an excellent time to get feedback on what has been on people’s minds during the presentation, as well as to find out what most vexes them with regard to the topic at hand.  Providing meaningful answers to these questions is an opportunity to put the icing on the cake.

  1. Who or what inspired you to get into the industry?

I was working in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-90s, coordinating the observational clinical research program for the surgical head of the lung transplant and aortic arch surgery programs.  We needed someone to perform the necessary statistical tests for comparisons of treatment outcomes, so I began teaching myself using Excel and textbooks.  When the Division started loaning me out to the Cardiology and Pulmonary Care divisions, I realized I needed more formal training, and got hooked on the Epidemiology courses at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Those courses led to one master’s degree, then another. After working in both academia as well as the private sector, I eventually completed my doctoral degree in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and my training in Pharmacoepidemiology at the Brigham.

  1. What one item would you take with you to a desert island?

Do pen and paper count as one item?  I am a book-aholic and my hobby is writing, so I would want something to write down my thoughts—or perhaps an adventure story about a pharmacoepidemiologist who escapes from a desert island.  I would write as much as possible…at least until the pen runs out and the papers blow away in a tropical storm.

Covance will be presenting their webinar Generating Real-world Evidence with Healthcare Data on 21st October at 1pm New York/6pm London Read more and register here.

Externalization – a Collaborative Future for Life Sciences R&D

Nowadays, trying to cover the entire research and development (R&D) life cycle in-house makes little economic sense. Externalization is viewed as an effective way of dealing with the twin challenges of managing the immense amount of data generated by modern drug discovery techniques as well as having to find ways to mitigate costs.

Externalizing discovery screening processes has brought a raft of new players to the scene and is challenging old relationship patterns in R&D. We’ve witnessed a boom in the externalization of discovery research upstream of the preclinical and clinical areas, bringing pharmaceutical companies, CROs (Contract Research Organizations), other sector specialists and academia into closer and closer contact.

As these organizations look to collaborate, challenges abound on the road to making sure that externalization results in a win-win scenario for all stakeholders. Efficiency and trust underpin the success of collaboration. The reputational and IP risks inherent to sharing information mean that transparent and reliable infrastructure solutions are key to achieving a positive outcome.

On a more practical level, the data generated by different stakeholders needs to be easily shareable, easy to incorporate back into in-house-systems and its integrity and transparency must ensure it produces fully reproducible results. And if externalization isn’t properly executed, its benefits can be negated by extended decision cycle times. Again, choosing the right infrastructure solution represents the difference between success and failure.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can benefit from the advantages of externalized, collaborative ways of working while mitigating the downsides, join me and Justin Gazard of Pfizer Inc. for our webinar, ‘Externalize costs without breaking the data value chain’ on September 17, 2014.

Andy Vines, Product Manager, Screening Solutions, IDBS

Find out more and register

Andy Vines, Product Manager, Screening Solutions, IDBS

With an academic background in pharmacology and biochemistry, Andy VinesAndy Vines is currently the Product Manager responsible for IDBS’ screening solutions, including the ActivityBase Suite, ActivityMart and XLfit.

Before joining IDBS in 2008, Andy had already gained extensive user experience of ActivityBase, having used it in his previous R&D-centric roles at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). During an industry career spanning 20 years, Andy was instrumental in driving forward a number of research programs in oncology and cardiovascular therapeutic areas, primarily in research biology and screening functions covering target ID, hit ID, lead optimization and candidate selection.

His industry expertise and experience of discovery screening place him in an excellent position to advise R&D specialists on how IDBS can help them overcome the many challenges facing a fast-evolving scientific domain.

Andy will present IDBS’ webinar ‘Externalize costs without breaking the data value chain‘ on the 17th September at 10am New York/3pm London. You can register now to reserve your place.

1. What will the audience learn from attending the webinar?

Most R&D stakeholders are aware of the benefits of externalizing parts of the discovery screening process. What we aim to explore in this webinar is how to approach externalization successfully so that all stakeholders from big pharma to biotechs to academia and specialist service providers can benefit from this trend and also make it work in practice. We’ll be looking at different approaches to externalization, getting the infrastructure right and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

2. How did you get into the industry and what do you most enjoy about your role?

My early years in Africa exposed me to lots of interesting flora and fauna, and developed my passion for life sciences. I joined GSK (then Glaxo) during a period of rapid expansion and found myself in the lab doing oncology research at a time when Information Technology (IT) was starting to take hold. I quickly recognized the potential for informatics to revolutionize research workflows and became an enthusiastic early adopter. By the mid-90s, we’d evolved to using ActivityBase and I became a major driver of its adoption.

When the opportunity arose, it seemed only natural to make the move to IDBS. It was a chance to bring my experience of IT and research to a wider audience and make the most of the data generated in research and development (R&D) processes. I really enjoy what I do at IDBS. The variety of my role and the evolving challenges faced by scientists dealing with increasing volumes of data keep me motivated to continue to turn challenges into opportunities.

3. What has been the best moment in your career?

It’s hard to pick just one! I would say that one of the achievements I’m most proud of was transforming the way discovery screening was carried out at GSK. By embracing the possibilities opened up by ActivityBase technology, we were able to completely transform and automate processes, workflows and decision-making.

4. Who or what is your inspiration?

I’m inspired (and humbled) every time I look up at the night sky. Each star represents infinite possibility and it keeps me striving to achieve more.

5. What 1 item would you take with you to a desert island?

It may be a bit cheeky but I’d have to say a cruise ship! I prefer my desert islands to come without the downside of being marooned.

Remember to register for Andy’s upcoming webinar where you can ask him questions live on the webinar.