Salesforce and IQVIA’s Partnership – A Match Made in Heaven? | Blog

What impact will Salesforce’s upcoming global partnership with IQVIA have? Get the expert view here, or get in touch to understand how this significant move in the life sciences CRM sector might impact your business.

Once again, the winds of change are blowing in the life sciences CRM landscape. The usual suspect, Salesforce, has announced its strategic global partnership with IQVIA to enhance the capabilities of its Life Sciences Cloud.

This is noteworthy, more so in the backdrop of the Veeva and Salesforce separation in 2022, where Veeva fully embraced its home-brewed offering, Veeva Vault. The Salesforce-IQVIA partnership marks a significant move in Salesforce’s commitment to delivering robust life sciences customer engagement solutions.

However, whether this move will truly propel Salesforce to the industry apex remains to be seen. Veeva has already established itself as the go-to solution for life sciences enterprises; on the other hand, Salesforce carries the baggage of being a jack-of-all-trades, master of some in the customer engagement arena. The hiring of Frank Defesche – a former Veeva executive – by Salesforce to lead its life sciences division is one of several initiatives that drives home the point that the battle for market leadership is going to be fierce.

Key takeaways of the Salesforce-IQVIA partnership

  • In this expanded partnership, IQVIA licenses its OCE software to Salesforce, accelerating the development of Salesforce Life Sciences Cloud for customer engagement that is slated for release in 2025
  • IQVIA will continue to market the OCE product and support its nearly 400 global OCE customers in over 130 countries up until 2029
  • IQVIA will collaborate with Salesforce to jointly market the new offering, with System Integrator (SI) partnerships being leveraged to provide support services (data migration, maintenance, etc.) for OCE customers

Clash of the CRM titans: potential prospects and pitfalls of the expanded partnership

Historically, Veeva has been at loggerheads with both CRM incumbents: IQVIA (Veeva’s Antitrust Lawsuit against IQVIA) and Salesforce (halting its partnership with Salesforce Cloud). However, currently, IQVIA and Salesforce have allied to confront the Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) market. This partnership brings forth several prospects and pitfalls, as illustrated in the exhibit below:


Prospects: While IQVIA continues to lead the market in life sciences data management, it faces formidable competition from Veeva. However, the recent collaboration between IQVIA and Salesforce has fostered innovation and equipped Salesforce with data management expertise to leverage. Furthermore, this partnership extends Salesforce’s customer engagement market influence by granting access to IQVIA’s clientele. By integrating the data and analytics of IQVIA with the powerful CEP of Salesforce, the partnership promises a holistic overview of customer interaction and insights. This potential end-to-end, industry-specific solution will go on to streamline operations and efficiency through integrated systems and workflows.

Pitfalls: As the IQVIA-Salesforce transition gradually unfolds until 2029, they will encounter increased expenses for training, upskilling, onboarding, and more operational processes. Integrating existing legacy systems with the new IQVIA-Salesforce solutions will be challenging. Changing the status-quo will require a relook at data privacy and regulatory compliance by enterprises, which can be quite resource-intensive. The partnership also adds an uncertainty variable, as transitioning from the existing CRM may lead to concerns around the overall impact on business operations and workflows. As enterprises transition to the new system, there will be a risk of data migration, system downtime, and a potential loss to business. Currently, the Salesforce customer engagement platform is distinguished by its premium licensing fees, which might further increase due to the ongoing partnership. While this presents opportunities for SIs for project management endeavors, the new Salesforce Life Sciences Cloud should still demonstrate its value.

Amid the transition journey, the selection of appropriate SI will be paramount

The world of CRM is seeing a gigantic wave of customer-centricity, and service providers who still hold on to horizontal approaches will be swept under it. The days of a one-size-fits-all solution are over; now, enterprises seek solutions that can withstand the ever-changing dynamics of the market with technological and operational flexibility. Service providers must look beyond consultation and implementation by taking up change management initiatives that deliver long-term value for their clients. They are expected to stay abreast of the latest developments, and provide solutions tailored to the unique needs of enterprises.

Service providers will play a critical role in strategic consulting, data migration, implementation, customization, and ongoing support to ensure smooth transitions for enterprises adopting new customer engagement systems. It can cash in on these opportunities by monetizing various aspects of the collaboration, as elaborated below:


Enterprises face a trilemma

Enterprises are weighing their options carefully as the life sciences CRM market continues to evolve in its trajectory. The three broad options for enterprises are as follows:

  • Adopt Salesforce’s Life Sciences Cloud: Enterprises may choose to be early adopters of Salesforce’s Life Sciences Cloud, embracing the perfect blend of IQVIA’s life sciences expertise and Salesforce’s customer engagement platform capabilities. This option promises a transformative engagement platform with enhanced data integration so that enterprises can leverage the best of both worlds
  • Shift to Veeva Vault: Enterprises familiar with Veeva’s industry-specific solutions may adopt the Veeva Vault for its proven capability. This option provides stability and continuity given Veeva’s deep industry focus and comprehensive suite of offerings, including closed-loop marketing, built-in compliance, and data-driven suggestions
  • Explore budding alternatives (such as TrueBlue, Exeevo, etc.): Enterprises that are open to experimentation, such as alternatives like TrueBlue and Exeevo, make for an interesting proposition. The emergent life sciences CEP players offer a fresh perspective with an emphasis on agility and customer-centricity. Compatibility, scalability, and support are some of the factors that are essential to evaluate for maximizing the value of CEP investment

Implication of the partnership to the broader CRM narrative

This partnership signifies the eventual departure of IQVIA from the competition by the decade’s end, leaving only two dominant incumbents, Veeva and Salesforce, in the market. Presently, Veeva commands the lion’s share of the life sciences CRM market, but this landscape is expected to evolve in the years ahead. Additional implications within the CRM market are depicted in the exhibit below:


Is this the start of happily ever after for the industry?

With the life sciences commercial landscape evolving consistently and the ongoing evolution of Generative AI technology, the pace of innovation is frenetic within the life sciences industry. This rapid progress is also giving rise to a new wave of specialized providers catering to niche needs. Consequently, enterprises must continuously assess the evolving landscape of commercial technology offerings and augment their tech infrastructure accordingly.

If you have questions about the life sciences IQVIA’s extended partnership with Salesforce or would like to discuss developments in the life sciences commercial space, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]. For a deeper understanding of the shift to next-gen customer products in the life sciences sector, read our blog.

Watch our discussion on the critical shift from CRM ecosystems to CX platforms in our session, Key Insights: The Evolving Commercial Technology Landscape in Life Sciences.

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