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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: CRM and Cloud Computing Innovations for the Life Sciences Industry with Matt Wallach, Veeva Systems

October 23, 2012 2 Comments

Cloud Computing CRM implementations are reasonably new to the life sciences industry.

In the below interview, Matt Wallach from Veeva Systems outlines ways in which CRM and Cloud Computing have helped the life sciences industry to grow and evolve, and discusses how content management can help life sciences take the next big leap into cloud technology.

  • Q. How do you see CRM and Cloud Computing as having evolved within the Life Sciences industry over the last 10 years?

A. Five years ago, there were literally zero cloud computing CRM implementations in the life sciences industry. The leading CRM systems were built on massive client/server platforms that, while effective at the time, had become too inflexible to support the rapidly changing needs of pharmaceutical companies of all sizes. Today, all new CRM deployments are in the cloud. Adoption of cloud technology has gone from 0 to 100% in five years…an unprecedented technology adoption cycle in any industry but especially for the life sciences industry. Even still, there are some technology providers that try to label their offerings as ‘in the cloud’ but true cloud-based systems today are multitenant – this is the key to achieving the well-known massive economies of scale that enable all of the signature cloud benefits like cost savings, flexibility, scalability, low-maintenance, fast implementation, and easy upgrades.

  • Q. Given that CRM is fully saturated in the cloud, what are some of the others areas that will be next for the cloud technology in life sciences?

A. Two areas stand out: 1) Clinical Trials Management and 2) Content Management. In clinical trials management and support, there has already been some solid market penetration with companies like Medidata Solutions, based in Conshohocken, PA. Medidata has introduced their Clinical Trial Cloud concept to major life sciences companies including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Roche, Wyeth and more. Through its collection of clinical trials applications, Medidata works with life sciences companies to optimize clinical trials from concept to conclusion – beginning with protocol design, through execution and management of the trial, to conclusion. All of their solutions are cloud-based. Most recently, Veeva partnered with Medidata to bring customers a comprehensive cloud-based clinical trials support solution that includes management of all clinical trial documentation.

The second area where the cloud is already making an impact is in content management. Cloud technology offers the perfect solution to the content management challenges most life sciences companies have been frustrated with for the past few years such as the inability to efficiently collaborate on documents with external partners and affiliates. A central content repository in the cloud enables secure, yet easy access to all documents for efficient sharing globally. And, cloud-based content management applications can be built to support content needs from end to end – from content that goes into a submission for a new drug to the marketing materials that pharmaceutical companies use to promote that drug; from research documents to clinical trial documents needed to commercialization the drug. At Veeva, we created a complete, end-to-end content management application in the cloud. Veeva Vault is the only complete suite of business process-specific, life sciences content management applications in the cloud. Each integrated business application in Vault addresses the specific needs of a major business area within a life sciences organization including research and development, clinical trials, marketing and sales, manufacturing and medical communications.

  • Q. How can Veeva Vault help facilitate the transition to better content management within Life Sciences? Can you give us an example of how this has been successfully implemented?

A. It all starts with the end user experience. Companies don’t buy Vault because it’s delivered in the cloud…they buy it because it provides a better experience for their knowledge workers. One specific example is a pharmaceutical company that bought Veeva Vault’s Quality application to store, manage and disseminate all of its SOPs such as validation documents, quality specifications, safety protocols, training manuals – any documentation of processes that needs to be consistently repeated or where quality must be highly controlled. And this was enterprise-wide. Vault Quality has given this Fortune 1000 company a web-based system that is very easy to distribute to its global workforce without having to worry about installing software on individual machines or giving out VPNs. Everyone has secure access. And, it enables total GxP compliance with a clear, auditable chain of custody that is easily tracked from beginning to distribution.

  • Q. Veeva Systems has been the leader in cloud CRM for the Life Sciences industry for several years. How do you plan to be as successful in Content Management?

A. Ironically, the life sciences content management market today looks just like the Pharma CRM market did five years ago so the ingredients for success are already there. Many content management vendors have already been acquired, and the leading platforms are now antiquated and inflexible…still built on client/server technologies. Life sciences customers are, once again, highly dissatisfied with the performance of these applications and so want something totally new, something innovative that will improve global collaboration which is essential in today’s world.

So, Veeva is investing very heavily in people and products (like Veeva Vault) that will solve these content management challenges cost-efficiently. We are very focused on building out best-in-class applications in each area like clinical trials, quality, R&D, and promotional materials management. Like our CRM solution, we don’t expect people to buy Vault just because it’s a cloud computing solution. We expect people to buy it because it is the best in its area; provides the best performance with the best functionality for the best result.

We are focused on customer success and are building our company up with staff that puts the success of our customers ahead of their careers. This is the ticket – people and products that are both the best in the business.

Matt Wallach
Executive Vice President & General Manager
Veeva Systems

Matt Wallach has over a decade of product management, marketing, and general management experience in both traditional enterprise software and Software as a Service (SaaS). In 2007, Matt was named to the PharmaVOICE 100 , which recognizes the 100 most influential people in the life sciences industry and has been published numerous times over the years in various industry trade magazines including CRM Magazine, Pharmaceutical Executive, Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Representative, PharmaVOICE, and Med Ad News.

Matt is currently Executive Vice President & General Manager at Veeva Systems , which delivers SaaS CRM applications built on cloud computing model to the life sciences industry. Since the company’s inception, he has helped it grow into the leading SaaS CRM provider in the market with six of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies as clients. Previously, he was Chief Marketing Officer at Health Market Science, a leading healthcare data services company. Matt also spent six years at Siebel Systems, where he was the General Manager of the Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology division. Almost half of the pharmaceutical sales reps in the world use the products created during his tenure at Siebel.

Matt received his MBA from the Harvard Business School and his BA in Economics from Yale University.

2 Comments to “IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: CRM and Cloud Computing Innovations for the Life Sciences Industry with Matt Wallach, Veeva Systems”
  1. […] adoption cycle in any industry but especially for the life sciences industry,” says Matt Wallach in a recent interview with IT Briefcase. And companies, knowing how lucrative the cloud can be, have coined all kinds of confusing terms to […]

  2. Brad H. says:

    I’m happy with what Veeva is doing to try to streamline the life sciences industry. It’s one industry that definitely could use a cost effective solution which will hopefully be able to allow those companies to bring down the cost of their medical products in the long run. Here’s to hoping.

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