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Summing up Veeva European Commercial & Medical Summit

This year’s Veeva European Commercial & Medical Summit was our fifth annual conference, and it is growing each year. With more than 875 professionals from across the industry, I was delighted to meet many first time attendees and welcome back familiar faces, many of whom told us that the conference gets better every year.

One of the key reasons people come to Summit is networking. It’s an invaluable opportunity to meet peers, talk with industry experts, and get to know our Veeva team. Knowledge and best practice sharing were the motivations behind our first ever Summit, and each year we see a huge increase in the level of engagement. But I think it’s no exaggeration to say that this year’s Summit reached new heights, with customers sharing real data about the value they realize with Veeva.

When we think about the big challenges facing pharma, collaboration and sharing will lead the way forward. I am always impressed and humbled by the willingness of our customers to stand on stage and present to their peers on their experiences and lessons learned. This year, for example, we had 29 customer speakers in our breakout tracks, and our panel with Bayer during the opening plenary captured the audience with frank views on their digital transformation.

It seems everyone is talking about being digital, which is why we chose the conference theme “Accelerate Your Digital Enterprise.” So what does that mean for our life sciences customers and how do they embrace and maximize the opportunities of digital?

There’s no doubt that technology is an important part of the equation and an enabler for change. However, a mind shift is necessary to evolve organizations, processes and culture to embrace digital. For life sciences companies with entrenched operations, this shift towards digital offers a great opportunity to become agile, effective, and more relevant to healthcare professionals and key opinion leaders.

Customers and stakeholders are demanding change from life sciences companies. The digitalization of our personal life is no longer relegated to our shopping list or holiday planning. High quality, consistent digital engagement is something everyone expects from life sciences companies.

At the same time, more drug launches require a different scale of conversation. This year, for example, we saw a 30% increase in the number of new drugs launched in Europe compared with last year. While the one-to-one rep to physician conversation will never go away, the depth of information healthcare professionals need requires a different type of engagement – and digital has a pivotal role to play.

Just as with other industries, pharma needs to improve efficiency to get the most from its people and to both develop and manage content at a lower cost. At the same time, it also requires accurate, harmonized data to leverage insights to improve targeting and engagement. Quality data, coupled with engaging content, are two of the main ingredients necessary to fuel digital pharma.

Strong, medically–led conversations are vital for new product launches, and even more so when bringing complex personalized medicines to market. In this context, we see the relationship between commercial and medical organizations changing in life sciences, and medical is really taking a front and center role within pharma go-to-market strategies.

The life sciences industry is already on a path of change. Becoming a digital enterprise is a great opportunity to communicate with customers across functions, including medical and commercial, in a coordinated and compliant way. As this year’s European Commercial & Medical Summit illustrated, the industry is coming together to have the conversations about how to best transform with the customer at the center and the patient front of mind. These are exciting times – and I look forward to seeing how far the industry has advanced at next year’s Summit.

For more on this year’s conference, check out our highlights video and other resources. And mark your calendar for next year’s conference, which will be our finale in Madrid from 3-5 December 2018.