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INSIDE THIS EDITION:

CLOUDSENSE - Does Your Business Need a Cloud Footprint?

Learn how the Cloud affects our customers and SAP software solutions. In the many years of selling enterprise software and supporting our customers, this one question stirs more interest than any other.


BIRSTing IN THE CLOUD - Announcing the Answerthink-BIRST Alliance

Ready to discover more about the Answerthink-BIRST Alliance? Find out the details behind BIRST and why it may become the right solution for you.


ON THE GREEN! MICHAEL GREENE - God, Country, Family...and Golf.

Learn about the core of success, facing challenges, and creating an outstanding experience for customers as Michael Greene shares his experience working on industry projects at Answerthink.


SAP's Advanced Track and Trace for DQSA. Can You Meet the 48-hour Deadline?

Regulations across the industry are changing. Many pharmaceutical companies are looking for solutions to meet the new regualtions. Learn exactly what you can do to ensure compliance and stay on track to meet the coming deadlines.


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I am often asked how the emphasis on the Cloud affects our customers and SAP software solutions. In my many years of selling enterprise software and supporting our customers, this one question stirs more interest than any other.

The emphasis on the Cloud has reached an near epic proportion.  I wanted to share some of the experiences of our prospects and customers over the past few years.  When we engage with a prospect or an existing customer and dig into understanding what they want:

  • Cloud Based Solution,
  • Open Architecture Platform, and
  • Simple and Easy to get Business Results.

There is still some confusion about the where the Cloud can help you deliver results. Usually the emphasis is centrally focused on a complete cloud solution. However, this may not always be the best decision or solution for many prospects and customers.

A recent example illustrates this point. A life sciences company that develops and manufactures aesthetic and medical treatment systems believed that putting their enterprise applications in the Cloud  was the right strategic direction for them. They were surprised and disappointed when they learned they could not configure the cloud solutions to fit their business.

When our team of solutions engineers evaluated their requirements and collaborated with the company to understand their growth plans, a hybrid solution of ERP applications was recommended. The ERP system was secured behind a virtual private network, complemented by cloud based solutions, was the most effective and efficient technology environment.

In this competitive sales process with other tier 1 software providers, clearly Answerthink’s SAP certified EzLife Science™ solution based on the SAP ECC platform proved to be the ideal choice because they wanted to do business their way.

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This customer had a good idea of where they wanted to expand, how to handle their extended supply chain and meet global compliance requirements.

The value of Answerthink’s industry expertise and understanding of cloud based alternatives made the choice simple.

The high interest in cloud solutions is justifiable in many areas of the business. We see many great opportunities where SAP cloud solutions, like Concur® or SuccessFactors®, are ideal applications for non- core or common processes where adapting to a cloud model makes sense. However, we encourage you to seek our expertise when considering implementing an ERP solution for the first time or upgrading your SAP or non-SAP solution to the Cloud.   The Cloud has greatly changed the IT enterprise platform, and Answerthink, as your strategic partner, can provide the right guidance on how to deploy these solutions.

Next month I will continue to share how to get more out of your Cloud solutions.  In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more about the SAP Cloud, hosted and on premise solutions, go to our web site, www.answerthink.com or contact me at acolombo@answerthink.com to arrange an Executive Summary of how to make sense of the Cloud.

 

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At Answerthink we are always searching for new, simple, and innovative ways to help our customers take enterprise analytics to the next level. That is why we are proud to announce our alliance with BIRST, a cloud-based Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics Platform. The solutions offered by BIRST complement our existing BI capabilities and leadership but allow a business-oriented alternative to your IT business analytics or data warehouse solutions.

Here are a few of the many reasons why we like BIRST and how their platform addresses what the marketplace needs and what our customers want:

  • BI and Analytics that is easy to stand up and delivers results at a lower cost of ownership
  • Self-service capabilities with a single user interface for analytics, reporting, and Dashboards
  • Data sourcing from third-party enterprise applications provides a unified view

BIRST’s cloud deployment allows companies to quickly stand up the platform with limited IT skills or resources. BIRST uses a “drag and drop” or “mashup” approach to marry data, and then BIRST builds the physical data model automatically.  Data modeling accelerators are pre-defined for sales, finance, supply chain, and other functions, and dramatically ramp up the learning and analytics curve.

Customers want self-service applications, and BIRST delivers with an adaptive user experience. Business users can build their own interactive reports and dashboards with limited dependency on IT. The Birst toolset allows a unified, enterprise view for visual discovery, predictive analytics, interactive dashboards, and mobile analytics with easy integration to Excel and Tableau, supporting the varying demands of executives, managers, and the field.

In addition to optimally leveraging the power of SAP HANA, BIRST’s 2 tier architecture consists of an analytics layer and a data tier layer. The data tier provides some great benefits, such as the ability to plug into enterprise data sources like SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, SuccessFactors, and other applications. You can also plug into local data sources that you can deploy globally.

BIRST is a great complement or addition to your existing Analytics Roadmap. For small and medium-sized businesses, or lines of business, BIRST is a fantastic solution for getting analytics and BI into the hands of your business users and decision makers.

BI and Analytics does not have to be complex. BIRST simplifies the entire process. It requires less IT expertise. Plus, because BIRST is completely cloud-based, there is a lower cost of ownership. And, BIRST puts analytics right in your hands, allowing you to self-serve and self-manage your business. BIRST offers more to you in the cloud, with more value and a shorter time for results.

Migrate your systems to a more data-robust platform -- join the growing number of companies moving away from spreadsheet dependence. Finally, through the Answerthink-BIRST alliance, the Cloud has become a real option for analytics.

Ready to learn more about a pure cloud-based environment? Download our free Fact Sheet for a complete overview of what BIRST can do for your enterprise.

Go to our website, www.answerthink.com, for the announcement of the BIRST partnership.

Or contact Rich Rodriguez, Senior Director of SAP Business Analytics and Technology at Answerthink, at rrodriguez@answerthink.com , for an Executive Summary to determine how BIRST can fit into your analytics roadmap.


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For Michael, his interest in delivering the best customer experience comes from some basic principles in his life: God, Country, Family and when possible, golf. A man of strong faith, Michael draws from his experience in the United States Navy (USN) to focus on the details, the spirit of a strong team and the importance of communications.

Michael is a principal of the SAP Delivery Services group at Answerthink. After 15 years with the firm, Michael attributes both his tenure and success to establishing good partner relationships,  firmly based on effective communication and trust. This foundation starts with the executive sponsors, and filters down through client delivery teams.

As a member of the U.S. Navy’s Intelligence Security Group, he saw firsthand the value of open, candid communication - how it can save lives and accomplish a mission. Any project team can succeed when faced with challenges if effective communication is in place. Effective communication is only possible if it is based on honesty and trust. When communication breaks down, it leads to challenges that are difficult to overcome.  Each team member’s ability to effectively manage through each challenge is critical and potentially the difference between a project's success or failure.

After the military, Michael moved to Tobyhanna, PA. During that time in the Poconos, he met his future wife. When faced with the prospect of transferring to Georgia, it was very clear; he was destined to stay in Northeast PA where he still resides today.

His next career opportunity was working for a leading consulting firm working on change management and Process Improvement for a most-admired pharmaceutical company. It was during his tenure with PriceWaterhouse Coopers that he honed his craft in supply chain and SAP.

When Michal is not traveling the globe, he spends his time with his wife and teenage daughter. Disneyworld and Disneyland are favorite destinations for Michael and his family. Recalling a cherished moment at Disney, Michael remembers that the Greene family was selected as “Family of the Day” to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. While Disney probably does this for many families each day, this simple gesture was very significant to the family memory album. When it comes to memorable and magical experiences, the folks at Disney do it better than anyone.

These cherished family memories and Disney’s attention to detail is the reason that Mike and his family go back every year. He appreciates walking down Main Street and seeing finely manicured grounds and the commitment of the characters and friendly support teams work in harmony with the customers' experience in mind.  It is easy to see why Michael enjoys working with customers and project teams.

It is not surprising that when Michael does have some down time, he enjoys strolling the links at his golf course. He gets to sneaks out to the course and enjoys cool sunny days in the Poconos playing 18 holes. He may not be a challenger for the Senior Tour, but he likes to knock around a few and be outdoors playing the game he loves.


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In July of 2015, the initial phase of the DQSA regulations were put in place - lot level traceability for all participants of the supply chain. The participants must provide or receive transactions, history, and statements for product change of custody.  For many small and large pharmaceutical companies, this was a challenging first step in the full rollout of the DSCSA regulation.

However, the second phase is extensively more complex and requires immediate focus to meet the requirements. Essentially, pharmaceutical companies must serialize, track, identify and verify the integrity at the saleable unit level. This affects the entire healthcare supply chain: drug owners, (MAH’s), subcontractor manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers or retailers.

Think about it this way:  When you pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, the serial number is scanned. If a green light appears, the drug is safe for patient consumption. If a red light appears, the drug company has 48 hours to provide the complete chain of custody, which is a process as well as a technologically daunting task.

To address this problem, pharmaceutical companies will turn to software vendors and consulting firms for assistance.

For the past few years, SAP has collaborated with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and distributors to arrive at a solution. They recently announced their Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals  (ATTP) to support the regulations.

A snapshot of  SAP’s solution for Serialized Track and Trace (STT) functionality:

  • SAP Advanced Track & Trace for Pharmaceuticals for Serialization, regulatory, and business process compliance
  • SAP Regulatory Reporting for country-specific reporting of serialized product information
  • The SAP Global Batch Traceability application, which provides a total view of the entire product genealogy from raw material through finished goods

The ATTP platform powered by SAP HANA satisfies the tracking and reporting necessary for compliance. HANA enables fast response to supply chain risks as well as full visibility and built-in compliance for your complex supply chain. Integrated solution building blocks provide you with transparency at the appropriate level of granularity, according to your business needs.

For manufacturers and repackagers, who must comply by 2017 and 2018, we see many hurdles to overcome. For instance, some of the immediate issues that need to be addressed is how to develop your serialization and aggregation/ disaggregation model and approach. Whether you are the company directing this function or a contractor, how you collaborate and engage is one of the biggest challenges for STT.

For IT, the anticipated volume of transactions, mapping of data with partners, and sharing serialized data securely may keep a few CIOs awake at night.  The project teams that manage implementing these solutions will drive to new heights of collaboration, technology and process improvement while achieving the 48-hour mandate.

To address meeting the regulation from a compliance, business process, and technology perspective, you need more than an advisor; you need a capable partner that thrives in the Life Sciences sector.

Answerthink has focused on the Life Sciences market from a business and technology perspective for over 19 years for over 100 customers. They have developed, in concert with SAP, the EZLife Science industry solution, recognized for its comprehensive Best Practices.  Their focus on the supply chain for small to medium Life Sciences companies enables them to look at lean and agile solutions that are equally applicable to big pharma.

Our “Serialized Track and Trace Advisory Services” methodically guides you through the essential steps to know that your Roadmap to Compliance is on time and supports your global enterprise and country-by-country regulations.

Our proven Solution and approach, EZ Life Sciences, helps customers by taking a business and technology approach to assessing where your business has opportunities and risks. Meeting Serialized Track and Trace (STT) requires a focus on these critical components. If STT is to be met efficiently, economically and effectively, you will need a global repository of industry-leading best practices and an IT infrastructure that allows for your current and long-term growth and operating strategy.

Our STT approach addresses the key phases of building a sound foundation and flexible steps to provide mileposts for your journey. This approach achieves linking the main elements of a successful model; process, partner, systems and compliance for meeting the regulations as well as identifying opportunities to improve your supply chain.

The main phases of our approach are:

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It is not enough to keep pace with current regulations as more countries are considering enacting their version of DSCSA. Partnering with a global consulting and software partner that invests in their continued thought, process, and technology leadership is critical to your ability to meet and exceed the regulatory demands.

For an executive summary on SAP’s Advanced Track and Trace (ATTP), or to determine if ATTP fits your business, contact Tom Bleau at tbleau@answerthink.com