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Supporting Network Infrastructure for MedImmune

Healthcare | Network Infrastructure Staffing



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MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca PLC, partners with TEKsystems to support the client’s Infrastructure capabilities.

MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca PLC operating through various affiliates in the AstraZeneca Group, has approximately 5,500 full-time employees and contractors worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. MedImmune is a $1 billion corporation with plans and aspirations to be a $10 billion corporation by 2020. TEKsystems has been a MedImmune partner since 2001.

Following its acquisition by AstraZeneca, MedImmune decided to reallocate, and in some cases eliminate, a variety of roles in its IT department in favor of outsourcing a few key IT support functions to an alternative vendor. This change left MedImmune with a very small technical staff mostly comprised of service delivery managers tasked with managing the outputs from the vendor.

Over time, MedImmune discovered that their vendor was unable to effectively support the full scope of its IT needs because the agreement they had in place was for Support Services only and did not address the client’s emerging engineering and infrastructure needs. For example, if MedImmune needed an infrastructure upgrade, physical server re-build or a VM server installation, there was an additional cost for the engineering support as well as for the hardware needed to complete the effort. During this time, the client’s newly appointed CIO led an initiative called the “Infrastructure Transformation Program (ITP),” which required an upgrade of the company’s network infrastructure including VoIP, Exchange, Active Directory, Windows Servers and their AIX environment.

Midway through ITP, MedImmune terminated the contract with the incumbent IT vendor and created a 12-month plan to transition its IT support functions. Furthermore, the ITP required a migration support solution, the build-out of two new data centers and the execution of severalsystem upgrades. These efforts required the client to add additional resources with varied skill sets in order to provide specialized and cross-functional support. To fill this gap, MedImmune reached out to TEKsystems due to our intimate understanding of their business challenges, our expertise in workforce planning, our experience supporting clients with similar initiatives and our ability to attract and retain the necessary IT talent. 

Cisco VoIP phone system; Cisco Nexus; Exchange 2010; UCS Flexpod (NetApp, VMWare, Cisco); IBM AIX; Microsoft SCCM
With the help of TEKsystems, MedImmune began to execute its plan to transition its IT support model away from its incumbent vendor, and bring these functions back in-house to the company’s data centers located at their Gaithersburg, Md. headquarters. TEKsystems was tasked with collaborative workforce planning and providing the technical resources required to support the data center migration, knowledge transfer and several system upgrades. TEKsystems deployed multiple architects to work side-by-side with the incumbent vendor to facilitate the knowledge transfer. TEKsystems also provided other high-level resources, such as network engineers and architects with expertise in core technologies such as Cisco 6500, Nexus, Cisco UCS and Cisco

Wireless Network technology. Examples of the specific initiatives supported by the TEKsystems team include:
  • MedImmune decided to bring in a cutting edge Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with a combination of VMware and NetApp storage. TEKsystems provided the team that implemented UCS into the Enterprise environment.
  • Leveraging three VMWare engineers, TEKsystems migrated 700 physical servers into a virtual environment within the new data center.
  • TEKsystems worked with MedImmune’s communications group and another service provider to upgrade from Cisco Call Manager 4.1 to 7.1, from Cisco Call Unity Connections 4.0 to 8.5, and Cisco Emergency Responder from 1.2 to 7.0. TEKsystems provided a Cisco VoIP architect and other engineering resources dedicated to completing the upgrade of MedImmune’s Cisco systems.
  • Upgrade of the entire Exchange environment. During this effort, TEKsystems placed two exchange engineers responsible for conversion of all Exchange 2003 mailboxes to Exchange 2010 and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Engineer to upgrade the client’s BES environment.
  • TEKsystems placed an architect and four engineers tasked with upgrading the Microsoft SMS environment to SCCM.
To date, TEKsystems has placed over 70 technical professionals with MedImmune, many of whom are still actively working in support of their transformation journey. Through effective and collaborative planning and execution, TEKsystems helped MedImmune’s program stay on schedule, on budget and on task. By having the right technical people in place, MedImmune’s ITP was considered a success. The client reports:
  • MedImmune now has 24/7 support for their data centers through the command center.
  • Proactive monitoring of all network devices now takes place, resulting in fewer failures and quicker incident resolution, including a more robust on-call procedure.
  • Servers for remote sites are now being monitored for up/down and disk space in a more structured, rigorous and consistent manner than in the past.
  • Capacity reporting of Virtual infrastructure in OMW and Frederick is now available.
  • Implemented a Global Accounts Administration team with an emphasis on improved customer service resulting in improvements in the employee provisioning process (onboarding and offboarding).
  • Standardization of server-based Windows operating system platform improving supportability. MedImmune began provisioning servers to projects using this Gold VM image, and  issuing build certificates. This has replaced time-consuming installations from install CDs. The new provisioning cycle is a maximum of 21 days.
  • Refreshed all technologies greater than four years old, which resulted in a reduced chance of outage due to aged and unsupported hardware.

As a direct result of this successful MedImmune/TEKsystems partnership, the client selected TEKsystems to support four additional initiatives:

  • Service Desk
  • Workplace (Desktop) Support
  • Global Command Center (NOC)
  • Technical Services (Data Center)

Partnership
A key factor in the success of the Infrastructure Transformation Program was the collaborative partnership between MedImmune and TEKsystems. MedImmune included TEKsystems in regular project planning meetings and provided access to key stakeholders, which helped generate an in-depth understanding of the initiative to include business drivers, success factors, required capabilities, challenges and opportunities. Through this deep understanding and insight, TEKsystems was able to leverage its talent management expertise to aid in proactive resource planning and subsequent delivery of the crucial IT talent needed throughout the lifecycle of the project. The partnership also informed and guided the incorporation of flexible delivery models ranging from staff augmentation to project based, managed services.