Turning data into a life-saving asset

By Jason Radford

A global leader in pharmaceuticals found themselves faced with a unique spin on a common challenge: Their biopharmaceutical division — responsible for producing vaccines and generating over $1 billion in annual sales — was struggling to turn raw data into trusted insights. 

Data underlies everything the global pharmaceutical company does, however, without data they can trust, they would be at risk of taking longer to get vaccines to market and incurring higher expenses along the way. Even worse, patients who are waiting for vaccines could suffer. 

A matter of life and death

For their customers, clean, timely data could be a matter of life or death. “About 40% of the world’s kids are vaccinated with one of our vaccines, so people have to be able to trust us,” points out a representative for the company. “In turn, we have to trust in the quality of the data we’re using for decision making. Quality data is the foundation for our value chain.” 

The pharmaceutical giant had 20 to 30 years of manufacturing history sitting in various silos. What they needed was a way to get that data to the experts and analysts who needed it. The company concluded they could get the job done more efficiently and easily with Talend, which would guarantee data quality and integrity from ingestion to governance. 

From reactive to proactive with Talend

When the company implemented Talend to make more data available more quickly to internal users, their first objective was to improve vaccine development. “We know patients are waiting for a vaccine to be made available,” says the Director of the Biopharmaceutical Division. “We want to make sure there is no deviation because of equipment failure, so we wanted to be able to predict whether a batch was going to fail on the manufacturing side. If we can predict that through signals from our data, we can move from reactive to proactive, and have dedicated resources at each site to handle deviations and prioritize accordingly.” 

A representative for the company describes the process of adopting Talend to manage their data. “We used Talend to bring that historical data into our data landscape in less than three months and deliver insights that allowed us to improve our production processes and increase vaccine manufacturing volume output by 15%.” 

The power of data agility

Until recently, the company had capacity constraints when using Talend’s on-premises solution, but by moving from on-prem to a cloud data infrastructure, the company gave themselves the power of data agility. “We can quickly spin up a new environment and try something new,” explains the Director of the Biopharmaceutical Division. “We can then put all our energy into building data pipelines and not into administering the infrastructure. We want to focus on making vaccines, not on the technology.” 

Ultimately, Talend has given the company the ability to manage trust and constantly improve the quality — and value — of their data. “In the past six months, we have been able to enable almost 80% of our key data assets for people to use in their decision making, so 5,000+ data citizens can now focus on value-add activities,” reports a representative for the company. 

“We’re delivering vaccines on massive scales, so these efficiencies translate into millions of dollars,” adds the Director of the Biopharmaceutical Division. “By using data to improve our processes, we can reduce the financial impact and improve operational efficiency.”