SAPinsider Issue 3 2020

by Brianna Shipley, Senior Editor, SAPinsider Long before McKesson came to run one of the larg- est SAP environments in healthcare, it began in 1833 as a pharmaceutical company that imported and sold wholesale therapeutic drugs and chemicals. Since its founding, the business has expanded and evolved to reach into nearly every aspect of health- care. Today, the Fortune 500 company partners with biopharma companies, care providers, phar- macies, manufacturers, governments, and others to deliver the right medicines, medical products, and healthcare services to the patients who need them, when they need them, safely and cost-effectively. McKesson’s extended reach into so many facets of healthcare resembles a central nervous system, and the company’s own central nervous system is a distributed IT environment with a complexity level comparable to conglomerates such as Amazon and Procter & Gamble. McKesson’s SAP stack alone includes 24 SAP instances (running both SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA systems) with extensive custom- izations developed by McKesson and third-party developers. And McKesson is not just an SAP shop — its SAP footprint closely interconnects with many other packaged and custom applications. Rapidly responding to change is difficult with such complex landscapes, but agility is vital for McKesson’s business. Numerous factors are driv- ing the company to change faster than ever before — from healthcare policy shifts to mergers and acquisitions to evolving demographics and unprec- edented health crises, change is a constant. To improve its long-term flexibility, McKesson has a plan to simplify its IT landscape and reduce the effort, cost, and risk associated with change. This includes completing a migration to SAP S/4HANA, consolidating more than seven warehouse manage- ment systems, re-architecting custom applications, and more. As one can imagine, this will take time — likely almost a decade. To improve its adaptability in the meantime, McKesson is drastically accelerating the pace at which it updates its current IT landscape, including its SAP systems. While in the past it updated its soft- ware every three to four weeks, the business is now edging toward daily or even hourly releases. Given the nature of its business and the complex- ity of its systems, any change McKesson makes could cause disruptions that ripple throughout the supply Test Automation Helps One of the Largest SAP Platforms in Healthcare Move Fast Without Disruption 31