Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is the leading global biotechnology company focused on serving people with rare diseases. Founded in 1986, they quickly innovated drug development programs on behalf of patients dealing with challenging conditions in order to help them lead better lives.
Before: Inconsistent and Ineffective Processes
The IT team was feeling pain associated with being able to consistently and effectively deploy Oracle WebLogic and SOA related artifacts across their environments. Takeda has a solution architecture that required regular changes, resulting in a significant amount of integration related work. In addition, Takeda has a stringent change control process that was being executed manually and needed to be streamlined.
Takeda had been using automation tools for around 10 years, including both Cruise Control and Hudson. Even so, there were still many manual and scripted processes and the team, which runs lean, was spending a lot of time brute-forcing deployments across their environments. Takeda was growing through a series of mergers and acquisitions, and the team needed a scalable automation platform. In short, the deployment-related processes were just not working.
The Solution: FlexDeploy
Takeda didn’t want to get in the business of building a solution, so they went shopping. Takeda Head of Global Integrations Platform Blake Xiao had some experience with what was available in the market, and he felt the time was right to find a new solution. Ultimately, they were looking for an enterprise platform that had workflow capability, including release management and controls such as approvals and scheduling, and could automate the deployment of their artifacts across environments.
Takeda looked at FlexDeploy, Rubicon Red’s Myst, and open source solutions such as Hudson and Jenkins. Both Hudson and Jenkins would require extensive hands-on management—resources Takeda wasn’t willing to commit. Myst’s capabilities didn’t align with their pain points so it was quickly eliminated. Takeda installed the Community Edition of FlexDeploy to run a Proof of Concept and explore the tool themselves.
After: Increased Speed and Reduced Effort
During the POC, Takeda was impressed with the support provided by Flexagon, and the broad and deep support for Oracle’s Middleware. The team quickly saw the value in working with FlexDeploy. “The FlexDeploy support for Oracle Fusion Middleware was built by people that had lived the struggle of being Fusion users,” said Blake, “and that came through in the tool’s performance.”
The FlexDeploy support for Oracle Fusion Middleware was built by people that had lived the struggle of being Fusion users, and that came through in the tool’s performance.
FlexDeploy was able to meet all of Takeda’s objectives in adopting an automation solution.
- Workflow capability: Takeda can configure reusable workflows that lay out the delivery processes to ensure code, configurations, and other changes are being built, tested, deployed, and released properly. These workflows can range from being straight forward one-after-another execution, to incredibly complex, requiring multiple stages, “if” requirements, human intervention, failing and restarting, etc. With workflow capability, Takeda can link together complex pipelines and automate tasks across the lifecycle.
- Manual and scripted steps: Takeda was able to drastically reduce the amount of time spent executing manual steps and building, testing, and maintaining scripts. They also eliminated the time spent handling the fall-out from failed deployments such as production outages and the frantic search to identify and fix the cause. Now the team can see exactly what was deployed and FlexDeploy’s rollback capabilities enable them to go back to a prior working version.
- Managing Change Process: The benefits of a controlled means for managing the approval process were felt quickly. Takeda was able to cut out laborious paper forms, spreadsheets, and hard-to-follow email threads. Not only is the status of an approval quickly identified for the team, but the approver has all required information to approve or deny a request. The team can easily see what changes were made, who approved them, when, and what was included in the change.
Takeda has been able to expand their usage of FlexDeploy beyond the initial scope of the project. In addition to the success of Fusion Middleware artifacts, Takeda is leveraging Flexagon for Google Apigee release pipeline/deployment and have been co-innovating with Flexagon on use cases involving Docker and Kubernetes.
Takeda has achieved an increased deployment speed of 8x, while reducing the number of errors and outages by 5x. The improvements coincide with an ROI of 4 months.