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Leveraging a cloud-enabled technology solution to achieve speed, agility, flexibility, and elasticity

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December 15, 2015 - For life science and healthcare companies, the business landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. Healthcare reform has shifted the primary business focus from driving sales to delivering demonstrable health outcomes at the individual patient level, and many companies, after failing to exploit critical changes in customers' and competitors' patterns of behavior, have seen revenue decline. Today, while the window of opportunity for identifying and acting on key market or customer insights has never been shorter, the stakes for failing to do so have never been higher.

The increasing speed of technological innovation means that reporting and analytics solutions, even those that were more than adequate only 2 or 3 years ago, are today obsolete. New and emerging big data sources (e.g., third-party data) are being brought together with traditional data sets to improve the value of actionable insights, and mobile reporting solutions are now required to empower users and understand customers and markets in near real-time.

Clearly, today, traditional IT organizations are struggling to keep pace. Data residing in IT source systems almost always require extraction and transformation before it is ready for reporting or analytics. Moreover, many of the new and emerging third-party data sets are not even available within today's IT infrastructure and data environments; and much of this new data is “fit to task," i.e., it can be removed or deleted once analysis or reports have been delivered. (Social media data is a good example of this.) Finally, the big data revolution has arrived, yet most organizations do not have the necessary infrastructure to rapidly scale required data storage and computing power on demand.

So, how do we tackle this problem? One approach is for businesses to deploy cloud-enabled solutions as an enhancement or force-multiplier for existing data, reporting, and analytic infrastructure assets. A cloud-enabled technology solution provides business end-users with speed, agility, flexibility, and elasticity (SAFE), and, as part of a bundled managed service model, it can also provide the people, processes, and domain-specific knowledge necessary to deliver insightful reports and analyses.

The benefits of these new solutions, particularly those with an embedded Hadoop data layer, include:

  • State-of-the-art platforms and environments with lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and faster return on investment (ROI)
  • One location for all data, algorithms, and business rules, in a robust, secure, and reliable infrastructure
  • Flexible, on-demand computing capacity to address workload surge periods without decreasing the speed of delivery
  • In-memory, Hadoop platform maximizes speed of data load, transformation, and delivery
  • Rapid implementation, with design, build, and deployment in as little as 8–12 weeks

Functionally, a cloud-enabled data management, reporting, and analytic solution layer serves as a middle man or broker between existing legacy source data systems, which are typically owned and operated by IT, and end-user dashboards, reports, and analyses. By utilizing the latest Hadoop and open source software and algorithms, cloud-enabled service layers can identify and extract only the data required for the report or analysis at hand (i.e., in a fit-to-task mode).

The benefits for business customers are obvious:

  • Speed: The ability to anticipate and respond to changes in the market in near real time
  • Agility: The engagement layer approach ensures an agile environment capable of adapting to changing data, reporting, and analytic needs on the fly
  • Flexibility: A bundled managed service approach provides the flexibility to modify the service delivery and metrics to meet unique business processes and challenges
  • Elasticity: Cloud-based on-demand model means unlimited scalability and rock-solid reliability for data storage and computing needs

Companies simply cannot afford to have anything other than a SAFE solution. The time is now to make an aggressive move to a cloud-enabled managed service approach and leapfrog the competition by delivering insightful actions at the speed and accuracy today's digital business landscape demands.

Author: Francis Slavich - Vice President, and Sales Leader, Life Science and Healthcare Analytics