Welcome!

Log Management Authors: Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Case Study: How Cardinal Health Uses SaaS Tools to Improve ALM

This enterprise case study discussion focuses on how software as a service (SaaS) is impacting the application lifecycle

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the experience of Cardinal Health in using software-as-a-service tools from HP to develop and test applications.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. We're here on the Discover show floor 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.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I'll be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions.

We're now going to look at how software as a service (SaaS) is impacting the application lifecycle through the experience of Cardinal Health. I'm here with Don Jackson, a Senior Engineer in the Testing Center of Excellence within the Performance Engineering Group at Cardinal Health, in Dublin, Ohio. Welcome to the show, Don. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Don Jackson: Thanks for having me.

Gardner: Tell me, from a high-level perspective, why SaaS is appealing to you. Just on general terms, why SaaS, even for applications or in development-testing? What makes it appealing to you?

Jackson: SaaS is a service offering, not just for testing and for development, but as a simple service offering, that allows us to focus on our primary core competencies and on what our clients and customers need, rather than focusing on trying to learn how to handle this particular application that we may have purchased from a vendor like HP. So, we can really focus on those core competencies. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

Gardner: And you haven't had any complaints about things like security, performance, or latency. It all it seems work for you?

Jackson: There are some trade-offs, obviously, that you're going to have from a security standpoint, 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 what we needed.

If there are compliance issues that you have to take into account, they’ll work with you. It's a very secure environment. So, we were pleasantly surprised when we started looking at that.

Gardner: Before we dig more deeply into how you're doing SaaS and how you've gone involved with it, tell me a bit about Cardinal Health, what kind of organization you are, and maybe even some details about your IT organization.

Industry leader

Jackson: 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, we're a very large company. The latest estimate that I saw on our public website cardinalhealth.com was that we'll do about $100 billion in revenue this fiscal year. Our fiscal year ends in June, so we're pretty confident at this point that we're 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 that you might consume or use or may be used upon you, whether you're having a procedure done or whatever, that could have been manufactured, developed, or just distributed with some of our suppliers 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 to give you a rough example.

Gardner: I certainly can appreciate that the need for scale is there. Tell me about the IT support now and your role in making sure these applications are performing and are safe and reliable. What kind of scale are you dealing with?

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.



Jackson: We work very tightly with our business analyst community. Our group specifically doesn’t actually interface directly with our customers, but we interface very closely with our business analysts to generate requirements both from the functional and non-functional.

Our group specifically, focuses on non-functional in the performance engineer realm to establish good service level agreements (SLAs) beforehand. On the HP website, there is a webinar that I did for them a year ago, where we talk about back to basics for performance engineering and focusing on planning.

If you don't 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 work with them and develop a good non-functional requirements you have the opportunity to deliver really 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 testing

Jackson: I was a former Mercury customer way back in the day. I started in 1997 working on the HP products -- Mercury products back then. I worked on WinRunner 2000, when we're all doing Y2K testing which was an absolute joy -- if you'll pardon the sarcasm -- as you all remember Y2K was for IT folks. It was a lot of work.

It's funny how the general public thinks it was just a big sham because nothing happened. Well, that's because of a lot of IT professionals spent a lot of man-years effort to make it so that that happened.

I've used the functional testing products, functional automation. When I moved into Cardinal, there was a recognized gap. Our network engineers did our performance testing, and network engineering's focus wasn't what we thought it needed to be. So, we took that over and started doing that. With that also came a relationship that we already had with HP's SaaS organization, back when it was called ActiveWatch.

I don't know if you remember that, but ActiveWatch was what today is business process monitoring through a hosted service. I took that over back in late 2002 or early 2003. And initially my reaction was probably what a lot of people listening to this reaction would be when they think about SaaS. What can I do and how quickly can I bring it in-house? That was my initial reaction, and I had a very wise manager at the time. He said, "Just give it six months before 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 technical account manager at the time. It became a situation where not only did I feel that it was valuable to keep it that way, but I started realizing that I was able to focus on our core competencies.

Do I have FDA validation concerns? Do I have to put this into a validated environment? Do I have HIPAA compliance concerns? Do I have SaaS compliance concerns?



We went from just having BSM through SaaS. I'm 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, we've Quality Center through SaaS, BSM through SaaS, and Performance Center through SaaS.

I spoke here at the conference about how leveraging SaaS, not only can we focus on our core competencies, but time to market is a huge benefit. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

When you look at a healthcare industry, you have 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 I have SaaS compliance concerns? All that kind of stuff.

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. 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.

Gardner: And of course, upgrades, patches, these things also happen rapidly and without too much thought on your part?

Jackson: Absolutely. I'm sure no one has ever experienced any problems with any upgrades at all because it's such a seamless and easy way to do it.

Another layer of testing


T
he SaaS organization takes another layer of testing that they do before they even recommend to us that we should start looking at it and potentially upgrade. The SaaS guys work with us very closely, for example, with ALM 11. It's a radical shift from the Performance Center, Quality Center days. It really is, and we're still not on ALM 11. We've chosen that because we want to make sure that it's ready and do our due diligence to make sure that it's ready.

The SaaS organization is doing a lot of testing on it right now to make sure that in a multi-tenant environment it will perform and function the way that we need it to. Once they feel it's ready then they are going to provide a testing environment for us, so that we can do our own testing in-house to make sure it's ready.

All of that stuff, all of that set up, all that conversion is done by them. I don't have to worry about it. I'll have to go through the plan. From my perspective, once they feel it's ready, then we do some testing, and I can scale back the level of testing that I have to do, because a lot of that's already 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 7.52 and 7.55. I got a notification from them that they were putting in this point release and I wasn't going to have any downtime. I came in Monday morning, and instead of 7.51, it now said 7.55.

That's really powerful, and that goes back to my core competencies. I don't have to focus or be concerned about that. I can let the guys who are specialists and really know in-depth the HP tools, which would be HP, focus on that, and I can focus on what my customers' or clients' need.

SaaS is a type of cloud. It's now new. We're just calling it "cloud."



Gardner: This is probably a question for an enterprise architect, but I'll ask you, given your depth of experience and your trust and results from SaaS. We're hearing a lot about cloud and we're hearing a lot about moving toward dev-ops. Do you think that what work you've done, the experience you've established, would lead to an easier path for you to do more SaaS and perhaps even start using private or hybrid clouds for operations and deployment?

Jackson: It's definitely something that our CIO has been talking about. Let's be honest, SaaS is a type of cloud. It really is a type of cloud. It's now new. We're just calling it "cloud." It's another one 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. We're a big company and we deal with a lot of vendors. We typically will ask them, can this be implemented through SaaS or through a cloud model?

Once again, for the same reasons, you're the expert in your tool. You know your tool. If we think it can bring value to us, let's work on that value realization instead of us trying to become an expert in your tool.

Gardner: Well great. We've been hearing about Cardinal Health and their vision and use of SaaS in the application requirements and development, deployment and test phases, and it sounds like perhaps this is a harbinger of more SaaS and cloud activities for them.

I want to thank our guest, we've been joined by Don Jackson. He is Senior Engineer in the Testing Center for Excellence in the Performance Engineering Group at Cardinal Health. Thanks so much, Don.

Jackson: Thank you again, it was a pleasure. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

Gardner: And, I also want to thank our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect podcast coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of User Experience Discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Transcript 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:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.