September 1, 2023

HCLS Companies: 10 Data Analytics Challenges to Overcome with Sigma Computing & Snowflake

By Katrina Menne

Healthcare and Life Sciences (HCLS) companies face a multitude of challenges when it comes to managing and analyzing data. From the sheer volume of information to the complexity of data sources and the need for real-time insights, HCLS companies constantly need to adapt and overcome these challenges to stay ahead of the competition. 

Thankfully, Sigma Computing and Snowflake Data Cloud provide powerful tools for HCLS companies to address these data analytics challenges head-on. 

In this blog, we’ll explore 10 pressing data analytics challenges and discuss how Sigma and Snowflake can help. So, whether you’re a healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company, or medical device manufacturer, read on to discover how you can harness the power of analytics to add more data-driven value to your business.

Introduction to Sigma Computing and Snowflake

Sigma is a spreadsheet-like analytics platform built specifically for cloud warehouses like Snowflake. It focuses on balancing exploratory analysis with curated dashboards, making it easy for HCLS companies to create internal and external-facing interactive dashboards and reports, analyze data in real-time, and collaborate with other users. 

Sigma’s intuitive interface is designed to be user-friendly, which means that anyone in the HCLS industry can easily adopt the platform without needing extensive training.

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing platform that enables HCLS companies to store and analyze large amounts of data. Sigma uses live connections to seamlessly integrate with Snowflake, allowing HCLS organizations to fully capitalize on all the performance and security features of Snowflake.

Did you know Sigma is Snowflake’s BI Partner of the Year?

A diagram showcasing the modern data stack and how it all connects. Among the logos are Sigma Computing and Snowflake.
An example data lifecycle involving Snowflake and Sigma

10 Data Challenges of HCLS Organizations

1. Data Compliance

HCLS companies deal with highly sensitive patient information, making compliance a top concern. Complying with numerous regulations and standards is crucial for these companies to maintain the trust of their patients and avoid legal repercussions.

Sigma and Snowflake are both compliant with HIPAA, have safeguards in place for handling PII, and have other regulatory certifications. This means that HCLS companies can use these platforms to analyze their data while remaining compliant with applicable regulations.

Learn more about:

2. Data Security

With sensitive patient information at risk, data security is a top concern for HCLS companies. Sigma and Snowflake understand this and offer numerous security measures to protect sensitive data. 

These measures include multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and role-based access control, allowing companies to manage who has access to confidential information. 

In addition, Sigma and Snowflake provide audit logging, which tracks user activity and provides a record of any data modifications. By leveraging these features, HCLS companies can ensure the protection of sensitive data and compliance with industry regulations. 

Learn more about:

3. Data Integrations

Integrating data from multiple systems can be a major pain point for HCLS companies. Data can often be scattered across multiple platforms, making it difficult to access and analyze. However, Sigma and Snowflake offer a solution to this challenge with their flexible data integration capabilities. 

These platforms can seamlessly integrate with existing platforms, allowing HCLS companies to consolidate data from multiple sources and gain a comprehensive view of their data. This integration ability is particularly important because it allows companies to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of replacing everything in their current data lifecycle. 

By combining data from disparate systems, HCLS companies can perform better data analysis and make more informed decisions.

4. Data Quality

Inaccurate data can have negative impacts on patient interactions or loss of productivity for the business. Sigma and Snowflake offer data profiling to identify inconsistencies, errors, and duplicates. 

Data validation rules can be implemented to check for missing or invalid values, and data governance features like data lineage tracking, reusable data definitions, and access controls ensure that data is managed in a compliant and secure manner. 

Additionally, Sigma and Snowflake provide data cleansing capabilities to correct incomplete or irrelevant data. By utilizing these features, HCLS companies can be confident that their data is accurate, reliable, and consistent, ultimately leading to better patient care and outcomes.

5. Live Analytics

The need for real-time data analysis is crucial in the HCLS industry, as it helps drive better patient outcomes and timely decision-making. Sigma and Snowflake enable real-time data analysis by offering live connections to data sources, allowing HCLS companies to gain insights into current trends and make data-driven decisions quickly. 

With Sigma’s features specifically designed for the entire development to production lifecycle of a workbook, HCLS companies can easily create and maintain analytical models that are reliable and accurate. 

Additionally, the synchronization of data across all systems helps prevent discrepancies that can lead to errors or inconsistencies in the analysis.

6. Data Scalability

As HCLS companies grow and their data needs expand, it’s essential to have platforms that can scale to meet those demands. Snowflake’s cloud-based architecture provides virtually unlimited storage and compute resources, allowing for seamless scalability. 

Additionally, Sigma’s cloud-native architecture provides the flexibility to add resources on-demand, making it easier for HCLS companies to scale their data analytics operations as needed.

7. Data Democratization

Data democratization refers to the process of making data accessible and understandable to a wider range of people within an organization, regardless of their technical expertise or job function. Sigma removes barriers for individuals by offering self-service exploratory analytics, allowing users to access and analyze data on their own. 

Sigma’s user-friendly interface and intuitive features make it easy for even non-technical staff members to navigate and answer their own questions, reducing the burden on data teams and empowering all employees to make data-driven decisions. This not only leads to better decision-making but also improves the overall efficiency of the organization.

8. Collaboration

Collaboration in HCLS analytics can involve different teams and stakeholders, such as medical professionals, administrators, and data analysts, who work together to analyze and interpret data to improve patient care, reduce costs, and enhance operational efficiency. 

With Sigma and Snowflake, HCLS companies can use shared workspaces to create a collaborative environment where teams can work together on the same data sets in real-time, share insights, and make data-driven decisions. 

Collaborative dashboards, on the other hand, enable different teams to view and interact with the same data visualizations, charts, and graphs, promoting cross-functional collaboration and reducing the risk of miscommunication or data silos. 

In addition, Sigma’s collaborative features also allow users to leave comments and feedback on specific data points, collaborate on queries, and send analyses to other team members. By using these collaboration features, HCLS companies can foster a culture of data-driven decision-making and drive better health outcomes.

9. Data Fluency

Making good data decisions is not only about access and collaboration but also Data Fluency. Data Fluency is the ability to read, understand, and effectively work with data, involving both technical skills and critical thinking. It allows individuals to comprehend the significance of data, interpret it, and use it to make informed decisions. 

Additionally, Data Fluency encompasses effective communication of these data-driven insights. It enables employees in HCLS companies to work with data in a meaningful way, allowing them to understand the data they are working with, ask questions, and interpret the results. 

This not only enhances the decision-making process but also improves patient outcomes, reduces costs, and increases efficiency. Additionally, as regulatory requirements continue to evolve, data fluency has become a critical component of compliance and risk management.

10. Being Cost-Effective

One of the primary reasons why Sigma and Snowflake are gaining popularity in the HCLS sector is their cost-effective pricing models. This is particularly important for companies that may have limited budgets or are looking to optimize their spending. 

Sigma and Snowflake help organizations save money by providing precise and transparent pricing and tools to monitor costs. Another often overlooked money saver is the ease at which users can be skilled up and managed on both platforms. Organizations will be able to better invest that money by not needing to provide specialized ongoing training or needing a large team to manage the systems. 

By leveraging these platforms, HCLS companies can benefit from the latest data analytics capabilities without having to worry about overspending.

Example Customer Stories

A Pharmaceutical Company Streamlines Drug Development

A global pharmaceutical company was struggling with data management and analysis during its drug development process. By implementing Sigma and Snowflake, the company was able to consolidate data from various sources, enabling researchers to analyze clinical trial results more efficiently. 

Real-time analytics allowed the company to make timely decisions, ultimately accelerating the drug development process and bringing life-saving medications to market faster.

A Hospital Improves Patient Care Through Data-Driven Insights

A large hospital was facing challenges in managing and analyzing data from its electronic health records (EHR) system. They turned to Sigma and Snowflake to integrate data from multiple systems and improve their data analysis capabilities. 

With real-time analytics, hospital staff could quickly identify trends in patient care, leading to more informed decisions and improved patient outcomes. 

Additionally, the hospital was able to maintain compliance with HIPAA and other regulations, ensuring the security and privacy of patient information.

A Medical Device Manufacturer Enhances Quality Control

A medical device manufacturer faced challenges in monitoring and analyzing quality control data from their production facilities. By adopting Sigma and Snowflake, the company was able to bring together data from various sources, allowing them to identify inconsistencies and potential production issues in real-time. 

As a result, the company improved its quality control processes, reducing the risk of faulty devices reaching the market and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of its products.

How to Get Started with Sigma and Snowflake

Getting started with Sigma and Snowflake is easy. HCLS companies can sign up for free Sigma and Snowflake trials using the links below.

Snowflake trial
Sigma trial

Here are some additional resources for getting started in Sigma and Snowflake:


In conclusion, the HCLS industry faces numerous challenges when it comes to managing and analyzing data. From the complexity of data sources to security concerns to the need for real-time insights, HCLS companies require innovative solutions to tackle these issues and stay competitive. 

Sigma and Snowflake offer the right set of features that equip HCLS companies with the necessary tools to overcome these challenges and gain valuable insights into their operations. In this blog, we have explored the 10 most pressing data analytics challenges that HCLS companies face and demonstrated how Sigma and Snowflake can help overcome them. 

By harnessing the power of Sigma and Snowflake, HCLS companies can optimize their operations, improve patient outcomes, and drive their businesses forward. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your HCLS company harness the power of data analytics.

Data Coach is our premium analytics training program with one-on-one coaching from renowned experts.

Accelerate and automate your data projects with the phData Toolkit