Discover Case Study: Cardinal Health Using SaaS Tools to Improve Application Lifecycle Management
Discover Case Study: Cardinal Health Using SaaS Tools toImprove Application Lifecycle ManagementTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on the experience of Cardinal Health in using software-as-a-service tools from HP to develop and test applicationsListen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HPDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast series coming to youfrom the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. Were here on the Discover show ﬂoor this week, the week of June 6, to explore some major enterprise IT solution trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and Ill be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.] Were now going to look at how software as a service (SaaS) is impacting theapplication lifecycle through the experience of Cardinal Health. Im here with Don Jackson, aSenior Engineer in the Testing Center of Excellence within the Performance Engineering Groupat Cardinal Health, and they are in Dublin, Ohio. Welcome to the show, Don.Don Jackson: Thanks for having me.Gardner: Tell me, from a high-level perspective, why SaaS is appealing to you. Just on generalterms, why SaaS, even for applications or in development-testing? What makes it appealing toyou?Jackson: SaaS is a service offering, not just for testing and for development, but as a simpleservice offering, that allows us to focus on our primary core competencies and on what ourclients and customers need, rather than focusing on trying to learn how to handle this particularapplication that we may have purchased from a vendor like HP. So, we can really focus on thosecore competencies.Gardner: And you havent had any complaints about things like security, performance, orlatency. It all it seems work for you?Jackson: There are some trade-offs, obviously, that youre going to have from a securitystandpoint, and the HP guys can tell you about this as well. They can go through all the details,but we did go through their security documentation to make sure that it was adequate for whatwe needed.
If there are compliance issues that you have to take into account, they’ll work with you. Its avery secure environment. So, we were pleasantly surprised when we started looking at that.Gardner: Before we dig more deeply into how youre doing SaaS and how youve gone involvedwith it, tell me a bit about Cardinal Health, what kind of organization you are, and maybe evensome details about your IT organization.Industry leaderJackson: At Cardinal Health, our slogan is "Essential to Healthcare." We want to be a healthcare industry leader providing a diverse, inclusive work environment that reﬂects the marketplace and communities where we do business, while maximizing our competitive advantage through innovation, proﬁt, and adaptability. Some facts about Cardinal Health: we’ve got 32,000-plus employees. We are number 17 on the Fortune 500 list. So, were a very large company. The latest estimate that I saw on our public website cardinalhealth.com was that well do about $100 billion in revenue this ﬁscal year. Our ﬁscal year ends in June, so were pretty conﬁdent at this point that were going to hit that number. We deliver to 60,000 different healthcare sites each day.Think about the healthcare industry. If you go into a hospital say, all the different products thatyou might consume or use or may be used upon you, whether youre having a procedure done orwhatever, that could have been manufactured, developed, or just distributed with some of oursuppliers through Cardinal Health.For example, half of all surgeries in the United States last year, used at least one product of ours.We deliver more than 25 percent of all medications prescribed in the US each day. That’s just togive you a rough example.Gardner: I certainly can appreciate that the need for scale is there. Tell me about the IT supportnow and your role in making sure these applications are performing and are safe and reliable.What kind of scale are you dealing with?Jackson: We work very tightly with our business analyst community. Our group speciﬁcallydoesn’t actually interface directly with our customers, but we interface very closely with ourbusiness analysts to generate requirements both from the functional and non-functional.Our group speciﬁcally, focuses on non-functional in the performance engineer realm to establishgood service level agreements (SLAs) beforehand. On the HP website, there is a webinar that Idid for them a year ago, where we talk about back to basics for performance engineering andfocusing on planning.
If you dont plan right, your chances of success are very minimal even in a performance realm,and you end up not meeting what the customer or your client needs. Whereas, when you workwith them and develop a good non-functional requirements you have the opportunity to deliverreally what they need and want instead of what they think they want.Gardner: Tell me a little bit about ﬁrst, your experience with HP products, and then second,your experience in moving into SaaS delivery?Y2K testingJackson: I was a former Mercury customer way back in the day. I started in 1997 working onthe HP products -- Mercury products back then. I worked on WinRunner 2000, when were all doing Y2K testing which was an absolute joy -- if youll pardon the sarcasm -- as you all remember Y2K was for IT folks. It was a lot of work. Its funny how the general public thinks it was just a big sham because nothing happened. Well, thats because of a lot of IT professionals spent a lot of man- years effort to make it so that that happened. Ive used the functional testing products, functional automation. When I movedinto Cardinal, there was a recognized gap. Our network engineers did our performance testing,and network engineerings focus wasnt what we thought it needed to be. So, we took that overand started doing that. With that also came a relationship that we already had with HPs SaaSorganization, back when it was called ActiveWatch.I dont know if you remember that, but ActiveWatch was what today is business processmonitoring through a hosted service. I took that over back in late 2002 or early 2003. Andinitially my reaction was probably what a lot of people listening to this reaction would be whenthey think about SaaS. What can I do and how quickly can I bring it in-house? That was myinitial reaction, and I had a very wise manager at the time. He said, "Just give it six monthsbefore you do it." He told me to get myself familiar with it and go from there.So, I spent six months and I just kind let it be how it was and I got to work with our technicalaccount manager at the time. It became a situation where not only did I feel that it was valuableto keep it that way, but I started realizing that I was able to focus on our core competencies.We went from just having BSM through SaaS. Im trying to use the current HP acronyms,because they like to change names on us. At the time, it was just BSM that we had through SaaS.Now, weve Quality Center through SaaS, BSM through SaaS, and Performance Center throughSaaS.I spoke here at the conference about how leveraging SaaS, not only can we focus on our corecompetencies, but time to market is a huge beneﬁt. When you look at a healthcare industry, youhave to look at new applications when you stand them up. Do I have FDA validation concerns?
Do I have to put this into a validated environment? Do I have HIPAA compliance concerns? Do Ihave SaaS compliance concerns? All that kind of stuff.Its almost at a turnkey level when you work with SaaS, assuming that youve established a goodrelationship with your sales staff and your client account manager. We were able to stand upPerformance Center, which is an enterprise application, in one week. From the time we signedthe deal until the time we were live, executing performance tests, was one week, and I thinkthats very powerful.Gardner: And of course, upgrades, patches, these things also happen rapidly and without toomuch thought on your part?Jackson: Absolutely. Im sure no one has ever experienced any problems with any upgrades atall because its such a seamless and easy way to do it.Another layer of testingThe SaaS organization takes another layer of testing that they do before they even recommendto us that we should start looking at it and potentially upgrade. The SaaS guys work with us veryclosely, for example, with ALM 11. Its a radical shift from the Performance Center, QualityCenter days. It really is, and were still not on ALM 11. Weve chosen that because we want tomake sure that its ready and do our due diligence to make sure that its ready.The SaaS organization is doing a lot of testing on it right now to make sure that in a multi-tenantenvironment it will perform and function the way that we need it to. Once they feel its readythen they are going to provide a testing environment for us, so that we can do our own testing in-house to make sure its ready.All of that stuff, all of that set up, all that conversion is done by them. I dont have to worry aboutit. Ill have to go through the plan. From my perspective, once they feel its ready, then we dosome testing, and I can scale back the level of testing that I have to do, because a lot of thatsalready been covered by them, and off we go.A great example – we upgraded point releases of BSM, when we went from 7.5 to 7.51 to 7.52and 7.55. I got a notiﬁcation from them that they were putting in this point release and I wasntgoing to have any downtime. I came in Monday morning, and instead of 7.51, it now said 7.55.Thats really powerful, and that goes back to my core competencies. I dont have to focus or beconcerned about that. I can let the guys who are specialists and really know in-depth the HPtools, which would be HP, focus on that, and I can focus on what my customers or clients need.Gardner: This is probably a question for an enterprise architect, but Ill ask you, given yourdepth of experience and your trust and results from SaaS. Were hearing a lot about cloud andwere hearing a lot about moving towards dev-ops. Do you think that what work youve done, the
experience youve established, would lead to an easier path for you to do more SaaS and perhapseven start using private or hybrid clouds for operations and deployment?Jackson: Its deﬁnitely something that our CIO has been talking about. Lets be honest, SaaS is atype of cloud. It really is a type of cloud. Its now new. Were just calling it "cloud." Its anotherone of those marketing terms. But, cloud is a huge thing.Vendors, come in and talk about different capabilities, not just HP but other vendors obviously.Were a big company and we deal with a lot of vendors. We typically will ask them, can this beimplemented through SaaS or through a cloud model?Once again, for the same reasons, youre the expert in your tool. You know your tool. If we thinkit can bring value to us, lets work on that value realization instead of us trying to become anexpert in your tool.Gardner: Well great. Weve been hearing about Cardinal Health and their vision and use of SaaSin the application requirements and development, deployment and test phases, and it sounds likeperhaps this is a harbinger of more SaaS and cloud activities for them.I want to thank our guest, weve been joined by Don Jackson. He is Senior Engineer in theTesting Center for Excellence in the Performance Engineering Group at Cardinal Health. Thanksso much, Don.Jackson: Thank you again, it was a pleasure.Gardner: And, I also want to thank our audience for joining this special BrieﬁngsDirect podcastcoming to you from the HP Discover 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. Im Dana Gardner, PrincipalAnalyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of User Experience Discussions. Thanksagain for listening, and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HPTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on the experience of Cardinal Health in using software-as-a-service tools from HP to develop and test applications. Copyright Interarbor Solutions,LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Discover Case Study: Seagate Ramps Up Dev-Ops Beneﬁts with HP Application Lifecycle Management Tools • HP Discover Interview: Security Evangelist Rafal Los on Balancing Risk and Reward Amid Consumerization of IT • HP delivers applications appliance solutions that leverage converged infrastructure for virtualization, data management • HP takes plunge on dual cloud bursting: public and-or private apps support comes of age
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