I have been associated with the Pharma industry globally, for a number of years now, as the CEO of a company that is focused on providing CRM and SFE solutions to the Industry.
When I look around, three things strike me.
Large ERP vendors who also have a CRM, do not seem to succeed as much in the CRM space, as in the ERP space. SAP is an example.
Most leading Pharma companies use a specialist ERP vendor, and a specialist CRM vendor.
Most companies have adopted the cloud and SaaS model for CRM—not for ERP
To the second point above, there are some exceptions that I have come across especially among small to medium Pharma companies in India. That set me thinking: What is the right thing to do? What are the pros and cons that a company should consider while deciding their CRM, as a part of their solution stack?
While writing this blog, I am going to try and wear the CIO hat of a large or medium Pharma company. (Unenviable position, considering today’s choices available!)
Let us see what generic traits I would look for in a CRM partner Vs an ERP partner. Let me tabulate the two sides.
If I were a CIO, I would ask myself, can a vendor focused on ERP also have traits as in Column B? Yes, it may just be possible if the vendor is a large company that can do both. Even then it is more than likely that Column B traits are not the focus.
The above table, I hope is a useful checklist. I am very certain that most vendors (at least the smaller ones), cannot meet both the columns. That is why I have always wondered why any Pharma company would want to choose an ERP vendor for their CRM. In my opinion, these companies will have to reconsider their choice, if they want to stay competitive.
For a Pharma company, ERP and CRM are the two most important software solutions. I think it is only right that Pharma companies pick two different vendors who are specialists in their respective areas. Picking the same vendor for both CRM and ERP would be a bit like having 11 Hardik Pandyas playing in the Indian team! All all-rounders—no specialist batsmen or bowlers!