Digital solutions from Veeva’s European Commercial & Medical Summit

pharmafile | January 17, 2018 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical, veeva 

When Peter Gassner, CEO and founder of Veeva, provided the keynote speech at the company’s European Commercial & Medical Summit, he captured a key theme running through the event by touching upon the way digital is transforming everyday life and, with it, the industry that is motivated to ensure that we live longer, healthier lives.

He commented: “We’re all digital customers – we use Amazon, we use Booking.com and many other digital channels in our everyday lives. We know what customers want because we know what we want. We want digital that’s easy and personal, that’s fast and relevant. When digital is fast, easy and relevant, we do it more – it’s just that simple.”

Gassner’s analysis makes the adoption of a digital approach seem the common sense option, and yet this hasn’t been the case in life sciences. The industry’s hesitancy to jump head first into digital innovations has been commented on so many times that it now feels redundant. After all, most within the industry know the major reasons behind this caution are rooted within common sense.

Pharma is a veteran industry compared to the tech upstarts that are revolutionising modern life, and with that comes caution about moving too fast, too early.

Instead, pharma has taken steps to gradually introduce more elements of digital into its approach. Social media is an obvious example, as are the development of apps related to particular therapies, with most companies in the space ensuring that they use Twitter, and even rolling out region-specific accounts. It’s been a slow process and the reason for this is of considerable importance for the industry: compliance.

This is where Veeva helps its customers to address critically important compliance issues. Speaking on Veeva CRM Engage Webinar, Paul Shawah, Veeva Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy, said: “This is for virtual events, which is the second-biggest area for promotional spend for a life sciences company. Companies do a lot of physical events, and doing a virtual event is a much more efficient way of doing it – you break down the geographical barriers that are limiting when people are physically too far away.”

It’s clear that Veeva is thinking expansively when it comes to the role that its Veeva CRM Engage product family can provide, especially on two points that Shawah makes: the amount of spend that life sciences companies allocate for events, and the geographical challenges of physical events.

The two are the key advantages of digital, offering Veeva its own commercial advantage when it comes to marketing its products. If Veeva can offer a product in Veeva CRM Engage Webinar that is demonstrably shown as effective in reaching HCPs, then pharma can supplement it alongside physical events whilst curtailing those in less effective, less subscribed areas, allowing the company’s money to stretch further.

Naomi O’Connell, Shire’s Head of Advertising & Promotion, Global Operations, admitted that the digitisation process needs to improve throughout the biopharma industry: “Digital transformation is definitely happening but it’s happening at a slower pace than in other industries. We are working to catch up – I think that’s where technological solutions such as Veeva do greatly help, but we still need further advances to best tackle the issue.”

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