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How Pharmaceutical Companies Master the Path to the Cloud

Best practice for SaaS migration

SaaS Migration in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Masterfully Moving from On-Premise to the Cloud
Digital Transformation
Healthcare & Life Science

Cloud, cloud and more cloud - it's the buzzword of digitalization that the pharmaceutical industry can't get past. Careful planning and implementation is essential when migrating software to the cloud, as the security and accuracy of pharmaceutical companies' data is a top priority. With challenges like these, the benefits of moving to the cloud need to be clearly defined. This is exactly what the following blog article is about:

  • What distinguishes SaaS (Software as a Service) from on-premises solutions?
  • What requirements must be met?
  • Are there already best practices from the pharmaceutical industry?

You have questions, we have the answers and will show you how our serialization solution Arvato CSDB at the customer Bluepharma to show you what successful implementation looks like.

On-Premise vs. Cloud

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On-premises solutions describe software and databases that are installed and operated on local servers within a company's premises. They are managed and maintained by the internal IT department. This has the significant advantage that companies always retain complete control over their IT infrastructure. However, on-premises solutions are associated with high initial investments in hardware and ongoing maintenance costs. In addition, administration and maintenance require considerable human resources.

Cloud solutions, on the other hand, refer to the provision of IT resources and services via the internet by an external provider. Instead of buying and managing their own hardware and software, companies use the infrastructure, platforms and software solutions hosted in the cloud provider's data centers. Thanks to access to computing power, storage and applications, cloud services offer flexible, scalable and cost-effective solutions. In contrast to the on-premises variant, there are no high initial investments. The cloud provider takes care of maintenance and updates, which significantly reduces the internal IT load and enables rapid adaptation to changing business requirements.

The reasons for switching to the cloud are therefore obvious. Pharmaceutical companies reduce enormous IT infrastructure costs and can better control their expenditure through subscription-based models. Other key advantages are the scalability and easy accessibility of data and applications, which are available at any time and from any location. The continuous further development of a SaaS solution through regular updates and new functions also has a particularly positive effect.

Guide for Successful Cloud Migration in Pharmaceutical Companies

As exciting as the journey to the cloud is, the process is just as demanding. Careful preparation is the key. With the right approach, pharmaceutical companies can benefit from greater flexibility, scalability, and efficiency in the cloud. Here are the key steps and challenges for an optimal cloud migration:

Planning and strategy development

Choosing the right cloud provider

Data migration and integration

Implementing and testing the systems

Training and change management

The first and most important step is thorough planning and strategy development. Pharmaceutical companies should take the time to develop a detailed migration strategy. This includes timelines, resources and responsibilities. Take a close look at your infrastructure! Which systems and applications are in place? How complex are they and what dependencies exist? An analysis that is as precise as possible helps to create a solid migration plan.

Your desired provider must meet the specific requirements of the pharmaceutical industry and offer high security and compliance standards. For companies, especially in the pharmaceutical sector, the protection of sensitive data and intellectual property rights is absolutely essential. A comprehensive security and compliance plan ensures that all relevant standards and legal requirements are met.

Draw up a detailed plan for data migration and integration to ensure the integrity and security of sensitive data from research and production, for example. There are many specialized tools and services that can facilitate this transition. A step-by-step migration, starting with less critical systems, often makes sense. This allows you to gain initial experience and identify potential problems at an early stage. This approach helps pharmaceutical companies to identify and eliminate weak points - before the entire infrastructure is moved to the cloud.

The implementation and testing of the new systems are crucial phases. Comprehensive tests ensure that everything works as expected. Test and pilot phases are a must in order to test the migration on a small scale and identify any problems at an early stage. In this way, necessary adjustments can be made in good time and companies can ensure that the systems run stably and efficiently when the big move to the cloud takes place.

The introduction of new technologies often means that work processes have to change and employees have to get used to new tools and interfaces. To ensure that departments and end users are prepared for the new cloud systems, it is advisable to rely on targeted training and effective change management.

Best Practice Bluepharma: Successful Migration to the Cloud and the Role of Arvato Systems’ Serialization Solution

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In the dynamic field of the pharmaceutical industry, the switch to Software as a Service (SaaS) is an important step that requires careful planning, professional implementation and a strong partnership. Bluepharma, a Portuguese company in the pharmaceutical industry, has successfully made this transition.

Before discussing the specific challenges and successes Bluepharma has experienced with cloud migration, we would like to highlight the role of Arvato Systems and specifically the serialization solution "Arvato CSDB" to describe it. Arvato CSDB stands for more than just serialization: it is a comprehensive solution that can be integrated into existing IT landscapes and enables the reliable exchange of serialization data. It is used by over 80 pharmaceutical companies and ensures a smooth serialization process as well as the seamless implementation of legal requirements in order to bring counterfeit-proof medicines into circulation.

One of the biggest challenges Bluepharma faced was data migration and maintenance. The company had to ensure that all data was migrated correctly from the on-premises database to the SaaS solution, which was a challenge given the large amount of data. There were also concerns about data security in a cloud environment and connections to customers. To ensure that no important information was lost and business processes could continue seamlessly, Bluepharma first carried out a complete migration to SaaS and created a backup copy of the data on the day the old system was shut down. This was preceded by very precise planning so that all data could be transferred properly. Thanks to regular iterations and feedback loops, the company was able to react quickly to changes and continuously optimize the migration process.

The efficiency and performance of their database improved significantly after implementing the SaaS service. The impact on the packaging lines was noticeable as there were fewer issues with the database, which directly led to increased productivity. The positive side of the SaaS migration at Bluepharma can also be seen in the company's increased involvement in upgrade operations, as well as a more efficient and responsive support service. Arvato Systems is now responsible for the database, which simplifies the support service. Requesting logs, starting scripts and other processes are no longer necessary. Nevertheless, validation by QA required increased attention and effort - a problem that Bluepharma is working on.

Overall, the SaaS migration was a complete success for Bluepharma. The smooth transition to SaaS has put the company in a stronger position for further growth and success in the future. It was not only a technological advancement, but also a testament to Bluepharma's commitment to innovation in their digital transformation.

Start your SaaS migration now

It is crucial for IT and serialization managers in the pharmaceutical industry to educate themselves on the opportunities and benefits of cloud migration. There are numerous resources and experts who can provide valuable support. By talking to professionals and looking at successful case studies, pharma companies can identify best practices for their own migration. Migrating from on-premise solutions to SaaS offers numerous benefits, from cost savings to increased flexibility and security. With the right strategies and best practices, companies can overcome the challenges of cloud migration and reap the benefits of a modern IT infrastructure.

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Written by

Andrej Lautenschläger
Andrej Lautenschläger
Expert for Digital Transformation in the Pharmaceutical Industry