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Siemens Healthineers modernizes to support self-service business intelligence

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Siemens Healthineers, a leading manufacturer of medical devices, has experienced significant growth since its reorganization in 2018. The company, known for its imaging and diagnostics products, decided to shift from a bare-metal IT setup to a modern, cloud-based, and service-oriented IT infrastructure. They chose Matillion to streamline data ingestion and transformation processes.

Scott Elfering, IT Solution expert at Siemens with over 25 years of experience, manages the ingestion of data within the Healthineers Data Cloud. His role involves resource management, demand alignment, project management, and operations oversight. With a global team of six members, Scott's goal is to meet aggressive business targets.

Challenge - legacy infrastructure impeding modernization

Scott's team needed a robust solution to manage unstructured data, which the existing Azure Data Factory (ADF) platform could not fully provide. After a thorough vetting process, Matillion emerged as a more versatile option, offering enhanced capabilities in orchestration, data access, and integration with various data sources, including SaaS applications.

“We were reinventing the wheel for many new business requirements,” explains Scott. “Taking the business need and developing a customized table. Everyone has their own techniques and their own understanding. It was very hard to troubleshoot and solve problems if that person left the company or went on vacation.”

Solution - standardization enables success

Following a rigorous proof-of-concept phase, Siemens Healthineers decided to migrate approximately 100 data pipelines from ADF to Matillion. Scott's team and the Matillion team created a template pipeline that could be modified and extended to meet virtually every requirement of every data pipeline from their previous system. With rapid development and flexibility, the team would easily meet their timelines for migrating their pipelines to Matillion - their test cases showed massive performance gains, reducing the overall processing time by 50% in some cases.

A structured process with well-defined roles ensured smooth implementation. Daniel Cahoj, an SME on the data integration team, described how they began with a metadata-driven approach, allowing them to configure a library of templates and make adjustments as needed without having to rebuild entire pipelines. "If a new field is added to a JSON table, Matillion allows us to adapt quickly without extensive rework.”

Daniel now works closely with data product owners across the organization to assess business needs against requested use cases, to truly understand if something is technically possible, and to provide an accurate implementation timeline. For Daniel, standardization has been a crucial element of this working relationship as it allows predictability alongside innovation. “We are not trying to develop custom solutions. We offer a set of ingestion options and rely on the Matillion product capabilities, which in turn, allows us to take advantage of all the features offered in Matillion and Snowflake.”

Citizen enablement with added governance

Matillion's flexibility supported the implementation of a citizen development program at Siemens Healthineers, allowing non-technical users to access the platform for specific data ingestion tasks while maintaining strict governance and security protocols. The Matillion team assisted in creating profiles for the group, ensuring they could work within predefined boundaries without compromising data security.

“The citizen developers were skilled enough in data analysis,” said Daniel. “They were already using SSIS and other legacy tools. But this initiative allowed them to move to the next level.” These users can connect to the UI and create their own pipelines in their own workspace, using their own Excel spreadsheets and files. “It is so much easier for them to do it in Matillion. Development, transformation, and overall processing is much faster than before.” 

Impact - point and click productivity

Since implementing Matillion, Siemens Healthineers has seen significant improvements in productivity, collaboration, and confidence in their ability to deliver and maintain pipelines at an accelerated pace. Not only are some pipelines running 50% faster, but the standardized templates have reduced the time required for data transformation development and have ensured consistent, maintainable pipelines. The simplicity of the user interface, coupled with automation features breathed new life into the citizen developer program.

"Imagine what this does for our productivity? Point and click your way to adding and removing new tables from a data pipeline,” Scott highlights. This level of flexibility has enabled the data team to quickly adapt to changing business needs, and support cross-departmental self-service BI.

What's Next

The success of the Matillion implementation has allowed Siemens Healthineers to work on AI initiatives, leveraging their improved data pipelines to support machine learning and data science projects. The team is exploring new and advanced Matillion features as they prepare for new opportunities to enhance their data productivity. 

Daniel emphasized the importance of staying current with evolving technology: "We know that we can rely on Matillion to be our standard tool for our batch ETL category. The product is evolving, and we are excited to see what's next." 

Matillion deployment helped us standardize our processes. It allowed us to rely on a consistent set of possibilities, predict outcomes, set fair time estimates, and meet customer expectations. Scott Elfering IT Solutions| Siemens Heathineers