Weathering the Compliance Storm - Pharmaceutical Executive


Weathering the Compliance Storm

Pharmaceutical Executive

Technology That's Built for Change

Arguably the greatest weapon in life sciences sales reps' arsenal is the CRM system itself. But in order for it to make a serious impact, it must be designed to change on a dime. As reps' jobs change, as their organizations change, as their territories change, as the products they detail change, and as regulations change, the CRM system must change, too. Even as sales teams splinter into smaller specialty teams—managed markets account executives, hospital account sales, key opinion leader managers—they will need a system that can adapt to the many different functions of the modern-day pharmaceutical sales professional.

Unfortunately, most CRM systems currently on the market are not built for change. Most are client/server relics. Trying to add new functionality, realign territories, modify regulatory reports—or make any other changes to these systems—is like trying to move a mountain with a wheelbarrow. It takes too long, requires too much effort, and costs too much. And when it comes to compliance, by the time you finally complete a change, chances are it's already obsolete.

By contrast, multi-tenant SaaS CRM applications release new features and functionality to their customers every few months. If federal regulations or guidelines change tomorrow, SaaS CRM users will be prepared to comply well ahead of impending deadlines without having to suffer through the traditional upgrade process. Mobile users also benefit: Because all upgrades are pushed to customers via the Web, mobile devices are upgraded seamlessly when users sync—it takes mere seconds.

Only SaaS CRM applications based on the cloud-computing model are uniquely designed to be able to change as frequently as regulations change. Applications running in the cloud allow for instant, behind-the-scenes upgrades for their customers. System changes necessary to support regulatory compliance requirements can be made and pushed out to customers through these regular, free upgrades.

However, buyer beware: not all SaaS systems are created equal. The tremendous marketing efforts to brand "SaaS" and "in the cloud" have made these terms table stakes for all vendors. As a result, some software providers are abusing the terminology. In reality, many of these products are just cleverly disguised as SaaS, but in reality are shackled by all the same costs and limitations as outdated client/server and hosted solutions. Be sure that your system is multi-tenant to strengthen your sales team with the full power of SaaS technology.

Matt Wallach is executive vice president and general manager of Veeva Systems. He can be reached at


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