by Rick Swanborg

Virtual Applications for a Global Workplace

Feb 24, 2010
Enterprise Applications

What Quintiles did to provide users access to their complete work environment anywhere in the world at any time.

Quintiles is a leading biopharmaceutical service provider offering clinical, commercial, consulting and capital solutions. The end-user environment poses many challenges: Operations are in more than 50 countries, 30 percent of its workforce is mobile and the company continues to rapidly grow. In 2009, it launched a solution that virtualizes every application, providing users access to their complete work environment anywhere in the world at any time.

The Situation: In the drug development industry, time can be the enemy that keeps new drugs from patients. Quickly moving compounds through the clinical trials process demands employees that are not restrained by geography, time or access to data and equipment. The cost to rapidly deploy services to 23,000 devices that need access to a growing application portfolio provided incentive for innovation.

What They Did: Users now have secure access to the applications and data they need from any internet-enabled device. “We can deploy application services to hundreds, even thousands of employees overnight instead of days, weeks or months,” says Joe Donnici, Vice President of IT Operations. This private cloud of sorts provides three main benefits: First, it improves performance because the user experience and application traffic now occur in the data center alongside the database and other systems that compose the service. Second, it centralizes all access in the data center, thereby alleviating security concerns. Finally, it provides Quintiles the flexibility to allow users to work on any device they choose and to ultimately deploy a “buy your own device” provisioning model.

“The ability to provide our end users secure access to their applications from any device anywhere is effectively establishing our own internal cloud and ultimately results in improved delivery, support, flexibility and satisfaction for our employees and value to the business.” says Naz Haji, senior vice president of global infrastructure.

Why It Was Unique: Many large global companies are contemplating desktop virtualization but can’t create a cost model that works. While Quintiles’ solution has reduced device costs by 25 percent, IT focuses on the business value when pushing this initiative forward.

The Takeaway: Speeding deployment plus improving flexibility and reducing costs equals significant business value.

Rick Swanborg is president of ICEX and a professor at Boston University.