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Digital transformation requires transformation in the way data is accessed across an organization. Data is the key element in solving some of the biggest challenges organizations are facing and achieving their business priorities. It’s also key to how organizations understand and evolve their relationships with customers, and the cornerstone of building personalized experiences.

The challenge is that data comes from everywhere. Consequently, much of an organization’s data sits within disparate silos scattered across the business, making it difficult to unlock, analyze, and act on. To understand how organizations are navigating this challenge, we sat down with McKesson CIO Ranjit Gill at MuleSoft CONNECT EMEA 2021.

McKesson is an industry leader in pharmaceuticals and healthcare technology, the operator of the UK’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, and has been transforming healthcare outcomes for nearly two hundred years.

Barriers to agility

As a large enterprise with multiple moving parts, Gill and his team were faced with an often unwieldy setup, characterized by siloed data. “The data sets are very non-homogeneous and not consistent across business lines because of acquisition, because of disparate systems, because of different market dynamics,” he noted. “Being able to take that data and roll it up to get a corporate level view is a significant challenge.”

As a result, Gill’s team experienced lengthy lead times for new digital projects. “In the early days, it was very point-to-point. It was a very much focused activity for a particular project within a business line,” he noted.

Gill identified that avoiding a rigid, ‘waterfall’ approach characterized by a long development roadmap was a key priority. “What we actually wanted to do was to drive innovation and business value outcomes in a repeatable, ongoing way, not waiting 18 months or two years to deliver a major change.”

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The value of data

Gill and his team understood the huge benefits McKesson could enjoy if these challenges were overcome and the organization was equipped to unlock and act on its data. “What it allows us to do is really tailor the way we work and operate so we can be responsive to customer needs,” Gill added. “It allows us to make sure that our goals and our strategic themes are being delivered as committed to the corporate organization.”

For Gill, the potential of data doesn’t stop there. “I think the other opportunity around data is being able to really use that to drive better patient outcomes,” he explained. “That’s an area where we look at as an opportunity for us as an organization and for our patients and customers.”

The power of APIs

MuleSoft’s API-led integration approach was identified as the key to achieving these goals, by establishing a much higher level of data agility within McKesson. “Using MuleSoft to come up with common data platforms and common data sets has allowed us to chunk up our roadmap into a much more agile approach, where we can pivot around certain decisions,” Gill added.

This approach fostered a much higher level of agility at McKesson, where Gill and his team could make quicker decisions to focus on particular lines of business and bring forward the required investment in a much shorter timeframe.

This has been vital in speeding up McKesson’s digital transformation roadmap. As Gill explains: “Ultimately, what it’s allowed us to do is to drive, innovate, and deliver business outcomes whilst delivering a very long technology modernization roadmap. And that’s been really important in terms of delivering our overall business goals.”

The future vision

For Gill and his team, the emphasis is now on using the API-led approach MuleSoft has established to build a platform that enables McKesson to be more responsive to changes in future.

Gill explains: “It’s allowing us to build a platform for the future that’s going to allow us to operate in an agile way and be flexible and adaptive to the changing needs of the external world and the organization we’re in as well.”

To learn more about how to transform your business with data, watch our webinar The CIO’s guide to digital transformation strategy.