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Medtronic shares its experiences as an Early SAP HANA Adopter by David Hannon, Features Editor “Customer satisfaction” takes on a much more urgent meaning when physicians use your organization’s products to treat patients with chronic diseases. At medical technology company Medtronic, no customer complaint is ever taken lightly. Throughout its production of medical technologies that help millions of people live better and longer, Medtronic strives to record and track every byte of customer feedback it encounters — be it a formal U.S. Food and Drug Adminis- tration report or an informal conversation that a Medtronic employee happens to overhear. For example, if a Medtronic worker attends a dinner party where another guest states that a family member experienced some discom- fort after having a pacemaker implanted, that employee is obligated to input that information into a central complaint registration system.Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
Ata And while Medtronic is gaining valuable Expanding BI Landscape Drives New customer-related insights from data-inten- Requirements sive initiatives like this one, its data volumes Like most companies, Medtronic’s IT land- and data types are expanding rapidly. The scape is expanding, and its SAP footprintGlance business’s data warehouse has doubled in is growing significantly, particularly in the size in the past three years and that pace of area of business intelligence (BI). An SAP growth is expected to continue for at least ERP customer since 2003, the business is the next few years, with an increasing per- gradually migrating off of its last few lega-Medtronic centage of that volume coming in the form cy systems to a single instance of SAP ERPHeadquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota of unstructured data — text-based inputs 6.0. It is also migrating from a legacy data that contain valuable information about its warehouse and adopting SAP NetWeaverIndustry: Medical device manufacturing products and customers. Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW)Revenues: $15.9 billion (FY 2011) Not surprisingly, Medtronic began experi- as the platform for its reporting applica-Employees: 40,000 encing non-patient-related IT performance tions. Medtronic recently went live on SAPCompany details: issues within its data warehouse as a result BusinessObjects BI 4.0 and has standard-• Co-founded by Earl Bakken and his of the growing data volumes. In addition, ized on SAP BusinessObjects solutions for brother-in-law Palmer Hermundslie new requirements necessitating merging reporting. in 1949. Bakken was an electrical even larger amounts of data from multiple One driver to improve its data analysis engineer who used medical tech- sources would soon compound these prob- capabilities is Medtronic’s global complaint nology to help a cardiologist keep lems. Medtronic began actively looking for handling initiative, which is a project to his open-heart surgery patients a solution that would improve its reporting ensure all complaints and feedback about alive. Ever since, Medtronic has performance while still providing the busi- the company’s products are captured in been creating life-changing thera- ness with the freedom to expand its data SAP Customer Relationship Management pies that help people with chronic collection in all directions. (SAP CRM) — currently, the company is diseases by alleviating pain, “Application users at Medtronic have migrating all of its business units onto SAP restoring health, and extending very high performance and quality expec- CRM for complaint management as part of lives. Medtronic therapies make it tations, and we are focused on trying to this initiative. possible for millions of people to achieve a single source of truth solution for “Medtronic holds itself to a very high resume everyday activities, return reporting,” says Steve Teichman, IT Director standard in terms of what we classify as a to work, and live better, longer. for Business Intelligence at Medtronic. “Ad- complaint,” says Teichman. “Being able to ditionally, Medtronic has a lot of data we report off that data as well as correlate it• Business units include: Cardiac haven’t yet utilized to its full effectiveness. across different systems is very important Rhythm Disease Management, Tools like the coming analytics products — to us.” Spinal and Biologics, CardioVas- some from SAP and some from others — Once all the complaints — which come cular, Neuromodulation, Diabetes, will help us to better utilize this data.” from multiple sources as both structured and Surgical Technologies Medtronic turned over every possible and unstructured data — are in SAP CRM,• SAP ERP user since 2003 stone in its search for an answer to its re- more consistent reporting will be possible.• Business Objects user since 1990 porting challenges, and it found a solution The ultimate goal is to be able to compareSAP solutions: with the arrival of SAP HANA. “We believe complaints to each product’s registration• SAP ERP 6.0 this solution will create enough of a perfor- data, which is housed in a non-SAP CRM• SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 mance benefit that we will have that single system, and to sales data from SAP ERP.• SAP CRM 7.0 source in a single repository that can be• SAP HANA 1.0 used globally,” Teichman says. “Even though Implementing SAP HANA• SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 we were already headed down this path, we But using that complaint data for report- probably couldn’t get there as quickly with- ing required the ability to search through out something like SAP HANA to provide text fields in SAP CRM and compare that that leap in performance.” data against both the device registration As an existing SAP customer and an early data and the sales data. That text-based adopter of SAP HANA, the company’s ex- reporting coupled with multi-source data perience in building the use case for the acquired from SAP and non-SAP systems in-memory appliance, and its work on the was proving a challenge for Medtronic’s implementation project can provide invalu- existing reporting environment. able insight for the myriad of SAP custom- With a major expansion of the complaint- ers who are eager to learn more about how handling initiative scheduled and the move in-memory computing can improve their to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 in ramp-up, reporting environments. Medtronic began looking for a solution to Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
streamline its reporting. As Teichman ex- Medtronic. “Even though SAP HANA is aplains, Medtronic was aware of SAP HANA high-performance appliance, you still have Advice for Early Adoptersas early as fall of 2010 and was intrigued to think about the optimal way to modelby its advertised benefits, but it wasn’t until the data.” Becoming an early adopter hasearly 2011 that the company began serious- There are many questions to answer: its rewards but also its chal-ly considering SAP HANA as the solution Should you drop the data into SAP HANA lenges. As Medtronic’s Steveto its reporting performance issues. as is, or should you structure it differently? Teichman points out, “When we Installed as a software appliance, SAP Do you replicate the data directly from the evaluate new technologies, weHANA captures and stores data in-memory source SAP system? Do you flow the data evaluate the challenges and askand dramatically speeds response times for into SAP NetWeaver BW through transfor- if this is something that’s worthreports on large volumes of data, including mation layers and then use data services to taking a chance to be an earlyunstructured data. As one of the solution’s move it into SAP HANA? Do you have to adopter on, or is it something thatfirst adopters, Medtronic has worked very bring the non-SAP data through a custom we can wait on and benefit fromclosely with SAP executives and experts data integration layer? in a year or so.”to understand the appliance and how it Of course, in the IT world, questions Following are some generalcan benefit Medtronic specifically. After like these often incite much excitement guidelines for becoming an earlyall, there aren’t a lot of best practices and and action, and Medtronic’s BI architects adopter:project plans available for early adopters. and designers have risen to the occasion, The first step was forming an executive according to Teichman. “They’re work- • Be confident in the use case:steering committee that included execu- ing on something very new that is really Don’t be an early adopter just totives from both Medtronic and SAP. The changing the industry,” he says. “And being be an early adopter. Become oneimplementation team consisted primarily in on the ground floor of something like if the solution is something thatof SAP consultants and internal resources that and figuring out how to use it has your organization will uniquelyto ensure that SAP HANA was deployed motivated them.” benefit from implementing soon-most efficiently. Based on SAP’s guide- er rather than later.lines and recommendations, Medtronic The Future of Analytics at Medtronic • Get vendor buy-in: Newchose to run SAP HANA on the UCS plat- Even as an early adopter, Medtronic has solutions and product strategiesform by Cisco. (Refer to the sidebar at the a vision of some early benefits that SAP come and go, so before you takeend of the article for more information HANA will bring to the business. For start- on the challenges of becomingabout Medtronic’s decision to select Cisco ers, the performance improvements are an early adopter, make sure yourhardware.) expected to greatly streamline Medtronic’s vendor is fully committed to the “We wanted to ensure this was the right move to a single data repository. solution and your use case. Ques-use case for this solution and that SAP In addition to the complaint-handling ini- tion them extensively to makethought we could benefit from it as well,” tiative, Medtronic is also standardizing its sure they understand how youTeichman recalls. “We wanted to under- sales reporting processes globally with the expect the solution to improvestand the challenges as well as what each goal of improving reporting performance your business.organization needed to do to make this and expects SAP HANA to play an impor-project successful and move faster — so we tant role in that initiative. “We want to have • Get executive sponsorship:made sure we had strong connections back information in the hands of our sales reps Executive sponsorship will helpinto SAP’s organization.” as quickly as possible so that they can focus align the initiative with the busi- on their customers,” says Raver. ness goals and provide a cham-Structuring the Data in SAP HANA According to Teichman, Medtronic has pion to get the project fundedThe project team began data modeling in very aggressive requirements around how and completed.the QA environment with the goal of hav- fast sales reports should come — basically, • Promote the early wins: Withing SAP HANA live for the expansion of a 15-second response time for most re- a new technology, there will bethe global complaint-handling system. But ports. “We were seeing one-to-two minutes skeptics. Promote those earlyas the team started working on perfecting on most reports and up to 10 minutes on wins and emphasize that by be-the processes that future users would need some reports, and that’s time our sales- ing an early adopter of the newto implement, it began experimenting with people could be spending in front of our technology, you have taken theexactly what sources and models worked customers,” he says. “In order to allow our lead in front of your competitors.best to bring the data into SAP HANA. sales force to be most effective, we need to “The biggest internal debates so far achieve that performance requirement.”have been around where we source the Medtronic is working with SAP on de-data from and how we do integrated data veloping an application for text-basedmodeling,” says Brian Raver, IT Manager analytics to better leverage the wealth ofof BI Strategy and Systems Architecture at unstructured data on which the global Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
?Medtronic Chooses the UCSPlatform by to Run SAP HANAAs an innovator in the communications and in- What Is SAP HANA?formation technology industry, Cisco and its net- SAP HANA appliance software is a data-source agnostic, in-memorywork-centric platform are changing the nature of appliance that lets users analyze large volumes of transactional andwork and the way we live. Medical technology analytical data as it develops from virtually any data source in realleader Medtronic chose Cisco’s Unified Commu- time. How does it work? Data is captured in-memory as businessnications System (UCS) platform on which to run happens, and flexible views expose analytic information rapidly.its SAP HANA in-memory computing appliance External data can be added to analytic models to expand analysis— and for ongoing broader usage as its network across the entire organization.hardware provider — because it was the beststrategic fit with Medtronic’s existing infrastruc- Synchronizing key transactional tables in near-real time in-ture out of the four certified vendors considered. memory makes these tables easily accessible for analysis and lookup. Once data is available in-memory, users can instantlyCisco’s approach to scale out (versus scale up) look up individual line items from massive lists with noaligned well with how Medtronic intended to impact on the operational system.grow the SAP HANA platform in its IT environ-ment. Medtronic expects the in-memory comput-ing appliance to be a game-changer in regardsto reporting performance and describes theUCS platform as a key component of deliveringon that promise.Medtronic also commended the Cisco team’s complaint-handling system relies, such as free-text fieldsefforts, claiming the team responded extremely where a lot of notes are taken.well to the hectic schedule and urgent requests “We think there’s a lot of information available in thisand delivered the infrastructure ahead of sched- data that we don’t see — kind of a situation where weule at every turn. In fact, the production system don’t know what we don’t know — because we don’tis running over two months before the scheduled have a way to capture everything we would like togo-live date. capture,” says Raver.In addition to allowing the business to meet itsfinancial targets for the SAP HANA project by Early Innovatorsproviding a cost savings over the alternatives, Medtronic’s decision to become one of the first adopt-the UCS platform also carried with it a host of ers of SAP HANA is not one that the company tooknetwork integration benefits such as: lightly, but one that the company was confident about because of the work it did to define the business case• Medtronic IT could confirm basic link con- and evaluate the benefits and challenges of being an nectivity before operating system/device early adopter. drivers were loaded, which led to quicker “Medtronic as a whole has a very innovative culture problem resolution. and history — but at the same time, quality is an abso-• The Cisco Integrated Management Con- lute fundamental to us, and we’re not going to make troller (CIMC) configuration options for any decisions that could risk our product quality in redundant connectivity fit Medtronic’s data- any way,” says Teichman. “We aren’t an early adopter center networking standards very well. in every area, but we do it in areas where we can really make an impact. From an IT perspective, we’re mostFor more information about the UCS platform, interested in innovative solutions that we think canvisit www.cisco.com. benefit patients.” Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.