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SaaS In The Pharmaceutical Industry

I came across an interesting article the other day and I am going to share it over two blog posts. The article was written in PharmaVOICE and was titled Software as a Service Gaining Traction. This article documents the comments of thought leaders in the pharmaceutical industry concerning the adoption of SaaS by pharmaceutical companies. The complete article can be found at My blog post will document what I believe are the most relevant and thought provoking comments.

THOUGHT LEADERS who Participated Ken Arbadji. VP, StayinFront, a global provider of CRM and decision-support solutions. For more information, visit ­ Leila Daiuto. Sales Director, Axentis, a part of ARC Logics, a Wolters Kluwer ­business, which provides governance, risk, and ­compliance management software. For more information, visit Jamie Duke. Chief Operating Officer, SciQuest Inc., which provides global ­procurement automation and supplier enablement solutions. For more ­information, visit Dominic John. Director of Software ­Marketing, Symyx Technologies Inc., a provider of software solutions for the ­electronic laboratory environment that ­transform scientific R&D. For more ­information, visit DeWayne Manning, R.Ph. President, DiseaseTrak, a specialty healthcare ­services company that creates and ­manages patient management solutions. For more information, visit Ken Parmelee. Director of Application Development, Antenna Software, which enables organizations to design, build, deploy, and manage secure mobile ­applications. For more information, visit Jo Ann Saitta. Senior VP, PDI Inc., which ­provides commercialization services for ­established and emerging ­biopharmaceutical companies. For more ­information, visit Nagaraja Srivatsan. VP and Head of Life Sciences, North America, Cognizant, which offers IT, consulting, analytics, and business process outsourcing services to global pharma, biotech, and medical-device companies. For more ­information, visit Matt Wallach. Executive VP and General Manager, Veeva Systems, which develops SaaS applications for the global life-sciences ­industry. For more information, visit ­ Steve Webb. Chairman, Interactive Medica, which supplies SaaS applications to the life-sciences industry. For more information, visit Mike Wexler. Founding Principal, Biltmore Technologies Inc., which offers SaaS business intelligence solutions and technology consulting to sales and marketing divisions of pharmaceutical and biotech companies. For more information, visit or e-mail

General statistics

  • According to a Gartner study SaaS is forecasted to grow at about 17.7% compound annual growth rate in 2013 for the aggregate enterprise application market, representing compound annual growth of 5 times the annual growth in the total application market of 3.6%.

  • Cost is always a factor in decision-making, although experts say the increasing uptake in software as a service in the pharmaceutical industry is all about flexibility.

  • According to Forrester Research overall software as a service is experiencing growth in up to 13 areas, including: archiving and E discovery, business intelligence, collaboration, CRM, digital asset management, enterprise content management, enterprise resource planning, human resources, online backup, supply chain management, web content management, and web conferencing.

  • According to industry sources SaaS is not yet pervasive in life sciences, but its growth is on the rise.

Overriding Industry Issues

  • Daiuto; AXENTIS. We estimate sales for software as a service will increase as more pharmaceutical companies realize the need to decrease internal IT costs and increase compliance with international federal and state regulators. Compliance has become an ideal area for software as a service because of the high level of scrutiny by the US government, the constantly changing laws and regulations, and the standard immediate responses often required and expected. Another hot issue, Pharma is managing risks in the extended enterprise – suppliers, contractors, and vendors. The software as a service model supports third-party risk management by providing an application to external users outside of the company’s firewall.

  • Jamie Duke; SciQuest. The proven ability of software as a service in CRM and sales will only accelerate the adoption of on-demand application in other areas. In many ways, software as a service is tailor-made for the pharmaceutical industry where most organizations operate numerous facilities in different geographies and rely on the ability to quickly and efficiently share information. There will be accelerated adoption in areas where software as a service providers can demonstrate their offerings deliver the same or better reliability and security than traditionally deployed software. Any type of CRM project or activity is usually first on the list. The proven ability of software as a service in these disciplines will only accelerate the adoption of on-demand applications in other areas, particularly as the pharmaceutical industry seeks to more effectively capitalize on its core strengths.

  • Wallach. VEEVA SYSTEMS. The use of software as a service in the pharmaceutical business is not purely being driven by the pressure to cut costs. This is only one reason why software as a service is becoming the dominant technology delivery method for the industry. In addition to allowing life science companies to cut IT costs, software as a service delivers the flexibility, usability, and the speed that the industry requires as its business requirements change rapidly. If the current trends continue at the same rate software as a service will be pervasive across the pharmaceutical landscape this year, specifically in the area of sales force automation and CRM.

  • Webb; INTERACTIVE MEDIA. At the moment, the situation of cost is not the biggest issue driving the trend in the pharmaceutical industry; is the need to adjust a company’s business to align with the particular customers it is serving. Cost comes into the decision-making process, but almost certainly the incentive stands much more from the ability to rapidly change the technology configuration. This works well for marketing and sales worlds that are all about constant change and the need to respond to opportunities. We find that the marketing and CRM areas are adopting software as a service more rapidly than any other area. A traditional client/server-based application struggles to support the new complex, selling environment. Most clients are having a difficult time trying to keep their current application up to speed so that it will enable them to support new business processes.

  • John; SYMYX. People typically look at software as a service as an opportunity to save money; however, our research shows the number one reason scientists specially want software as a service is to support better collaboration with outsourcing parties and partners. Sitting outside a firewall, yet still having instant access, allows communities of researchers to capture and share software information and workflows in a straightforward, secure, and efficient manner. In addition software as a service applications increase an organization’s technical and business agility.

  • Manning; Diseasetrak. Many times the first benefit organizations hear about is the cost savings. Many other benefits exist within the solutions that are often afterthoughts. They need to be equally weighed in making a decision as to the best solution that fits a pharmaceutical company’s needs. Some of these include speed implementation, ongoing product enhancements, legal or technical compliance with ever-changing regulation, and finally access to a much larger system that allows for potential growth without reinvestment and new solutions. Many software as a service solutions can be implemented in less than 45 days without extensive rework and customization of the in-house solution.

  • Leila Daiuto; Axentis. Compliance has become an ideal area for software as a service

  • Saitta. PDI. If I were a betting woman, I would say the use of software as a service in the pharmaceutical industry will double. There will be growth in the sales and marketing area for sure, because software as a service for those functions is the most mature right now.

About the Author

John McGee is the founder of OptifiNow. OptifiNow is an industry leader in SaaS based solutions designed to optimize the effectiveness of the sales force. Although OptifiNow’s platform is modular in design, it offers a fully integrated solution that allows a company to define and automate a company-specific benchmark sales processes and provide all the required tools including Lead Management, CRM, and Sales Enablement, all designed by and tailored for use by the sales force. OptifiNow enables multi-channel timely, relevant, brand and regulatory compliant communication. OptifiNow supports Direct Mail, Email, Digital Print, SMS, Social, and Telephonic channels of communication.


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