There are multiple CRM solutions for managing salesforce activity in life sciences, but two of the dominant players are Veeva CRM, and the Mobile Intelligence solution that started with a company called Dendrite, and now through multiple acquisitions and mergers is part of the QuintilesIMS. Veeva, with its Vault cloud-based offering that can merge commercial and clinical data, is bidding to be an cloud-based, enterprise-IT platform for a host of life sciences applications; QuintilesIMS, with its vast array of commercial data (mostly from IMS) and clinical expertise (mostly from Quintiles), is offering a similar proposition. This IT consolidation creates an opportunity, says Tom Buckley, CEO of salesforce-automation (SFA) vendor StayInFront, for pharma clients who don’t want such broad-based enterprise offerings to stick with a vendor focused on SFA alone. A big attraction: for a “robust” SFA solution, clients can pay half or less what the other vendors are charging, he says.
In truth, StayInFront is not a pure-play life sciences SFA vendor. On the business side, a significant portion of its revenue comes from consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients; on the technology side, it has recently been expanding its offerings in business intelligence, through an acquisition last summer of a Canadian BI firm, GHI Technologies (now known as StayInFront Canada); a tailored pharmaBI application is now available. Finally, a sister company of StayInFront, Redi-Direct, is a widely used provider of master data-management (MDM) demographic information on healthcare providers; Redi-Direct is a licensee of the AMA Database, one of the key sources of this information.
Buckley says that the needs of pharma companies don’t necessarily align with where StayInFront competitors are going; in particular, the multitenant cloud-based architecture that Veeva aggressively promotes. “Not all pharma companies necessarily want to update their SFA platform at the same time, which a multitenant architecture requires; in addition, data-privacy and security issues are a concern.” He adds that StayInFront can cut client costs by being flexible on what parts of the IT platform are in the cloud, and which are on-premise, citing the use of a “sandbox” (where testing and configuration is typically performed by an in-house IT department at a client)—something that doesn’t need to be supported with a cloud-based platform.
In the near future, StayInFront will be offering a content-management system that competes against Veeva Vault, where promotional materials, pre-approved emails and the like can be stored and uploaded by field reps. Some part of StayInFront’s messaging must be resonating: Buckley says that the company has seen double-digit growth in the past two years, and has recently opened a field office in Shanghai, China.