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HP Software's community for IT leaders // April 2012

SaaS lets Cardinal Health sharpen its focus

Cardinal Health uses SaaS tools to improve ALM, quality and productivity.

Every day, Cardinal Health plays a role in treating the sick and saving lives around the world. The company—No. 19 on the Fortune 500, with more than 30,000 employees—delivers pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 60,000 locations each day. It manufacturers a large portfolio of medical and surgical products, from the gloves that nurses wear to the fluids that surgeons use during operations.
The business applications behind these processes ensure that the right medicines reach the right location in a timely fashion. About 60 critical order-flow apps oversee more than two-thirds of Cardinal Health’s revenue, and ensure that supplies and medicines reach customers on time. To say that a robust test solution was needed for those apps would be an understatement.
At the same time, Cardinal Health is not in the business of creating and maintaining business apps. To allow IT to concentrate resources on core applications that differentiate Cardinal from its competitors, the company has long included software as a service (SaaS) in its portfolio.
“[SaaS] allows us to focus on our primary core competencies and on what our clients and customers need,” says Don Jackson, senior engineer in Cardinal’s Testing Center of Excellence.
A sweet SaaS suite
Cardinal Health relies on three major SaaS offerings from HP: Business Service Management, Quality Center and Performance Center for testing. The ability to use these application in a SaaS model not only frees IT to do what it does best, but it also leads to faster time to market. And that’s crucial in the healthcare industry, where issues such as FDA validation and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance can slow down time to market.
The Testing Center of Excellence had been relying on HP’s LoadRunner to manage the functional testing, load testing, demand management and end-user management of its critical applications. But as test requirements grew, the team needed an even more flexible solution that would scale to meet increased demand. At the same time, given the team’s fixed budget, the solution had to increase efficiencies and reduce overall operating costs.
“It's almost at a turnkey level when you work with SaaS, assuming that you've established a good relationship with your sales staff and your client account manager,” Jackson says. “We were able to stand up Performance Center, which is an enterprise application, in one week. From the time we signed the deal until the time we were live, executing performance tests, was one week, and I think that's very powerful.”
It’s even more powerful when stacked against the company’s estimate for an internal rollout: six months. The transition to SaaS included project definitions, more than 40 load generator allocations, host pool configuration, validation of the environment, training end-users and kicking off the first load test using the SaaS platform. The second phase established further integrations through a dedicated tunnel between HP SaaS and Cardinal.
Centered on excellence
The benefits of Cardinal Health’s SaaS initiative are many. The company recently documented the following:

  • The company achieved 100 percent ROI in first year of the project, thanks to increased efficiencies and reduced labor costs.
  • Test coverage has increased by 33 percent with the same number of resources.
  • Test analysis has accelerated by 75 percent.

The company also counts not having to keep up with upgrades as a major benefit. New versions of the tool are implemented without requiring in-house IT staff to lose focus on core applications.
Jackson says, “Leveraging SaaS, not only can we focus on our core competencies, but time to market is a huge benefit.”
The advantages aren’t all about cost and speed, though. HP’s diagnostics revealed memory leaks and configuration challenges in an in-production application. Had the flaws not been found and fixed, the critical app could have failed. Consequences could have included a large financial blow and failure to route medicines to pharmacy and hospital clients on time.
The net result? Better, faster, smarter IT, more successfully and efficiently serving the goals of the business. For more on HP’s SaaS solutions, check out HP’s Software as a Service portal.


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