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Company offers to significantly undercut the pricing of sales force automation competitors
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.