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Author's profile photo Dirk Wenzel

Varian Medical Systems: Focusing Energy on Saving Lives

Varian Medical Systems has a mission: saving lives. Their innovative line of medical equipment is used to provide targeted radiation therapy for cancer Varian Medical.PNGtreatment in ways that improve patient outcomes while simplifying surgical procedures for the physician. They have equally ground breaking equipment for radio surgery, medical imaging and security. Varian Medical’s equipment is used to treat more than 100,000 people a day.

The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and they have global manufacturing facilities in North America, China and Europe. Company revenue exceeded $3 Billion in 2014, and demand for Varian’s products continues to grow. To enable the company to focus on its mission, Varian recognized the need for business systems that could fuel its digital transformation with reimagined business processes and immediate insight into its operations. With the current systems, users, partners and customers were frustrated by slow response times and the inability to quickly turn data into insight. It was clear that Varian’s current business systems were too slow and cumbersome to support the required digital transformation. Varian needed business systems that operated faster, integrated better and ran simpler.

Initial System Landscape

At the start of the project, Varian was running a total of 47 different systems spanning business needs such as ERP, MES, CRM, GRC (government, risk and compliance), global trade compliance, international financial solutions for regions such as Brazil with unique reporting practices, Service Management, Master Data Management and business intelligence and reporting. They used multiple data bases and operating systems to support these systems, and as a result, day-to-day operations and business processes were frustratingly slow and unnecessarily complex. Varian decided to address the issue by consolidating some of their solutions, rationalizing the operating systems, standardizing on a fast, in-memory database and adopting an in-memory analytics tool to provide employees with fast insight.

The Better Way

To kick off its digital transformation, Varian started by consolidating its multiple ERP instances from 11 down to 6, and moved them all to a single in-memory database platform. To complete the streamlining process, Varian also revamped its extensive library of custom code to take advantage of the new platform and added an in-memory analytics tool.

The new in-memory data base runs much faster than the legacy products from Oracle and Microsoft that they had used before. In fact, in one stunning example, committing a sales order with more than 1,800 line items and with more than 75 conditions per line–the norm for Varian–went from 7 to 8 minutes down to just a few seconds. In another example, transferring the sales backlog image to BI, which previously took anywhere from three to four hours, now takes under five minutes.

Varian measured significant improvement in 46 out of 61 programs, and the improvement ranged from 1.5 times to more than 1,500 times faster depending on the program. The improved performance was consistent across all business systems because of the incredible speed and integration that is a key advantage of the new database. Varian was able to leverage this improved performance to power its digital transformation and to embark on a journey of continuously reinventing and improving business processes. The entire project only took about one year.

To learn more about this transformation project see the webcast: Varian Medical Chose SAP HANA: Find Out Why.

Outcomes Achieved

The team at Varian cite improvements in usability, analytics and performance as key aspects of their digital transformation. The new user dashboards provide real time access to critical information, supporting rapid fact-based decisions rather than forcing employees to rely on guesswork when they need to make fast decisions. Users have gone from feeling extreme frustration to actively looking for new ways to transform the business using the new, simple solutions.

Varian is very happy with their digital transformation. Today, the company is leaner, more efficient and happy to “run simple” with business processes that support customers, suppliers and users at the speed of reimagined business.

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