American biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics was one of the first to produce a COVID-19 vaccine to be approved and authorised for use in December 2020. To get to this stage, Moderna scientists had to research, produce and test it, before submitting it for regulatory approval, not forgetting managing its supply and distribution.
Technology company Boomi has played a key role throughout this process. Boomi is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) company, with expertise in managing data and integration. Founded in 2000, it has been a subsidiary of Dell Technologies since 2010. "We capture and connect people, processes, applications and data" explains CTO Mike Kiersey. "There's nothing that we can't touch or connect to, and we're able to orchestrate and automate how data flows from one business application to another, while being able to reconcile some of the differences that happen as part of those application sets."
"We are actually able to provide the governance and understanding around the data itself - so how do I ensure that new data that's flowing in has the necessary information needed for another application or another business user" Kiersey adds. "We're building this sort of connected experience for organisations, so that they feel that they're not in isolation by business unit, application or data set."
For a large biotechnology company like Moderna, this type of support is invaluable, and Boomi has been working with the American firm since 2015 on a variety of work streams. "If you think about their whole business model, everything from the research and analytics around the drugs, through to the manufacturing, testing, distribution and sale of these drugs - it's a complicated and governance-orientated process, including submission of the drugs for FDA approval before they are developed. When you look at this, it has many, many moving functions of people, technologies and applications, and we've been able to help, '' Kiersey explains.
Through the Boomi AtomSphere Platform, Boomi helps Moderna connect different business applications for everything from internal HR processes to recently managing data around the vaccines.
The platform aggregates data from operational tools like Workday, SAP and Microsoft's Active Directory, supporting Moderna to be more efficient with HR processes for example, so the business can spend less time in these areas and focus more on drug development.
"Imagine all the different tasks and the different types of people that are involved in the work that's needed at Moderna" Kiersey says. "We support Moderna with their HR function, including the ability to onboard and offboard people, whether they are in R&D, manufacturing, or logistics - each one is a very different persona. Hiring takes many hours, so we help automate that and free up time. This also helps create a good experience for the new people entering the business, ensuring they have a great experience and want to come and work with this organisation, while saving time and driving productivity.
"When you think about it in the reverse, when someone leaves or changes roles, there is a business process they can go through that helps speed up hiring, for instance as they ramped up where more people were needed to support the COVID-19 effort. Almost at the push of a button, we can automate all of this activity."
This has two major benefits - providing an audit ability based on persona allows only the relevant people to have access to the relevant systems, and reduce manual error. "It takes away all those different errors that happen when someone's been brought on board, by multiple systems being used to key in manual pieces of information."
"There used to be a lot of manual processes, with a lot of people punching in data time and time again," Kiersey adds. "Now there is greater confidence that the data we have, as it flows across the business and across all those different applications as they go through the supply chain, is accurate, and everyone has a fundamental understanding of what that data is."
In total Moderna has around 200 Boomi-enabled integrations in HR and finance. As well as managing data about its people, it is supporting Moderna's supply chain, by estimating costs and tracking data specifically around the mRNA molecules that form part of the COVID-19 vaccine. This data is managed via an Amazon Redshift data warehouse, available in the AWS secure cloud.
Another key area Boomi is helping Moderna with is streamlining compliance checks. "Our capability allows them to go from drug research to submitting to the FDA for approval much faster" Kiersey says.
Kiersey says that the company is set to continue playing a key role in Moderna's digital transformation. "When you look atModerna’s journey over the next five years; from investment in digital to automation, from automation to analytics, and then from analytics to data science, and data science to artificial intelligence. As and when new capabilities are added as part of Moderna’s IT systems, Boomi plays a key role in keeping all of those systems, applications and data connected."
- This article appears in the October issue of Healthcare Global