Model N Express – Fueling Growth in the Life Sciences Mid Market

Over the past few months, a growing number of our pharmaceutical and medical device customers have celebrated the Go Live of Model N Express. What is Model N Express? It is Model N’s new offering [...]

Over the past few months, a growing number of our pharmaceutical and medical device customers have celebrated the Go Live of Model N Express.

What is Model N Express? It is Model N’s new offering which allows tomorrow’s emerging life sciences leaders (pre-market, small and mid-size pharmaceutical and medical devices companies) to benefit from the tremendous value of Revenue Management, at a cost that fits in their budgets and resources, and at an accelerated speed of value.

Model N consolidated all the best practices learnt from larger life sciences organizations in the past 15 years and synthesized them into a set of implementation accelerators and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that allow for faster time-to-go-live.

We consider it a game changer for so-called “mid-market” companies. Until now, limited by both personnel and budgetary resources, companies with revenues under $1B worldwide had to manage commercial contracting and government compliance processes with limited custom internal IT developments, spreadsheets, or even pen and paper! As a result, they were often at risk of overpaying incentive rebates, miscalculating their distributor chargebacks, paying fines for misreporting prices applicable to government agencies, and more.

At Model N, we heard the midmarket needs loud and clear and decided it was time for this important segment of the market – some of the most innovative companies in the industry! – to be able to automate these business critical process and, doing so, to maximize revenues and margins while complying with regulatory mandates.

Eight months ago, we set out to streamline and accelerate the implementation of our Revenue Management offering for the mid-market. The response from the market has been excellent, as both pharmaceutical companies, such as Keryx Pharmaceuticals or Tolmar Pharmaceuticals, and medical devices companies, such as Sizewise, jumped aboard the program.

Through these early customers, we continued to learn about the unique Revenue Management requirements and needs of midsize companies, and further simplified and adapted our approach. In particular we were able to reassert the fundamental pillars of the Model N Express offering:

1. An implementation is only as good as its data. The earlier the data cleansing occurs, the faster the implementation. With Express, we engage on data as soon as possible to remove any possible hurdle.

2. Management education and empowerment is critical for the business to change quickly. The Express methodology comes with a lot of proven industry business processes that companies need to adjust to quickly. With Express, we communicate about this even before the project starts, so that the customer can realign and comply to SOPs.

3. Automated integration effort also needs to start on day one. Defining what processes to automate, what data to map and integrate are intensive exercises that to start quickly in the Model N Express methodology.

4. Start leveraging SOPs even before the start of the project. Aligning everyone on best practices and accelerators before the kick-off day makes for intelligent, efficient discussions during the first few days of the project.

Our goal is to continue to accelerate time-to-value to maximize value for customers. We cannot wait for many more life sciences companies to adopt Model N’s best-in-class Revenue Management Cloud solutions, thanks to the Express offering!

Power of N: Fixing Pain and Fostering Process

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. John’s series will give you an inside perspective on enterprise software and how Model N builds applications [...]

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. John’s series will give you an inside perspective on enterprise software and how Model N builds applications that solve our customers’ critical business needs. Power of N takes you behind the scenes for a look at what’s required in the applications that our customers use to realize exponential growth in revenue.

Last month in Insanely Great Enterprise Applications, I described the characteristics of truly successful applications targeted for businesses. In this post, I will focus on the first, and most apparent, characteristic: Addressing a specific business problem.


It is obvious that enterprise applications are designed to solve business problems. What makes a great application is the extent and completeness to which the business problem is solved. Pain points usually exist within a business context, usually an end-to-end process. A business application can derive some value by simply addressing the specific pain, while ignoring the larger process. However, that value is inherently limited by the narrow focus of the solution.

Tackling the entire end-to-end business process expands the potential value of the solution in more than one way. As with targeted solutions, structured automation can provide significant operational efficiencies. Potentially more meaningful value can be derived by looking at improving the processes themselves.

Let’s look at a Revenue Management challenge in the Life Sciences industry:Chargebacks. In a nutshell, a chargeback is a credit from a manufacturer to a distributor that purchases product at a higher Wholesale Acquisition Cost and sells it at a lower contracted price. The biggest operational challenge is simply maintaining a common understanding between the partners of the data that drives pricing. The Model N Revenue Management Solutions directly solves the operational challenges by managing the GPO membership rosters and the Bid Awards that provide clear price notifications to the distributors. Our solution provides a collaborative platform to a complex, multi-party process that targets the operational challenge of minimizing the chargeback error rates.

However, Chargebacks is only a piece of the larger Revenue Management end-to-end process. In this case, end-to-end process is actually a misnomer as there are no ends. This process is a closed-loop plan-execute-analyze cycle. During planning, contracting strategies are developed to best position the manufacturer in the market. During execution, those strategies are realized as contracts sold into the market resulting in chargebacks that need to be paid. Finally, the realized revenue is analyzed as input into the next planning phase. The full solution needs to not just automate the overall process, but also provide structure and insight to that process, thereby, addressing a broader scope of questions. How are your channels reacting? What contracting strategies were effective? Did investments in specific incentives provide the desired outcome? How should you adapt?

Great enterprise applications excel by tightly combining these two levels, the operational and the strategic. Being an evidence-driven analytical organization requires fine-grain alignment across the entire process. While it’s possible to stitch together a variety of best-of-breed operational applications, inherent mismatches in how different solutions are designed along with the integration challenges can increase rather than decrease the operational challenges taking away valuable time from the strategic. Enterprises are increasingly coming to this conclusion and looking for solution suites.

What about change? Thus far, I have described solutions delivering both tactical and strategic value, but without any notion of change. The world does not stand still. Next month, I’ll look at what it means to support a dynamic business.

Power of N: Building Insanely Great Enterprise Applications

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. This Model N series will give readers perspective on Enterprise software and how Model N builds applications [...]

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. This Model N series will give readers perspective on Enterprise software and how Model N builds applications that solve our customers’ critical business needs. Power of N is the first in a thought leadership series from Model N that helps readers explore how SaaS and software solutions from Model N abstract complexity and help organizations manage and grow their Revenue.

Designing great enterprise applications is challenging. The days of simply exposing database tables on green screens has long past.


Today’s enterprises require sophisticated, user-friendly applications that empower users to optimize their productivity. These systems are highly complex spanning across the value chain and supporting large numbers of users. The stakes are high in designing enterprise applications that deliver consumer-style experiences, anywhere access, and innovative solutions. Over the past 17 years of building software, I have found six key characteristics that distinguish successful enterprise applications.

1.  Fixing Pain and Fostering Process

It almost goes without saying that enterprise applications must solve a business problem, or else why would they exist. Business problems, as with any problem, exist within in a context, typically a larger business process. The success of the application depends on how well that product can solve the specific need, whilst also blending into the larger process.

Best-of-breed targeted applications can provide value in isolation.  However, business processes generally span multiple applications.  Stitching a myriad of best-of-breed solutions together quickly becomes complex eating away at the benefits of the individual solutions.  Businesses desire a suite of high value applications that are seamlessly integrated to tackle an end-to-end business process.  Automating closed-loop processes provides high value immediately as well as the ability to increase that value over time.
2.  Adapting to a Dynamic Business

The velocity of businesses is ever increasing, as companies strive to maintain a competitive advantage and grow their business. Companies don’t have the luxury to wait for the next software release cycles, even for frequently releasing SaaS vendors.  Moreover, leading companies leverage their systems as an integral component of a strategy to proactively engage the market.

Enterprise systems need to strike a critical balance of flexibility and rigidity.  On one hand, the systems must be flexible enough to match the pace of the business.  I’m not only talking about simple configuration changes, but policy decisions such as pricing and rebating strategies.  On the other hand, businesses need to ensure that changes are managed in a controlled and efficient manner.  With great power comes great responsibility. The business must be able to control how changes are staged, approved, and applied.
3.  Empowering Users

Today’s users live in a highly technical world filled with addictive devices that foster expectations that their applications and tools they use at work should be as good as those they use at home.  Enterprise applications can only deliver on the promise of business value by engaging the users and enabling them to the fullest.
Human-centered design philosophies are a key aspect to ensure systems adapt to the user rather than the users needing to bend to the systems.  Business processes usually require collaboration between people potentially spread across the globe.  Over and above making individuals more productive, business software must be social to enable effective real and virtual teams.

4.  Scaling from SMB to Fortune 50

Companies can span from the mom-and-pop store on the corner to GE and Google. While it’s unlikely that a mom-and-pop store is mature enough to need sophisticated enterprise applications, we see smaller companies getting more and more complex as the world becomes increasingly flat.

We can see size differences that can span many orders of magnitude. Catalogs can range from 10s to 10,000s of SKUs. Transaction volume can span even larger ranges from 10,000s to 100,000,000s of lines. Enterprise systems should scale efficiently and ideally sublinearly.  More importantly, enterprise applications should make efficient use of all the resources available, including CPU, memory, and I/O. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a long process to run when you can still see plenty of CPU cores idling.

5.  Living in an Enterprise Ecosystem

Enterprise applications rarely live in isolation. Master data, such as products and direct customers, reside in MDM or ERP systems. Indirect customers may only reside in a CRM system. Channel data may come through EDI gateways.  Smoothly and reliably plugging into the integration landscape is a key requirement.  Seamless integration applies not just to the technical transport, such as web services or message queues, but also how well the system integrates with the overall logical process, such as payment processing or ship-and-debits.

Reliable integration is always a challenging problem as, by definition, integration spans across disparate systems and technologies. Great enterprise applications minimize points of failure, provide transparency to errors, and recover smoothly.

6.  Building Trust in a Multi-Channel Cloud Solution

Every application must ensure privacy and controls. Recently, Google revealed that only half of all emails sent are unencrypted, a basic level of security.  With proprietary information, such as competitive strategies and pricing policies, enterprise applications must be able to ensure that their information is secure and have strict controls on who is allowed to perform what actions.

Software is moving to the cloud.  True business-to-business networks are growing to automate business processes that are not bound by the four walls of companies.  TheInternet of Things will allow all devices and systems to be connected.  Enterprise systems must be built from the ground up to enable users and systems across multiple channels to work in a system with strong authentication and authorization capabilities.

Enterprise applications are challenging to build.  When done successfully, users are delighted and businesses gain true value. In my upcoming “Power of N” posts, I’ll be diving into the details on each of these characteristics, as well as how a company can evaluate enterprise applications, gain adoption to their implementation, and encourage support from employees.

Manual Quoting Risks Closing the Deal

When was the last time you wanted MORE risk, when trying to close a deal? Many sales organizations fail to realize that by continuing to employ manual processes for quoting, they are accepting [...]


When was the last time you wanted MORE risk, when trying to close a deal? Many sales organizations fail to realize that by continuing to employ manual processes for quoting, they are accepting unnecessary risk.

A manual process generally incorporates the collection of spreadsheets, product sheets, and then painstakingly building a quote document. Generating this quote involves multiple steps, all of which drain time and resources that could otherwise be used for more selling. The typical process calls for the salesperson to determine the customer’s needs and then relay this information to pricing and sales support staff that generates the quote using spreadsheets. Before the quote goes to the customer, the salesperson must first obtain internal approval from his boss who may review the quote immediately or may sit on it for a couple days, depending on his schedule. Finally, the quote is ready for the customer, or is it?

While a manual approach to quoting may save the company money on software, it falls short in a number of ways that can put closing the deal at risk.

Costly Human Errors

A manual quoting process is a recipe for eroding profits and damaging sales rep credibility. Most sales organizations have a complex combination of products and services that they need to quickly and accurately quote to customers. However, a manual process relies on people taking into account endless pricing variables—products, packaging, bundling, discounts—that sales teams can often misquote. There’s nothing to prevent mistakes other than the human eye catching an error.

There is also missed opportunity in up-selling and cross-selling, as most often the salesperson is not creating the quote in the CRM system. A manual process is cumbersome for the salesperson to work through different scenarios for up-selling and cross-selling complementary products or services.

<>Lost Cycle Time

In the quoting and proposal stage, manual processes are a road block that slows down the sales cycle. There is often more than one price sheet to hunt down and discounting rules can be unclear. Data sheets to support the quote are held in disparate file stores, draining even more time. Product offerings also change constantly and salespeople cannot be expected to be well-informed about a product list containing thousands of SKUs that change daily. Manually configuring the quote to include the correct components requires that salespeople hunt down the right SKUs, verify the components are compatible and confirm that each required component is specified, which adds unnecessary time to the sales cycle.

In addition, each quote must be reviewed and approved to ensure there is not too much discounting and there is enough margin health. The quote cannot be sent to the customer without every item being approved. And, while a quote goes through your internal approvals, the customer is left waiting and your competitors have time to enter a bid of their own.

In short, a manual quoting process not only leaves money on the table, but it also leaves customers feeling less than satisfied. And a potentially unhappy customer is a risk you can’t afford.

Today, there’s something you can do about it. Cloud-based software solutions make it easy to automate the error-prone and lengthy manual process for generating quotes. Automating configure, price and quote (CPQ) processes enables your company to reduce risk and earn more money from new prospects and existing customers.

Your sales department is charged with generating your revenue and it makes sense to improve their efficiencies and make sure every choice they make is correct, compatible and profitable.

Learn more about what solutions like REVVY CPQ can do to automate everything in your quoting process.