return on investment
annual savings
improvement in reporting efficiency

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines. As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology, and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of $32.8 billion in 2009. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $14.8 billion healthcare business.

“The ROI for Veeva CRM at AstraZeneca was 29% with a cost savings of 30% annually. You can’t get much better than that.” John Pelkowski Senior Director Client Engagement, Medical Affairs

The Challenge

When AstraZeneca’s Medical Affairs team first started working with its custom-built, on-premise, .Net CRM system, it did the job. But over the years, the system’s functional limitations, elaborate maintenance requirements, and growing expenses had become intolerable. With the advancement of new technologies and the growing needs of AstraZeneca’s Medical Affairs team…changes were imminent.

“We needed richer reporting, planning, and management functionality plus the ability to easily collaborate with other AZ teams, partners, and outside resources,” said John Pelkowski, senior director client engagement, Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca.

In addition, the new system needed to demonstrate that it could help AstraZeneca to:

  • Decrease system maintenance effort and cost
  • Increase system flexibility and usability
  • Reduce time required to make changes
  • Increase scalability to easily add or remove users
  • Ease system collaboration with partners – internal and external
  • Improve user productivity and performance
  • Integrate easily with external data sources (e.g., customer master data)
  • Improve reporting efficiency to simplify the user experience
“With Veeva CRM, technology no longer gets in the way of progress but, rather, propels it rapidly forward.”

The Search

AstraZeneca knew it would be a tremendous challenge to find a solution that met all of its criteria so the company began an extensive vendor analysis, evaluating both client/server (on-premise) and SaaS (cloud) options. Over five months, a committee of AstraZeneca managers, users, and technology staff reviewed demonstrations from multiple CRM vendors, including Veeva Systems. Using a comprehensive scoring system, each offering was awarded point values based on set criteria. Veeva CRM scored highest, and AstraZeneca commenced with a proof-of-concept to prove the solution. Upon conclusion of the POC and another structured review of the concept solution, AstraZeneca selected Veeva CRM.

The Implementation

While it took eight months to select Veeva CRM, it took less than three to implement the system to the medical scientific liaisons at AstraZeneca US. “It is remarkable how smoothly the implementation went – especially considering that this was the first time we implemented a system ‘in the cloud’ and with our dependence on outside resources to design the integration with external data sources,” said Pelkowski.

“Even more impressive, is that we implemented Veeva CRM on time (nailing the target date), and under budget (by 10%) despite the fact that we expanded the scope of the project along the way,” added Pelkowski. “I can’t remember a project of this scale coming in under budget before.”

According to AstraZeneca user reports, Veeva CRM is error-free. “Since Day 1, the application just works. With a system of this scale, there can be application errors and bugs that have to be fixed post launch but we didn’t have that with Veeva. There have been zero bugs to date,” reported Kevin Krause, senior director of medical affairs strategy & operations.

The Results

Veeva CRM met all of AstraZeneca’s system criteria…and then some.

Pelkowski estimates a return on investment of 29%, saving the pharmaceutical leader 30% annually. “Veeva’s cloud model is just plain smart, and represents a huge leap forward in the overall economic structure of modern system technology. For example, I was able to take the budget used just to maintain our old system to pay for the entire Veeva CRM roll-out AND the first year’s pro-rated subscription. Without asking for new funding, I deployed a new application with far greater functionality and flexibility…for less money. That’s huge.”

Veeva CRM’s cloud computing model and multi-tenant SaaS architecture saved AstraZeneca from having to purchase new infrastructure or investing in ongoing system maintenance. Applications “in the cloud” leverage massive economies of scale so companies benefit from world-class hardware, software, and support without paying for it. Veeva CRM is built on the Force.com platform, providing enterprise-class scalability, performance, and reliability.

In addition to cost savings, Veeva CRM has proven to be extremely intuitive and easy to use. “We provided users with just one online training session yet it has been extremely quiet post-launch. We never skipped a beat – there wasn’t even a dip in usage the first week of use,” said Krause. System user, Jamie Hurst, an MSL for AstraZeneca, added “The Veeva tool is excellent. To have our customer interaction objectives aligned to our team’s strategic objectives gives users insight into what matters most to leadership and we can see it via the real-time dashboard in the same fashion as our managers. Veeva is the first big step to incorporating strategic objectives that are most important to our customers and our organization into day-to-day planning.”

According to AstraZeneca, management has also been extremely satisfied with Veeva CRM, particularly the 89% improvement in reporting efficiency. Instead of 118 reports to review, now there are just 25. Plus, managers have immediate dashboard access to always up-to-date performance data.

Veeva CRM allows AstraZeneca to make changes as often as needed (changes that used to take up to six weeks, now take less than 20 minutes). AstraZeneca also benefits from Veeva’s nonstop innovation with transparent system upgrades that are automatically delivered every 120 days for continuous performance enhancement.

“Our CRM system will never go stale with this level of support,” said Krause.

The Benefits

Since going live, AstraZeneca’s new Veeva CRM system has delivered

  • Outstanding flexibility to adjust for any changes
  • Limitless scalability to accommodate growth
  • Better annual cost management with flexible unit-based cost model
  • Advanced customer insight functionality for brand team communication and analysis
  • Annual cost saving of 30%
  • Increased reporting efficiency by 89%
  • Seamless collaboration and information integration with partners
  • Easy integration with clinical trials data
  • Increased usability with relevant, MSL-specific functionality
  • Improved performance with real-time performance dashboards
  • Time-savings for both the field and management
  • Cost-efficiency with a low total cost of ownership and high ROI

“Veeva’s model is a genuine breakthrough,” concluded Pelkowski. “It allows technology to serve as a true facilitator of business – enabling the business to focus on improving processes, people, and products as opposed to focusing on the tool itself. It frees up management and enhances productivity. With Veeva CRM, technology no longer gets in the way of progress but, rather, propels it rapidly forward.”

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