AWS for Industries

Top 5 Cloud Strengths and Areas Where Companies Can Improve

In recent years, cloud technology has been embraced as an enabler of value creation, helping improve enterprise resilience, innovation speed and scalability without the need for large capital expenditures and even reducing ongoing operational costs.

Fortune 500 pharma and MedTech companies could gain by 2030, $10-15 billion in improved EBITDA run rates and $25-30 billion from business innovation through cloud migration, according to a recent McKinsey report. With so much to gain, many companies have embarked on cloud-based digital transformation programs, while others are still considering how to proceed.

The cloud journey frequently begins with the migration and modernization of on-premises applications. Amazon Web Services (AWS) helps organizations evaluate their strengths and improvement areas with an AWS Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA).

This is an analysis for gaining insights into an enterprise’s current cloud readiness and developing a plan of action to close identified gaps. The results are organized using the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF) and grouped by the six perspectives:

  1. Business
  2. People
  3. Governance
  4. Platform
  5. Security
  6. Operations

We’ll share some of the insights gained from working with enterprises in this field over the past years. We’ll specifically discuss what this industry’s enterprises consider to be their top strengths and areas for improvement.

Explaining the AWS Migration Readiness Assessment

The AWS MRA is part of the AWS Prescriptive Guidance migration strategy. It is an exercise run in the form of a workshop (typically 1-2 days). It has three main outcomes:

  • To reach an understanding of where an organization is in its cloud journey
  • To identify areas of strength and weakness from a cloud-readiness perspective
  • To build an action plan to resolve the identified gaps so the organization can migrate at scale without having to pause to solve foundational issues

This assessment aids in the formation of team alignment and consensus. It identifies existing best practices within the organization that can be leveraged and scaled, as well as roadblocks that can hinder progress. This is accomplished through the use of an AWS CAF-aligned set of discussion starters.

The final workshop report includes a deep dive for each of the AWS CAF perspectives (Business, People, Governance, Platform, Security and Operations) rating them from 1-5 (five being the best possible score).

The Top-Rated Strengths

The collected MRA results for Pharma, MedTech and Life Sciences industries indicate that these enterprises are usually well prepared for starting their cloud journey in the following areas:

  • Business case preparation
    • Gone through a benefits and cost analysis for the transformation journey ahead
    • Have a clear understanding of the required funding needed and have a budget committed to execute the programs
  • Stakeholder commitment
    • Single threaded leaders assigned and empowered to steer, from a business outcome perspective, the program
    • Have the necessary buy-in from internal business and supporting team functions
  • Initial program plan
    • Having established project management methodologies and assigned project managers
    • Have a good definition of the scope of work
  • Platform basics
    • Have developed a basic understanding of AWS Landing Zones and a well-architected AWS environment that serves as a starting point for quickly launching and deploying applications
  • Security strategy
    • Have an initial strategy to address security related topics

The Top-Rated Areas for Improvement

Pharma, MedTech and Life Sciences are less prepared in the following areas:

  • People and cloud skills 
    • A gap between the existing and the required expertise with cloud technology
    • The concept of Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) (a key enabler for the organization) is often not yet part of the conversations and cloud strategy
  • Program execution
    • There is a lack of experience in migration programs
  • Operating model
    • Unclear definition on how to deal with managed services, configuration and change management in the cloud
    • A lack of a concrete plan for how business continuity plans must change in a cloud context
  • DevOps culture
    • An early adoption of the DevOps culture is required to increase the organization’s ability to change and improve products faster than traditional software development and infrastructure management techniques
  • Security mechanisms
    • Though there is a high-level strategy available, there is difficulty in translating this strategy into a more tactical and operational driven processes
    • Having a strategy that the team can implement and measure journey progress with

Cloud migrations require a broad set of complementary capabilities

Pharma, MedTech and Life Sciences organizations appear to be well positioned in some AWS CAF capabilities, such as business case preparation and stakeholder commitment and have areas of improvement in others. Experience in executing large-scale migrations, in-depth cloud technical knowledge, established DevOps practices and well-defined cloud operations are all aspects that need strengthening.

While the ingredients for a successful cloud journey are clear, there is no single recipe for success. The AWS Migration Readiness Assessment’s results highlight that a cloud journey is more than a technological journey. As businesses will be at various stages of their cloud journey the mixture of those ingredients will differ. They entail several complementary capabilities that should be developed along the way to maximize the value that cloud technologies achieve.

Begin your own MRA assessment to speed up your enterprise’s cloud transformation journey. No matter where your organization is at in its journey, AWS can help―contact an AWS Representative.

Further Reading

Luis Miranda

Luis Miranda

Luis Miranda is an AWS Enterprise Service Manager who works with healthcare and life sciences companies to improve patient care by leveraging AWS. He previously worked for Roche Pharmaceuticals and IQVIA, where he led major digital transformation programs across the value chain in areas such as data analytics, big data migrations, and Intelligent Document Automation. Outside work, he enjoys spending time with his family and participating in sports such as hiking and biking.

Katja Mueller

Katja Mueller

Dr. Katja Mueller is an AWS Senior Customer Delivery Architect and Engagement Manager. She supports AWS customers in (re)designing and implementing data services across a broad range of use cases and technologies. She gained in-depth change management and technical expertise in data analytics, big data and data migrations in her previous roles in media, telecoms and insurance companies. Her past excurse into geo-spatial research has resulted in several international awards and well recognized publications.