Our client wanted to know. He didn’t have to ask twice.
When a company offers over 350,000 products to a million doctors, dentists, laboratories, and other healthcare professionals in 30+ countries around the world, it naturally generates massive amounts of data about sales, suppliers, products, and customers. Used wisely, this information can provide a huge competitive edge, allowing nimble response to market demands, better supply chain management, and sharper planning and forecasting.
The problem? All this valuable data was trapped in individual legacy systems in hundreds of different places.
Our client had been brought it to break this logjam. But he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. So he turned to a partner he knew and trusted: Marlabs.
BUILDING THE DATA AND ANALYTIC FOUNDATION FOR BETTER GLOBAL DECISION MAKING
Although he would have preferred it, our client didn’t have the time or budget to replace the company’s fragmented, siloed, aging IT infrastructure with newer technology. So he tasked Marlabs with creating a data lake by building and managing a cloud-based data extraction and normalization engine that could be bolted on to the existing infrastructure. He also asked us to build in the capability to automatically (or on demand) create critical reports and analyses and deliver them to decision-makers every day.
WHAT MARLABS HAS DELIVERED
In just nine months, we completed building a cloud-based superstructure on top of hundreds of legacy data depositories to continuously capture, clean, and stream data into a global data lake. And we built an automated system that brings critical analyses and reports to managers’ and executives’ desks every morning or on demand. Today, we continue to manage and maintain this system and to add new functionality and data sources to it.
Great data matters a great deal
When people in different areas spend their time tussling over which data is “correct”—or worse, they can’t access data that they trust in making decisions, that’s a big problem. People start pulling away from each other, rather than pulling together to get things done. Decisions are made less optimally. And across the organization, performance can take a big hit.
What’s more, our client saw huge opportunities to insert new digital capabilities at key points throughout the company’s processes. But knew that, without a strong data management foundation, these other initiatives would be more likely to founder than to flourish.
So our client was determined to solve the data situation as quickly as possible, while keeping different parts of the organization fully informed, involved, and supportive of the effort…and minimizing any negative impact on existing systems.
In other words, this was just type of interesting challenge we Martians like to sink our teeth into.
Our approach: create a central data lake—without a tsunami of disruption
In nine months, without disturbing the underlying systems, Marlabs business consultants, technologists, data specialists, and solutions architects launched an intelligent data lake that now serves as a single source of truth across the entire company.
- First, we rapidly completed an audit of all critical data sources in the world to understand the information they were capturing, the data schema, and the technology and systems involved.
- We assessed data quality, timeliness, and authority, working across the company to obtain agreement on the best sources for critical data.
- Next, we constructed a cloud-based solution automatically extracts, cleans, and normalizes data from this wide range of local and corporate data capture systems and schema—and intelligently manages gaps, transmission glitches, disparities, and other data quality issues.
- We created a data lake that included strong management and compliance tools, as well as robust analytics capabilities—creating a centralized “intelligent data layer” to serve as a single source of truth.
- Finally, we integrated reporting software into the solution. Working with executives and managers, we sketched out the reports they needed. Then we developed an automated process to create and deliver these reports every morning or on demand.
We’re continuing to provide full support.
Our client determined it would be far more effective—to say nothing of more cost-efficient—for Marlabs to manage the data lake we had created. So today, a small team of Marlabs specialists provides user support, daily operational oversight, system maintenance, and ongoing integration of new data sources.
We’re helping the company plan for expanded digital innovation
With a central data foundation and the means to continually capture and use new data flows, the company now can seize major new opportunities to insert digital where it matters, including:
- Using smart sensors and other IoT technology to make dramatic improvements throughout their supply chain. With over 300,000 products to source, deliver, and deliver worldwide, massive opportunities to leverage digital advances are pretty much everywhere:
- Inventory control with smart sensors that track physical location, temperatures, and handling issues.
- Integration with EMR to aid in forecasting demand and proactively guide physicians and dentists on maintaining their inventory levels.
- Intelligent fleet management to optimize routing and maintain oversight over deliveries and driver performance.
- Improving product performance, reliability, and uptime. Smart sensors can monitor performance of specialized equipment, such as dentists’ care stations, to ensure highest performance and provide early warnings on any maintenance needs.
- Giving field sales and service a big digital boost. Digital solutions can transform the field experience in so many ways: providing salespeople and technicians with relevant customer data; automating onerous, repetitive paperwork and reporting; allowing technicians to instantly diagnose equipment issues—to name just a few.
- Providing a NextGen user experience through all customer touchpoints with 3600 view and more immersive interactive experiences through digital channels.
- Single source of truth for data—breaking down silos and improving collaboration across the company.
- Dramatically shorter time to insights and significantly improved decision quality.
- Better ability to plan, forecast, and pivot.
- Critical foundation for new digital innovations.
- New capability that expands the functionality of existing systems without disrupting them.
TRUST… IN THE FUTURE
As COVID-19 continues to have significant impact on global medical and dental practices, the company is focusing its efforts on meeting new market demands in the short term. In the longer term, however, it plans to refocus on capturing the digital opportunities it has identified across its supply chain and throughout its sales, service, and marketing operations.
Marlabs stands ready to help.