Engineers can manage 2–3 times more environments.
Real-Time ReportingReal-time reporting for more efficient meetings.
The Big PictureView the release process from beginning to end.
Global CollaborationTeams spread across the globe can collaborate and view the same dashboards.
Merck is a multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences company with around 50,000 employees in 70 countries.
In the United States, Merck’s IT department supports between 35–50 applications at any one time, with thousands of environments and 25–50 weekly releases. The quarterly major releases affect up to 5000 users at a time.
“The Application and Infrastructure teams have their own release management protocols,” says Robert Klimek Jr., Project and Release Manager. “We want to coordinate them and Plutora is helping us do that.”
Before implementing Plutora, Merck used its own in-house system, spreadsheets, whiteboards, phone calls and meetings to manage environments.
“We had tough phone calls and meetings,” says Keith Smola, Quality Assurance Project Lead. “Every project manager had their own separate project plan.”
Users found the in-house system difficult to keep up-to-date, and it required them to work extra hard to find what they needed. Available environments and upcoming changes were scattered over many screens.
“The technology was clunky. The user interface was clunky,” says Klimek Jr. “You had to switch between multiple screens and then consolidate the information. It was time consuming and challenging. Whereas today, looking at Plutora, you have all that information in one shot.”
“We looked at a few competitors,” Klimek Jr. adds. “I’m going to steal the credit for doing the homework and telling executive management that Plutora had the most robust suite of options.”
“We’ve had managers from other departments come to us and say, ‘We like what you’re doing with Plutora. We want to use it too.‘”
Robert Klimek Jr.
Project and Release Management
Plutora makes release management transparent.
“I have complete visibility, thanks to Plutora’s dashboards and reports,” says Smola. “All the information about a release, from beginning to end, and all the environments, are in one place. I can see what must happen to get the release into production. Once the release starts, I can see the progression.”
Klimek Jr. agrees, “Plutora has given us the ability to see what’s in the pipeline, the size of the change and what to expect from a risk perspective. We know the impact of the upcoming changes and can prepare for them so that nothing goes wrong in production. We have made significant financial savings and we’ve improved our reputation.
“We knew we had environments but we had no record of how much they were used, how many changes were made to them or who made the changes,” says Smola. “People are surprised at how many changes we’re making. We can now run reports to see what environments we use in each project. We can even see environment conflicts.”
Plutora has integrated Merck’s global operations and cross-functional teams.
“We have folks in India, Czech Republic, Japan, China and the United States. All using Plutora,” says Klimek Jr. “We have a backend database group, we have a user interface database group. We have Aviva and Galeforce.com. We used to use spreadsheets and emails but Plutora has pulled us all together significantly.”
“We don’t need so many engineers managing our environments,” says Smola. “We had 2–3 times more people performing the same job. Plutora has given us a significant productivity gain.”
Klimek Jr. used to receive hundreds of emails each day. “People were asking for updated statuses and so forth,” he says. “When I showed them how to mine that information from Plutora, I got far fewer emails. I think this is the biggest benefit I have seen so far.”
Plutora’s reporting module is invaluable for finding metrics fast. “I use reports when I’m dealing with the executive leadership,” says Klimek Jr. “People struggled to different applications to show information. Now if I’m asked ‘What was your planned timeline versus your delivery timeline?’ I can show them a graph in Plutora. This makes my meetings more efficient.”
Plutora is a big success. I use every module on a daily basis. It’s been a great engagement from the beginning and usage is increasing at an exponential rate.”
Robert Klimek Jr.
Project and Release Management Merck