Altis Consulting has taken pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor Sigma Healthcare’s ageing data infrastructure and replaced it with streamlined data storage consolidation and access, as well as internal data sharing practices.
Working with Snowflake, the two companies were brought in to provide an alternative to Sigma’s legacy, on-premise infrastructure that was no longer meeting its needs, according to Dean Reynolds, the wholesaler and distributor’s head of data and analytics.
“We were also restricted by the fact that we actually had three data warehouses in use which meant our data was very fragmented and siloed,” he said,
After considering a range of alternatives, Sigma’s IT team selected Snowflake under a flexible pricing model and implemented it in 2021, weighing up total cost of ownership, required management resources, privacy obligations, data sharing capabilities and capacity to meet future needs, such as those in advanced analytics.
Additionally, the vendor’s cloud and separation of storage and compute resources capabilities were also viewed as important factors.
“We could see that Snowflake could also provide us with the opportunity to work with both structured and semi-structured data within the same platform. Its design also means there is no longer a need for us to undertake indexing, partitioning, or compression as that is all handled by the platform,” Reynolds said.
As a result of the implementation, ongoing support costs have dropped by over 30 per cent and the time taken for batch processing jobs has fallen from eight to 10 hours to under three.
Additionally, Sigma’s data security has improved with the new system and data can now be more readily shared with suppliers, customers and Sigma’s subsidiary company Nostra Data, the latter of which receiving consolidated and deidentified data.
“We can see that Snowflake gives us a significant opportunity to further improve our business processes,” Reynolds said. “For example, with increased accuracy in demand forecasting, we can drive substantial savings and improvements to our operations."
“The bottom line is that we are in the business of saving lives. We need to be able to reliably deliver critical medicine to those who need them within 24 hours regardless of where they are located in the country. Knowing, understanding and being able to access our data is an important resource that helps to make this capability a reality,” he added.