REVIEWER: Dick Rylander, director of field operations for Actelion.

BACKGROUND: Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company with its U.S. headquarters located in South San Francisco, California, is a subsidiary of Actelion Ltd in Basel, Switzerland. The company discovers, develops and markets breakthrough drugs for unmet medical needs. Actelion focuses its research on the endothelium, the single layer of cells separating every blood vessel from the blood stream. Actelion received approval for Tracleer (bosentan) for pulmonary arterial hypertension on November 20, 2001. Actelion has sales representatives who call on physicians, regional sales managers, national account managers who call on managed care and insurance companies, and medical science liaisons who are responsible for providing disease state information to customers.

PLATFORMS: Actelion is running StayinFront's Visual Elk and Panorama on Compaq Pentium 3 750 laptops with 256 RAM and 10GB hard drives.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As a start-up company preparing for the launch of its first product, it was imperative that Actelion implement the best CRM system to support the needs of its newly hired and highly experienced field professionals. The company needed to identify the right CRM vendor in a tight time frame ­ less than four months ­ and be ready to roll out the system to the field at an early October 2001 launch event. Actelion also wanted a vendor that could provide "one-stop shopping" to include help desk support, the ability to manage hardware and software as well as have ASP data storage capabilities in addition to simple, user-friendly CRM.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Actelion implemented StayinFront's Visual Elk and is in the process of implementing the company's Panorama data analysis solution. Visual Elk enables Actelion's field force to manipulate data and drill down into customer specifics as needed. With StayinFront's Visual Elk, Actelion can set up call lists, capture call activity and report on details such as prescription trends, accompanying diagnoses and related indicators.

STRENGTHS: StayinFront's Visual Elk has a user- friendly interface that enables the Actelion sales force to "window" information on their laptops and view the workflow. By working with StayinFront versus other CRM vendors, Actelion is able to interact directly with StayinFront's development team instead of layers of consultants.

WEAKNESSES: Some minor back-end limitations were identified early in the implementation of the Visual Elk system, and they are in the process of being resolved.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The StayinFront CRM system was implemented quickly within an aggressive time frame and provided an easy-to-use, robust solution. StayinFront was selected after a lengthy vendor evaluation process that rapidly eliminated larger CRM players because they could not address Actelion's comprehensive requirements.

DELIVERABLES: A key deliverable was the ability to communicate and report information collaboratively throughout the organization including departments such as medical, marketing, sales and operations. With StayinFront's Visual Elk, Actelion was able to leverage knowledge, including notes from the sales force about customer interactions, instead of replicating it within individual departments.

VENDOR SUPPORT: StayinFront's vendor support has been solid. The project management team was responsive and attentive. StayinFront's help desk is solid; and they take care of most computing needs including help with laptops, printers, other hardware and other software applications as well as the CRM questions. StayinFront houses everything needed and supplies their ASP capabilities for data storage and reporting. The help desk is a valuable feature because it eliminates the need to maintain an in-house IT department at Actelion.

DOCUMENTATION: The StayinFront information manual could be used to run Visual Elk if we had to rely exclusively on the documentation.

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