“IT landscapes are evolving rapidly as businesses look for new ways to disrupt markets, create differentiation, and capture market share,” says Anthony Patullo, Head of Advisory & Project Delivery at Stratos Consulting. “The challenge for support organizations is keeping up. They need to support the current application landscape at defined service levels while simultaneously defining and executing a strategy and transition roadmap to support the future state.”
Developing a support strategy to meet current and future requirements isn’t as easy as it sounds. It entails validating the current state, applying application roadmaps, and evaluating the future requirements of the business in terms of technology adoption, lifecycles, and scalability. The end goal is to create a flexible support structure meeting the needs of the future state—based on a clearly defined, long-term strategy—while accommodating short-term variations in response to changing market conditions.
“The challenge is knowing what the business will actually need,” explains Patullo. “Future state support structures must align to the business trajectory and include change management as a critical component. Unfortunately, many companies fall into the habit of implementing short-term, incremental changes rather than creating a long-term support strategy based on a bold vision of the company’s future state. That’s why we believe implementing a support strategy as a business enabler requires a formal, structured approach based on the current and future states of the organization.”
Supporting the future state of a large pharmaceutical organization
“A large pharmaceutical company we’d been working with experienced rapid growth after adopting a shared service model to expand their business,” states Patullo. “As a result, the financial applications support team struggled to keep up with day-to-day tasks, recognizing bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their processes. For example, the leadership team was spending a lot of time mitigating issues instead of focusing on other mission-critical tasks. Stratos Consulting was invited to help optimize their multi-year support roadmap based on current and future state technologies and team structures with the goal of ensuring the department’s long term success.”
A management consulting group driving transformation through technology and automation, Stratos Consulting advises, implements, and enables life science businesses to scale their success by leveraging deep expertise and a proven methodology. Using a data-driven approach, Stratos consultants employ state-of-the-art technology to simplify and streamline processes, minimize redundancy, and empower people. Partnering with clients throughout the project lifecycle, Stratos strives to help accelerate innovation to improve the lives of the patients they serve.
“We’d been working with the client’s finance, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), and research and development (R&D) teams since 2018 as their primary technology consultant,” highlights Patullo, “so we already knew their business, applications, and people. The new project entailed leveraging our knowledge and experience to create a gap analysis. We started with the department’s goals and focus areas before mapping the current and desired future states, identifying gaps, and developing an action plan and recommendations for the executive team.”
Evaluating current state infrastructure and support models
“Before we could create a future state support model,” explains Patullo, “we needed to analyze the financial data warehouse (FDW) to determine whether the client’s core architecture could scale seamlessly in line with projected demand as a shared services provider. We also needed to evaluate whether the structure of their existing application support model could support the current and future state of their financial systems.”
After engaging with key stakeholders, Stratos consultants began a detailed assessment of the client’s Oracle databases and data warehouse, Informatica data integration tools, and Hyperion financial and workforce planning and reporting platforms.
Proposing a future state support model
“We carefully analyzed the financial data warehouse to see if there was anything we could do to improve its scalability to satisfy future growth,” says Patullo. “This involved applying our experience and industry best practices to the findings to every aspect of database management, including indexes, partitions, data volume growth, data validation processes, and other areas.”
Facilitating workshops with members of the client’s financial application support team, Stratos consultants documented their processes and activities, capturing a holistic view of the support model as it relates to the FDW, Hyperion, and Informatica environments.
“Stratos performed a detailed assessment of the client’s current and future state technology and support needs,” expands Patullo, “creating a high-level roadmap for continued evaluation and scaling of the FDW ecosystem as technologies and processes evolve. In addition, we provided recommendations for enhancing the core architecture of the FDW based on best practices and the latest innovations in database technology platforms.”
Ensuring long term success with a multi-year support roadmap
“We’d done all of the hard work,” says Patullo, “but we still needed to present our final findings and proposals to the financial applications support team. Since we employ a collaborative approach, there were no surprises, and they immediately gave us the go-ahead to present our proposal to the entire executive leadership team.”
The executive presentation captured the key elements of the project and proposed a multi-year support roadmap aligned with the business’s projected growth, including additional headcounts, managed services support, and new technology requirements. It also included a comprehensive change management plan for implementing the recommendations.
“The feedback from the executive team on our recommendations was extremely positive,” reports Patullo. “I’m confident that implementing our recommendations will ensure the long-term success of the financial applications support team and contribute significantly to the company’s growth as a shared services provider.”