REVIEWER: Boris Meyerson, senior director of information technologies for Bradley Pharmaceuticals.

BACKGROUND: For more than 15 years, Bradley Pharmaceuticals, Inc., comprised of two operating units ­ KENWOOD THERAPEUTICS and DOAK DERMATOLOGICS ­ has been providing people in the U.S. as well as international markets with brands that people can rely on. Our main brand lines are in the dermatology, nutritional and gastroenterology areas.

PLATFORMS: Fujitsu LifeBook P1000 series notebooks with touch screens.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Using a paper-based system to track sales calls proved to be inaccurate and limited our ability to respond proactively to data gathered during sales calls. Bradley representatives were required to use special forms to mark the name of the practitioner and the presentations made, as well as descriptions and lot numbers of the various product samples left behind. Forms were then sent to a healthcare marketing support services firm to be scanned and entered into a database. Much time was spent locating the forms necessary for the next day to prepare for sales calls. Reps would arrive at a practitioner's office with a thick bag of forms. Last-minute changes resulted in a search for another practitioner's form with the right name, state license number and address for that particular call. More time was spent on form management than sales management.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: StayinFront automated our compliance with Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) regulatory requirements. The solution's ability to fact-check information reduces the risk of inaccuracies. Sales reps no longer need to write numbers on preprinted forms. Instead, they select a number from the on-screen pull-down menu. The time to update data now takes minutes, not months. Compliance is watched and enforced, improving our ability to see all transactions and rapidly reconcile physical inventories. The ability to proactively manage our sales force and related processes is the biggest gain.

STRENGTHS: StayinFront Visual Elk allows companies to take a second look to see if results are low because of low efforts or if there is another factor. Connecting the two was a very difficult task. In the pharmaceutical industry, it's common practice for companies to be able to view how many and which prescriptions a practitioner writes. Less common is the ability to see a sales representative's effect on the number or type of prescriptions written. Analysis of the data using StayinFront Panorama allows sales representatives to refocus themselves by seeing a comparison of efforts versus results.

WEAKNESSES: StayinFront Visual Elk has a built-in report writer, which is, in fact, a printing arrangement of what a user sees on screen. It does not have any aggregate functions. It would have been convenient to total numbers or count items in some instances. This weakness is mitigated by using StayinFront Panorama, which is a simple, yet powerful, report generator. However, at Bradley, only DMs and home office users have StayinFront Panorama and were trained to use it.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After issuing an RFP with more than 214 requirements and meeting with several vendors, we were most impressed with StayinFront and selected StayinFront Visual Elk and StayinFront Panorama. We selected Visual Elk because of its highly flexible, scalable, multithreaded, multitier architecture, which supports databases from leading vendors.

DELIVERABLES: The solution allows our reps to become better, increasing their performance levels and reducing the amount of time spent on administrative tasks. It was a big improvement in managing our sales force. By eliminating our paper-based system, we were able to save money, improve our compliance with FDA regulations and increase the performance of our sales force.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Facing a tight implementation deadline, StayinFront was extremely helpful in getting us up and running on time. They pulled all their forces together and worked through the night to deliver the solution on time.

DOCUMENTATION: StayinFront provided Bradley with user manuals in binders containing detailed but concise instructions with lots of screen shots and examples. They updated the manuals when system enhancements were made. We also have a detailed system specification document that allows the project manager to judge if requested functionality is present and works as specified. We went through a very meticulous system validation with hundreds of tests. StayinFront was extremely helpful in assisting us with validation, providing requested documents in timely manner.

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