Taking sales social
Ego Pharmaceuticals now uses Salesforce.com's CRM and Chatter social networking service to encourage its geographically isolated sales and merchandising reps to collaborate.
Meddings said that merchandisers, for example, might take a photo of their latest display and upload it to chatter for peers to review.
"We now have a sales culture driven on peer-to-peer accountability," he said. "We encourage staff to communicate successes and failures - to be open and transparent."
Staff have warmed to Chatter, he said, even if it means having to face the critical input of their peers.
"It works, providing you don't flog people over the results," Meddings said. "The point of knowing about success and failure is for people to get better.
Meddings said the organisation created a "culture that accepts change" - where it is "OK to be confused and ask questions."
He is unconcerned by the security ramifications of encouraging staff to communicate in a Twitter-like fashion on work systems.
"It comes back to the people," he said. "If you are worrying about somebody saying [something that could harm the company], you probably aren't recruiting very well."
Meddings said the solution - deployed on an iPhone - impresses customers.
"It helps to reinforce the ego brand position - that we represent innovation in healthcare," he said.
Slattery's IT team meanwhile, is enjoying far less support calls.
"Mail support calls down to just about zero," he said.
Inhouse vs cloud
Slattery said Ego Pharmaceuticals continues to run in-house systems for ERP, helpdesk, and lab test systems (for TGA audit) among others.
But he has no qualms with migrating applications to cloud services, "as long as we can maintain control and security of information," he said.
The two-factor authentication offered by Google and encryption offered by Salesforce.com were both decisive features, he said.
Now the Australian company plans to roll out its Salesforce/Google Apps/iPhone app solution to its global network of sales staff, which rivals its Australian sales team in size.
By September 2011, Slattery expects the company's Middle East operations to be running Salesforce.com, and will gradually roll-out the solution to more territories in the months beyond.