Managing enterprise applications and systems is a growing challenge for organizations of all sizes. At Hologic, a developer, manufacturer and supplier of advanced diagnostic products, medical imaging systems and surgical products, the task is complicated by a series of acquisitions over the last several years.
“We don’t have DBA skills in house to manage enterprise systems and data effectively, and we don’t want to go out and find people with those skills,” says CIO Dave Rudzinsky.
But the challenges don’t stop there. In the past, the company, with annual revenues of approximately $2.5 billion, hosted many of its own enterprise applications, including Oracle ERP, Hyperion financial applications and Siebel CRM. However, Hologic found itself coping with increasingly complex and tricky platform upgrades that consumed money and resources.
As a result, the firm turned to a business and IT strategy that increasingly revolves around managed and hosted services. At the center of the equation is Data Intensity (DI), a managed and cloud services provider.
“The ability to move to 24/7 monitoring and management has transformed IT,” Rudzinsky says. “Our goal is to focus on the medical device business and not information technology. As a result of the initiative, our team is more strategically focused and able to address business issues that make a real difference to the company.”
The company began using a hosted and managed services approach more than a decade ago, he notes. However, over the last few years, the company has accelerated the move to the cloud.
The initiative has paid significant dividends, particularly as a global company operating 24/7. “We don’t require our IT staff to be involved in as many tactical issues, so they can go home and sleep at night,” he explains.
Hologic has transitioned almost all of its critical enterprise applications and services to DI. “We have continued to move to the hosted environment and see very little risk in the approach,” Rudzinsky reports. The company has opted to steer clear of a multitenant environment and remain on dedicated systems and high-performance platforms like Oracle Exadata.
The biggest challenge, Rudzinsky says, was making the cultural transition to a hosted environment. “Initially, some of the staff felt threatened by an external partner replacing them,” he acknowledges. “We had to help them understand that it didn’t mean losing their job and there was really no reason to feel threatened. The approach simply allowed them to work on more strategic and important things and grow in their knowledge and expertise.”
What’s more, from the start, Hologic made it a point to treat the staff at DI with the same respect as its internal employees. “Only a couple of times along the way we had to bring everyone together to remind them to work well together because we are all on the same team,” he recalls.
The end result? “We are able to focus on operational efficiencies and operational excellence, rather than spending a great deal of time keeping IT systems running smoothly,” Rudzinsky says. “It has proven to be a good partnership and a very effective way to run the business.”
Samuel Greengard, a contributing writer for CIO Insight, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.