Content Management – More than a Document Management Solution
Veeva Systems Inc. applications are distinguishable from current market offerings because they provide solutions based on continuous innovation for content management, not just document management. Their applications are built specifically for the life-sciences industry. Veeva Systems Inc. claims Veeva Vault to be the only content management platform with the unique capability to manage both content and data.
Their products focus on collaboration and easy-to-adjust workflow settings with the ability to add new participants in real-time. They combine objects, documents and corresponding lifecycle status to enable organisations in the Pharmaceutical, Life-sciences and Medtech industries to stay ahead of the curve. As the company states: “Our solutions are designed to help life sciences companies develop and bring products to market faster and more efficiently, market and sell more effectively, and maintain compliance with government regulations.”. Moreover, Veeva applications are truly software as a service (SaaS) with all the pros and challenges of SaaS.
SaaS and the cloud mindset
Veeva Systems is committed to innovation and product excellence, and they are very much focused on the future. The cloud mindset, with frequent updates, is well present, and the implementation teams live by agile principles.
Veeva’s cloud solution approach reduces the IT burden for Life-sciences companies so they can focus on what really matters. Despite this, every release brings forward a certain amount of overhead, including impact assessment, documentation, approvals, and testing. With new general releases every 4 months, it is essential to define a process that manages the release cycle while still ensuring QA and instilling confidence in the users. It is important to consider test automation and to leverage the tools provided by Veeva (release notes, pre-release sandbox and validation artefacts).
History of the company
Veeva Systems Inc. was founded in 2007 by Peter Gassner and Matt Wallach, in a kind of “spinoff” from salesforce.com. With strong experience in relational databases, they witnessed the promise of cloud software while at Salesforce and saw an opportunity in the differences (and challenges) of the Pharmaceutical industry. Based on that, they built Veeva CRM on Salesforce’s platform.
Veeva’s business really began to take off after the iPad was introduced in 2010 and all pharma representatives started heavily using it.
The new, motivated Veeva team, started then developing their own platform – Veeva Vault – and a suite of applications for the Life-sciences industry to run their operations in terms of product development, compliance, and commercialization of new products.
Today, Veeva Systems Inc. is a leader in cloud-based software for the global life sciences industry, with close to 1000 clients – ranging from the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to emerging biotechs. At the end of 2019, Veeva’s top 10 customers accounted for 36% of their total revenues. Veeva Systems shares (NYSE: VEEV) have skyrocketed 1000% in the last five years.
Veeva is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices on the East Coast as well as in Europe, Asia and Latin America. It became a public benefit corporation in 2021. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Veeva is committed to balancing the interests of all stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders and the industries it serves.
Veeva offers a suite of cloud applications (pre-configured solutions having as base the Veeva Vault platform), specially built for life sciences, covering from R&D and Clinical to Commercial, aiming at “bringing new medicines and treatments to patients faster”.
All Vault applications are built on the same core platform, and so integration between the different applications is seamless: companies gain additional efficiency and compliance through the streamlined flow of documents across regions and departments. By implementing several applications, content can stay accessible, current, and in context across the development and commercial lifecycle.
On top of that, they offer customer and product master data sets.
They also still offer Veeva CRM, their first application, running on the Salesforce1 platform. The two companies have a global partnership (agreement though 2025) and acknowledged that they deliver more effective customer interactions to life sciences customers together. The partnership was also strengthened through the integration of Salesforce Service Cloud and Veeva Vault.
Veeva also offers a next-generation commercial data warehouse (Veeva Nitro) and an AI application (Veeva Andi).
For a complete list of Veeva Vault applications please visit the official Veeva website.
Success factors in a Veeva Vault implementation
There are certain challenges in large transformations. Moving to Veeva Vault and its cloud applications requires a dedicated team that is prepared for those challenges and tackles them from the start.
Embracing the cloud mindset:
- Is your organization ready for new releases every 3 months? Do they see it with the excitement of new improved features or with fear that it can break the current processes and that re-training end users will be required?
- Your team will need to monitor and prepare in advance for the next releases, i.e., check the release notes, perform an impact assessment and decide if a new feature should be kept turned off or when is the ideal timing to activate the new feature, use the pre-release sandbox provided by Veeva and all the artefacts (e.g., validation documents) to define user acceptance testing needs and execute testing, etc.
- Having a tool that supports automatic testing becomes essential to go through the updates with minimum effort with the confidence that all test scenarios have been executed successfully.
- Companies can eliminate the system, site, and country silos and streamline end-to-end processes by adopting the Veeva Vault applications globally.
- Streamlining end-to-end processes is not an easy task, but the first step starts with establishing a flexible change management effort to develop and embrace, at a minimum, new standards and terminology.
- Avoid focusing too much on the “As Is” or starting the design in a system-agnostic way and use the Vault application as an integral part of the process design activity to encourage new ways of working.
- What information to migrate and which part will be stored in legacy systems? How important is the historical data to be accessible in the new system? Sometimes it is not worth it, sometimes just not feasible to migrate old submission data, dossiers, for example.
- Establishing guidelines and principles on what to migrate, what to replicate and what to keep only in the legacy records is essential. How much data and documents could potentially be migrated? Assessing the as-is data, identifying data owners and later doing the data cleansing, enrichment and migration require a lot of effort. Powerful tools with OCR and AI may be considered to automate some of the tasks, for example, to classify documents into document types, auto-attribution and de-duplication.
- The selection and implementation of these tools are time-consuming. So, our advice is to start thinking about data cleansing, enrichment and migration, defining principles and assessing the data to be migrated, as soon as possible.
Our team has experience in the global harmonisation of regulatory and clinical processes as well as the design and implementation of Veeva Vault applications. We are keenly following the development of Veeva’s products and helping our clients through their transformation journey.
If you would like to know more or need help with your transformation program, get in touch!