Screen Shot

Veeva Vault is very important for the company's future. Photo: Veeva Systems

Being in the cloud computing business has been lucrative for early movers. No company typifies this more than salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) -- the first to become a full-scale cloud company for small and medium sized businesses. Over the last 10 years, the stock has returned more than 1,000%.

But salesforce.com wasn't always able to meet everyone's needs. That's exactly why Peter Gassner left salesforce.com to found the company that he is currently CEO of: Veeva Systems (NYSE:VEEV). The company focuses on meeting the cloud computing needs of life sciences and pharmaceutical companies. With earnings coming up this week for Veeva, here are three areas investors should keep their eyes on.

Just the headline numbers
I don't think investors should give analysts' estimates too much credence when it comes to whether or not a company is successful. But when management provides an outlook, it's worth seeing how the company performs against its own benchmarks.

Here's what Gassner has signaled he thinks the third quarter -- and full fiscal year -- should look like. Check to see how this meshes with the numbers that are reported/forecasted.

 

Revenue

Non-GAAP EPS

Q3

$102.3 Million

$0.115

FY 15

$396.5 Million

$0.475

Source: SEC filings. Estimates represent the mid-point of estimate ranges.

Even if the company falls short of -- or blows out -- these estimates, they are largely short-term in importance. Investors also need to keep their eyes on the long-term health of the company.

Performance of Veeva's CRM business
Veeva is one of the few publicly traded cloud companies that has been able to turn a profit at such a young age. That's largely because the company has been able to sign up lots of customers, and, once they are locked in, cross-sell them other CRM products.

While CRM, or customer relationship management, isn't the future of Veeva that gets investors excited (more on that below), it is definitely the core of the company: CRM accounted for 84% of total revenue last fiscal year. The company has added on several new features to the core CRM platform, and they are encompassed in what management calls the "Multi-channel CRM suite."

During last quarter's conference call, Gassner said, "our multi-channel CRM product suite continues to [grow at] a solid pace, and we remain on track to achieve an increase in CRM subscription revenue of roughly 20% for the year." The biggest and stickiest driver of this growth has been Veeva's approved email platform, which two of the top 20 Big Pharma companies have already adopted.

The future: Vault
Beyond CRM, Veeva has two other key divisions: Veeva Vault and Veeva Network. Network is still in its infancy, but Vault is in the stage where rapid growth should be occurring. The product helps pharmaceutical companies manage all of the data necessary to push a drug through the approval process -- a key function where lots of inefficiencies can be addressed.

At the end of last quarter, Veeva had 170 Vault customers total, with 30 of those customers coming from the world's Top 50 Pharma companies. It will be crucial for Veeva to not only gain more customers moving forward, but to sell more Vault services to those customers as they get hooked into the system.

Gassner believes that Vault could one day be much larger than CRM, and if management is able to come through on this promise, it could mean a lucrative future for the company and its shareholders.

Brian Stoffel owns shares of Veeva Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Veeva Systems. The Motley Fool recommends Salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.