Torchbearer of Innovations for the Life Sciences Industry
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Torchbearer of Innovations for the Life Sciences Industry

By Matt Wallach, President, Veeva Systems

Matt Wallach, President, Veeva Systems

When Matt Wallach and Peter Gassner set out to found Veeva Systems in 2007, they were subject to a substantial amount of skepticism. Fast-forward 12 years, the duo today helms the company as its proud President, and CEO respectively, striving to broaden the scope of their vision for cloud-based software, for the global life sciences industry. Their Idea may have seemed Sisyphean, or even as absurd as the notion of a computer-manufacturing giant, building simplistic music players. Yet the world has witnessed how the iPod revolutionized the music industry. “At every step along the way, investors, board members, and other people outside the company were telling us we could not grow, or become big in terms of stock market value,” recalls Wallach. Yet, Veeva is in line to be the fifth enterprise software company to cross the “billion dollar in sales” mark. Evidently, Veeva has shown the enterprise sphere, that an ecosystem of purpose-built products can be a game-changer for the life sciences industry vertical.

"We can replace dozens of systems that companies use from different vendors, with applications that run on a single technology platform"

Life Sciences – An Industry Unlike any Other

At the time of Veeva’s inception, Salesforce, an early adopter of “as-a-service business model”, held the enterprise solutions spotlight with their revolutionary cloud-based CRM offering. The advent of cloud hosting, a stark divergence from the traditional client-server software model ushered in an era that enabled technology democratization, easy scalability, and immense reduction in operational overhead. Companies of all shapes and sizes, across several sectors, began to embrace and reap the benefits of the cloud. For, it broke the price, performance, and functionality matrix that the world had been used to before. Even one size fits all cloud solutions were flexible to satisfactory extends—a factor that fueled the widespread adoption of cloud technologies. Companies had either to customize their solutions in tune to their requirement or, to varying degrees, tweak their workflows around the cloud solution. Often times, the latter may not be as easy to implement as it sounds. Nonetheless, cloud has become the way to go for enterprises. However, having had rich experience working for prominent companies in the life sciences space who built client-server CRM solutions, Wallach and Gassner knew for a fact that the life sciences operations are inherently different from that of other industries, and that the architectures of generic CRM offerings wouldn’t align with how they do business. Wallach speculated that cloud-based solutions would, in time, trace the trajectory of client-server tech, and become more vertical-specific. And, this is the unique value proposition of Veeva.

In the generic, non-industry specific CRM systems, the main components are opportunities, leads, contacts and accounts. Companies get a lead with a contact who works at a specific account, and the goal is to turn that lead into an opportunity, and to turn that opportunity into an order. In pharma, there are no leads, opportunities or orders per se, and the fundamental customer is a person and also an account – as such, a single person can have a lot of accounts.“You have to manage customers that have many addresses, and that relate to other customers. Functions like drug sampling in itself demands a whole subset of functionalities. What will you do when you are dropping three drug samples in the doctor’s office? We have to do activity recording and calls have to be done in specific ways. Many companies resorting to other CRM offerings often have collision management systems to make sure they do not end up in the same office that their counterparts approached. We can’t do pharmaceutical sales processes with the normal model of a CRM system,” mentions Wallach.

Purpose-Built Product Ecosystem

The life sciences space may be categorized into two sections that operate mostly independently and differently: the commercial side, and the research and development side. Not to mention the fact that, pharmaceutical field reps need out of the box, mobile-friendly solutions. Adhering to the many regulations and compliance mandates that ties into any and all subsets of life science operations is another “like-no-other” requirement.

To these ends, Veeva Commercial Cloud, includes multichannel Veeva CRM for tailored customer interactions. Its various modules are capable of producing accurate reference data, facilitating faster territory alignments, simplifying commercial content and digital asset management, and even helps enterprises plan and execute events. The suite is a one-stop shop to drive multichannel engagement and compliant interactions with healthcare professionals. On the R&D front, the company delivers the Veeva Development Cloud that includes their robust Vault platform, encompassing 15 applications for clinical trial management, data management, quality management, regulatory submissions, and – it’s latest innovation – safety for pharmacovigilance. In effect, Veeva’s solutions for holistic data and transaction management, packaged into the platform gives it the potential to be the enterprise system of record for the life sciences industry.“We can replace dozens of systems that companies use from different vendors, with applications that run on a single technology platform,” adds Wallach. This give companies the unprecedented ability to seamlessly integrate all solutions that they may require from various vendors, which can drastically reduce IT spend and connect important functional teams across the enterprise to eliminate siloes and enable collaboration. “I always tell customers that it is good for Veeva if they buy our products, but it will be great for them because of the get incremental synergies they get with every purchase.”

"We have been totally focused on customer success as the product and service strategy, the way we hire, the culture, and pricing​"

Secret Sauce: Client-Centricity in Entirety

Veeva’s solutions can be implemented two to three times faster than their competitors’at half the cost. In their customers’ best interest, the company has a partner network of over 500 companies who provide training, compete with each other, and still work closely with both their mutual customers and Veeva (channelizing feedback, unmet needs, and market trends), to ultimately deliver on their every expectation. The result are products that continue to evolve to meet changing needs.

One customer success story best exemplifies Veeva’s indispensability. A multinational pharmaceutical entity’s operations in China were hurdled owing to the rigidity of the existing systems that they had in place, which Veeva’s CRM streamlined in a breeze. Impressed, the client signed up with the company to implement the CRM globally, which saved them tens of millions of dollars annually. Their relationship with Veeva did not end there. The company turned to Veeva’s R&D solutions and gradually began leveraging the Vault suite of products starting with Veeva Vault eTMF, then adopting Vault QMS and finally, to Vault RIM, Veeva’s cloud-based platform for regulatory information management. Recently, Veeva signed a multi-million dollar deal with this customer for implementing Veeva Vault CDMS—without even an RFP. Many companies in the industry today center their purchasing decisions and operations around Veeva’s stack – most recent numbers show Veeva has more than 750 customers globally.

“We have been totally focused on customer success as the product and service strategy, the way we hire, the culture, and pricing; all aimed at achieving long-term customer success,” adds Wallach. The company recently rolled out two new products in Veeva Commercial Cloud: Veeva Andi and Veeva Nitro, to continue catering to the evolving client requirements by putting to use the best of new and game-changing technology. Veeva Andi leverages the prowess of cutting-edge AI and machine learning technology to deliver proactive insights and real-time suggestions to drive intelligent engagements and decisions through Veeva CRM. Veeva Nitro is a next-gen commercial data warehouse solution built on an industry-specific data model with standard data connectors so customers can easily unify their many diverse data sources. Looking ahead, the company plans to incorporate AI tech into many of their offerings. “We have never been afraid to be different. There were very few companies that we could emulate along the way, so we didn’t have anyone to copy and we invented a lot of things and have innovated our business model. Our success is not an accident, but years of innovation, and the way that we choose which product to build next. This fearless spirit of boldly trying something first is core to our DNA,” concludes Wallach.

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