Veeva introduces CRM for Windows 8, protected e-mail service and a bid for master-data management

Annual customer user meeting is the forum for product rollouts

Veeva (Pleasanton, CA), which originated the popular cloud-based CRM and iRep platforms for life sciences field sales forces several years ago, has upped the ante with its rollout of a set of new products and business services, announced at its annual users group meeting (Philadelphia, May 6-8).

There is Approved Email, currently in a pre-launch phase, but now with a major clients, Giant Healthcare Advertising and DraftFCB, two healthcare advertising agencies that will enable pharma reps to send email directly to healthcare practitioners (a practice that the pharma industry has shied away from for fear that unapproved or unauthorized messaging could occur, violating FDA marketing rules). Approved Email is set to be launched later this year.

There is also a Windows 8 version of Veeva CRM, also set for launch in late 2013. Veeva has enjoyed spectacular growth with its cloud-based platforms readily adapted to use on the Apple iPad, but with the introduction of Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface tablet, pharma companies are now looking at Windows platforms as an easier, “single device” method to support both field sales and back-office functions.

The third announcement, Veeva Network, could be the most disruptive of existing relationships in pharma marketing services. Network will be a combination of data-management software and database delivery and maintenance for the lists of healthcare provider clients that all pharma companies maintain. Veeva says that it is building software applications, and plans for an acquisition in the master-data services sector, to get this rolling.

But it is also counting on a type of crowd-sourced support: shared contact information from among its pharma clients. “We already have 55 million provider records in our system,” notes Dan Goldsmith, GM at Veeva. “With client permission, we will be able to merge these records and provide the best available master data.” Goldsmith says that preliminary discussions with Veeva clients, rather than signaling caution in this collaboration, have encouraged Veeva to go forward as fast as possible. “The industry wants this,” he says. Databases for the US and China will be the first to appear (an acquisition has already been made in China).

Such an industry-wide master database will be a threat to the business that the American Medical Assn. has for its practitioner databases, which is licensed in turn to a dozen or so private companies. There are additional companies, including SK&A, a Cegedim Company, MedPro, MMS, Healthcare Data Solutions and others, that produce their own master database or combine their efforts with the AMA database Just this week, Health Market Science, which markets the Healthcare Provider MasterFile, announced enhanced, daily or weekly updates to its service.

All this work, in turn, feeds into preparations the life sciences industry is making for federal aggregate-spend reporting on expenditures to providers. The first reporting to CMS is due later this year, and some companies are already making selected data public.