Right Medicine, Right Patient, Right Time
Clinigen Limited is a global, specialist pharmaceutical services and products company focused on providing ethical access to medicines. The company’s mission is to deliver the right medicine to the right patient at the right time.
“Clinigen is dedicated to getting vital medications to patients in need, wherever they are, whenever they need them,” said Andy Parker, vice president of information technology at Clinigen Limited. “To do this, we offer a broad portfolio of products to healthcare providers, and we also partner with pharmaceutical companies to support the drug development lifecycle.”
To enable the efficient delivery of medicine to its customers, Clinigen relies on Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) to support all facets of its operations and supply chain management—from purchasing and order management to warehouse inventory, logistics and human capital management. Oracle EBS also serves as the back-end fulfillment engine for Clinigen Direct, a dedicated service for healthcare professionals struggling with shortages of medication or who need access to unlicensed or unavailable medicines. Eligible healthcare professionals can sign into Clinigen Direct to find and source the medicines they need.
A Cloud-First Approach
Clinigen has taken a cloud-first approach to support its global distribution model—and implementing Oracle EBS on Amazon Web
Services (AWS) was key to this strategy. Clinigen needed a highly scalable cloud architecture to support its operations and meet demand. But due to the complex nature of the Oracle EBS implementation, Clinigen sought a partner with expertise in this area to guide the project with minimal risk and downtime.
“We were first introduced to Navisite through Clinigen’s acquisition of IDIS,” said Parker. “Navisite was managing their Oracle EBS deployment and given the team’s level of Oracle and AWS expertise, it was a natural fit to have them take on our Oracle EBS implementation.”
Navisite’s cloud experts helped Clinigen successfully develop, pilot, test and implement its Oracle EBS database and applications in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Navisite also implemented Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) as an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) with the associated applications deployed as Amazon EC2 instances.
Following the migration, Clinigen tapped Navisite to become its hosting services partner, providing ongoing managed services for the company’s AWS environment as well as for the database running Oracle EBS.
“Navisite does everything from infrastructure management and support, to ‘keep the lights on’ activities, including backup and recovery and deployment of new functionality and updates,” noted Parker. “Working with Navisite is a genuine partnership. Their team has a solid understanding of our Oracle environment and support us in modernizing our IT services.”
Continuous Cloud Optimization
Parker noted that one of the defining characteristics of Clinigen’s engagement with Navisite is the team’s focus on continuous service improvement. “Navisite continually looks for opportunities to improve our infrastructure, processes and costs on the cloud, which frees my team to focus on projects that will advance the business.”
As part of its AWS Cloud Optimization (ACO) Service, Navisite’s FinOps experts work closely with Clinigen to continually optimize the company’s Oracle EBS environment to support the optimal use of resources and meet the needs of existing and changing services over time.
Automation of Critical Changes
Another area of complexity that needed to be addressed was the process by which Clinigen updates and refreshes its development, testing and production environments supporting both Oracle EBS and Clinigen Direct. Because the two systems work in concert, the challenge became keeping up with the rapid rate of change while ensuring the systems, along with lower-level development and testing environments, all remain in sync and compatible.
“Any time we make a change to either Clinigen Direct or Oracle EBS, we have to clone the new production environment and then refresh all underlying development and testing environments to mirror it, so new code is always being tested against production conditions,” said Parker.
Historically, the refresh process was done manually, taking on average three business days per live environment. With a release cycle of four-to-six weeks, this manual process was not only resulting in disruptive downtime, but also delaying the
development and testing phases.
Clinigen turned to Navisite to automate the entire refresh cycle, which would not only accelerate the implementation of changes, but eliminate the potential for human error associated with the highly manual, days-long process.
Navisite used modern DevOps best practices to automate each step in the environment cloning, refresh and synchronization process by creating a series of long-running AWS Batch jobs. Navisite’s implementation using AWS Batch streamlines this process by executing the jobs as Docker containers using AWS Fargate, eliminating the need for team members to manage servers or clusters of Amazon EC2 instances. Once the environment is cloned and refreshed, the ephemeral containers are deleted completing the serverless release management process.
From Days to Hours
With the environment cloning process now fully automated, the refresh cycle has been reduced from three-plus days to an 18-hour range. As a result, Clinigen has been able to significantly reduce management complexity and the overall cost and risk of refreshing its environments.
“With the automation Navisite has introduced, we’ve been able to deliver new enhancements into production much faster,” said Parker. “This has allowed us to accelerate modernization of our Oracle EBS-driven operations as well as service levels on the front-end for healthcare professionals using Clinigen Direct.”
Navisite and Clinigen are working together to further reduce the refresh cycle times, as well as evaluate other areas of the business that can be supported by Navisite. “The diversity and breadth of capabilities offered by Navisite has given us access to new skillsets and services that we plan to take advantage of in the future as our partnership evolves,” commented Parker.