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AstraZeneca CIO enables US$150m in drug research with cloud IT

CIO Staff | May 8, 2015
Clouds make complex environments simpler says David Smoley, Global CIO of AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca Global CIO David Smoley says cloud technologies simplify business processes. Smoley became CIO of Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals firm AstraZeneca in April 2013 and has been instrumental in the introduction of leading cloud providers Box, Workday, Salesforce and Microsoft's Office 365.

UK-listed AstraZeneca is the world's seventh-largest pharmaceutical company by prescription drug sales with operations in over 100 countries. AstraZeneca has a portfolio of products for major diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal infection, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation.

"We simplified and improved existing business processes by implementing multiple new cloud solutions globally including Workday for HR, Office365 to supply email, calendar and file sharing; ServiceNow, for CRM, Box for storage and Docusign for workflow and electronic signature," Smoley told this title's CIO 100.

The move to cloud is part of Smoley's IT Transformation strategy which he says will "significantly improving speed, quality and cost of service as well as innovation while reducing cost".

Smoley says AstraZeneca is already seeing the clear benefits from a move to cloud. "In 2014 we reduced total IT cost by $150 million, which provided additional funding for drug development programs. At the same time we improved customer satisfaction by 16%, improved critical system stability by over 80% and greatly increased our responsiveness for incident resolution and speed for program delivery.

"I am a passionate technologist, so I enjoy and am able to get personally involved in technical decisions and solutions. I am also a credible business leader, so I communicate effectively and proactively with the business from the CEO and staff down to the lab/factory/sales office. My style is very collaborative and entrepreneurial, and we are creating an environment that encourages and rewards innovation," Smoley told the CIO 100.

"Cloud and mobile are the two most transformative technologies. Much of transformation is technology enabled, however Agile methodology is a key enabler as well as Lean concepts.

"Mobile is on the verge of transforming medical care and health. Figuring out how to enable this and take advantage of it is a focus area. Internally, mobile is our primary consideration when developing and deploying solutions. Social is an opportunity with less clear impact and effectiveness and we have deployed technology here with results to be determined later this year," he said. On the often related subject of BYOD, Smoley adds: "We have clear policy and guidelines around the selection and implementation of technology as well as services. Our strategy is to be proactively collaborative and helpful and to offer the lowest cost and highest value solutions so there is no need or desire for shadow solutions."

Alongside Smoley's ambitious adoption of cloud technology, as a global company, AstraZeneca also has critical supply arrangements with Oracle, SAP, IBM, Cognizant, HCL, Infosys, Deloitte, Accenture, Microsoft and SAS.


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