Shift to Snowflake: Optimizing a Commercial Data Warehouse

Companies in the life sciences industry encounter numerous challenges, especially with the vast amount of pharmaceutical data they’re analyzing to gain a holistic view of their patients. These obstacles can be even more prominent when businesses utilize outdated technology or rely on underperforming outside sources.

This was the case for a commercial biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, MA, whose commercial data warehouse (CDW) was controlled and maintained by a vendor on whom they were heavily dependent for enhancements, fixes, and requests. This source pushed consolidated data to the biopharma’s Amazon Redshift CDW and Tableau but didn’t provide easy access to granular data.

The company considered bringing its CDW in-house on Snowflake’s Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud platform to address this issue and procure a more scalable, modern, and usable model. However, they first wanted to ensure the solution was the best for their long-term data strategy. This required the development of a proof of concept (POC) and selecting a resource to act as a liaison between the biopharma business and Snowflake to determine the components necessary for a successful result.

Enter Stratos Consulting. The pharma company has been engaged with Stratos since 2018 and knew they had the expertise to help transition their CDW to Snowflake.

“We thought that moving our CDW to Snowflake would help us with the SaaS model and enable us to spend less time working on our infrastructure,” explained the biopharma business’ head of IT. “Stratos Consulting recommended that we use the Snowflake platform because it would add more flexibility to and control of our data and help us enhance our overall forecasting. Plus, it aligned with our focus on being able to utilize more data-centric solutions to help the company overall make even better decisions.”

Stratos’ primary objectives during this project included:

  • Configuring Snowflake as their CDW
  • Connecting SSO through Okta
  • Migrating a high-volume data set to the new platform to test the overall performance

The consulting team also created Informatica Cloud processes to test data integration from flat files to Snowflake and built Tableau Snowflake data sources for the migrated data sets. Once that was complete, they conducted tests to gauge the performance against Redshift.

Stratos worked with Snowflake directly to validate that the ratio points were sound enough to support the pharma company’s business requirements. The Snowflake solution seamlessly integrates with Tableau for added performance benefits. In addition, its SaaS architecture automates tasks that otherwise require in-house DBA expertise and provides a user-friendly experience that lowers the time to get it up and running.

According to the head of IT at the company, “Because Stratos Consulting has an in-depth understanding of our environment and the numerous tools we use, they were able to help us navigate through the process, which allowed us to focus on some of our numerous other priorities. Not only do they have such great team expertise and display a high level of technical prowess, they always seem to be evolving and fit well with the nimble IT group we have.”