This international biotechnology company develops solutions to address the unmet medical needs of patients, including therapeutics for rare and orphan diseases. As a global player in a highly competitive field, the company needed to ensure that its financial reporting and ERP systems were best-of-breed, compatible and responsive. The company also needed to make regular updates to its production environment without incident.
Challenge: Updating ERP Systems Is a Complex, Risky and Expensive Process
The existing financial system was a varied mix of enterprise applications, including Dynamics SL, SAP BPC and IBM Cognos TM1. Its complexity made changes difficult, and the risks of failed implementation were heightened because of the potential negative impact to business. Due to caution, cost and complexity, the company only updated its production environment every three months.
Update challenges were myriad. Test and development environments were not identical to production, featuring different IP addresses, names and security rights. Test deployments relied on data that was several months old. The company’s secondary environments were a logistical nightmare, featuring three times the number of servers in production and generating hugely expensive SAN costs. Replacing the end-of-life hardware for these environments was expected to cost $600,000.
Furthermore, considerable time was needed to update the development, test and UAT environments. The company had to move data to test environments, cleanse it and then ensure the correct versions were deployed. They spent $60,000 for each environment refresh, so the process was only undertaken once per quarter.
Solution: How the Kubisys Platform Simplifies, De-Risks, and Cuts Costs for Test Environment Creation
The company turned to Kubisys to accelerate the creation of secondary environments for testing. “On day one, Kubisys generated an accurate testing environment in less than 60 minutes, with all production data intact,” their Director of Financial Systems said.
The new secondary testing environment yielded several immediate benefits. The Kubisys Platform freed up $240,000 in funds that were spent each year to re-create and refresh environments. Their new test platform also increased production, allowing this fast-growing pharmaceutical company to create accurate environments as-needed, rather than only quarterly. The company estimates that it now refreshes its environments almost hundreds of times per year—and sometimes even daily.
Outcome: Quickly Created, Accurate Test Environments Saved the Company Significant Time and Money
Before Kubisys, the company regularly experienced detrimental issues in deployment, such as a missed script or forgotten security testing. With Kubisys, they now make a fresh capture of an up-to-date environment and can test deployments repeatedly, without issues and without affecting their production environment.
The company also experienced significant security benefits. They noted, “Test environments traditionally have more open security, while production environment security is more stringent. With mirrored, fully accurate environments, we can now ensure the application has the appropriate security and rights. Scripts that work in test no longer fail in production.”
Since the company’s secondary environments are virtualized, the IT team considered reverting back to the original snapshots to aid in troubleshooting. However, reverting back to the original snapshot would remove necessary configuration changes since production builds were only periodically updated. If the company now experiences a production problem, the company’s support teams can perform destructive testing within the Kubisys-powered environments.
Both accuracy and time were formerly large issues, but now the company can instantiate production-accurate environments and begin troubleshooting in 30 minutes.
Troubleshooting batch jobs had proven to be particularly problematic. Errors in batches are data-specific and are not typically an application issue. Support teams need to be able to see the data and understand how it is affected by the application, but the transaction that impacted the batch results was typically created during a prior transaction. In other words, the team couldn’t spot the impact until the next transaction in the batch occurred.
“With Kubisys, we re-capture the production system and essentially re-run the transaction process, yielding correct diagnoses. Our consultants can now perform near real-time troubleshooting. Time for problem resolution dropped by two thirds (66%) and resulted in a savings of over 60% for consultant break fix services,” explained one company executive.
The company reports that its biggest benefit in choosing the Kubisys Platform is an improvement in its overall business processes, with streamlined production, more intelligent resource application, a nimbler response time and the ability to spot problems before they grow.
For instance, they tested programmatic changes in their Multi-Company/Multi-Currency (MCIC) process with the latest data prior to deployment and realized they were headed down a bad path. Because of what was discovered by using the Kubisys Platform test environment, they were able to kill the project after the first round of testing, saving countless dollars and hours. They estimated that they’ve tripled their ability to test and make BPM changes while also being able to foresee financial and system impacts before they become real.
Ultimately, this company has become smarter, faster and more responsive as a direct result of using the Kubisys Platform.