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William Leister, Senior Vice President, Advanced Analytics and Platforms





Business Challenge

Pfizer took on the COVID-19 pandemic this past year. This crisis required scientists, engineers and data analytics professionals to work together to address this challenge. Although designing and developing the vaccine was a huge accomplishment, we also faced logistical challenges with manufacturing and distributing hundreds of millions of doses as quickly as possible. We needed analytics to make processes more efficient, to ensure quality and safety of every dose and to provide timely information to the people who are depending on it.

Analytics Solution

The solution started with our analytics team (AD&L) ingesting COVID-19 data from our manufacturing, laboratory and ERP systems into a data lake. This data lake enabled data scientists to perform analysis on every step of the process. It enabled us to create data products and dashboards to support the vaccine processes from manufacturing and quality approval through inventory and final delivery. It also became a central repository for sharing information with external partners and governments. This solution helped all our internal teams process enormous amounts of complex and rapidly changing data.


The COVID-19 vaccine and the analytical efforts associated with it have had a huge impact at Pfizer. One of the most impressive metrics was that as of March 2021 over 100 million doses have been shipped in the U.S. As for our analytics department, the new sense of urgency resulted in our agile teams improving our sprint velocity in 2020.

Pfizer’s purpose is to achieve “Breakthroughs that change people’s lives.” The COVID vaccine program has certainly fulfilled that purpose. It has changed our company. It has filled our employees with pride. It has proven that hard work, determination and teamwork can accomplish great things. And of course, the vaccine has not only impacted Pfizer; it has truly impacted the entire world.