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A cyclical approach to CRM technology selection

The customer engagement ecosystem within life science companies is undergoing significant changes following Veeva’s announcement to depart from the Salesforce platform and transition to their proprietary Vault CRM.

In a recent whitepaper, I delved into key players within the next-generation CRM platform domain. Although there remains a noticeable lack of information regarding certain puzzle pieces, this blog will explore an approach to assessing the optimal direction for CRM technologies, validated through testing across multiple customers.

The current dynamics compel commercial and IT teams to be creative in defining an appropriate framework for technology selection. In fact, the standard software evaluation approach proves inadequate as a substantial portion of data points remains unavailable. Veeva has announced concrete available modules and release dates, whereas Salesforce offers a date and a high-level scope description. IQVIA has not reacted to the market announcement with any OCE updates. Because of this, making a comprehensive data-driven decision becomes challenging. Nonetheless, time is of the essence, and companies cannot afford to remain stagnant.

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While conclusive decisions may not be achievable, we recommend initiating a cyclical evaluation process of the various solutions present in the market. This assessment should be performed on an ongoing basis and adapt to new information as it emerges. By adopting this approach, organizational alignment is enhanced, and blind spots are minimized. Additionally, it ensures companies are geared to make well-informed decisions when they have sufficient data points. Furthermore, it promotes a more agnostic and objective view on vendors, especially if companies have relationships with all three key players. Lastly, the cyclical approach includes multiple interactions with software providers, empowering companies to challenge the status quo.

The cyclical approach centers around five sequential steps that must be reiterated multiple times:

1. Define the aspects to be reviewed.

Exploring all conceivable aspects is essential; both business-related and IT-driven aspects. The objective is to achieve a holistic view, wherein aspects like the harmonization of business processes and code maintenance are equally analyzed.

2. Collect all insights available on a particular aspect.

After compiling an extensive list of aspects, the next step is to collect all insights available to the organization concerning these various aspects. Both primary and secondary research should be employed to gather data points. Given the dynamic nature of the environment, insights must be flagged based on their level of certainty. For instance, the information that Veeva will use Java as the coding language when transitioning to the Vault CRM platform is certain. On the other hand, since Salesforce has only provided high-level information about upcoming modules and functionality, this insight brings uncertain and should be flagged appropriately.

3. Assess the impact of these insights on the triple constraints.

Once all insights are collected and their level of certainty has been defined, it is essential to assess all data points for their impact on the triple constraint. Specifically, the reporting built on Salesforce may have varied impacts. If the company isn't utilizing it, the migration to the next-generation platform won't be affected in terms of cost, quality, and timeline. However, if there are numerous data quality reports, there might be an impact on both cost and timeline, but the quality of those reports remain unaffected. In the case of many field users reports, the impact could extend across all three aspects: cost, quality, and timeline.

4. Identify irrelevant insights for the organization and pinpoint knowledge gaps.

Following the impact analysis, the company needs to evaluate both data gaps and the relevance of the insights. If the company doesn't intend to prioritize placing the patient at the core of the technology ecosystem, the patient CRM modules and associated insights may lack relevance. In such cases, their significance should be flagged as minimal. It's advisable not to delete them outright, as their importance may evolve in subsequent iterations.

5. Engage with providers to get their counteraction on identified knowledge gaps.

Ultimately, the concluding step involves contacting the software vendors with specific inquiries to understand their plans and to reveal new information. Ideally, this proactive engagement can close existing gaps and potentially introduce new aspects for evaluation. Upon completing this fifth step, the organization can repeat the process. This iterative approach aims to enhance thoroughness and will help uncover new areas to explore with each iteration.

The ultimate goal of defining an appropriate framework for technology selection is to guarantee that companies adopt the most effective approach in defining next-generation platforms. Given the typically extensive lifespan of systems in the life sciences industry (sometimes spanning a decade), it becomes crucial to thoroughly evaluate and analyze all components and their impact.

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in how we can deploy a similar solution tailored to your needs, reach out to Luca Morreale. We are happy to guide you on your journey.


Luca Morreale

Vice President, Head of Customer Engagement

Content Hub

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