Making data make sense
At a glance
Every day, the world benefits from the health research of Maravai LifeSciences. So when it was time for the company to better understand its financial health, Slalom developed a data and analytics architecture to help keep the breakthroughs coming.
The end-user experience exceeded Maravai’s expectations, gaining traction not only in finance but with the entire executive team and its private equity firm. With 15 interactive financial dashboards, leadership can quickly access daily insights on profits, margins, budgets, sales revenues, and customer analytics.
Key Technologies / Platforms
Pharmaceutical, biotech & biopharma
Uncovering the math behind the science
To recover from a global pandemic, the world anxiously awaited the vaccines that would save lives and restore some normalcy to our daily interactions. Luckily, companies like Maravai LifeSciences have the talent, experience, and resources to bring those hopes to fruition. Through its Nucleic Acid Production business segment, Maravai provides key reagents and proprietary technologies that enable the development and production of novel vaccines—including those for COVID-19. The company helps its customers address complex discovery challenges and streamline and scale from research through clinical trials to commercialization.
Maravai’s Q4 2020 IPO was a highlight in the market. Of course, a public offering represents significant financial restructuring, and this one was made even more complex by the company’s acquisitions. For some time, Maravai had been primarily focused on building a portfolio of subsidiaries that would sustain its growth. But along with each acquisition came a unique set of legacy data—all tracked and formatted differently—that was critical to understanding the company’s financial health. In order to analyze that data, Maravai’s team had to manually cull and enter it into cumbersome spreadsheets. In fact, it took a full month to produce each quarter’s report—an unsustainable workload.
Maravai needed a partner with deep experience in cloud-based data and analytics to modernize its reporting. Slalom was proud to earn the partnership. In just 15 weeks, Maravai’s leadership had timely, holistic insights into the company’s financial health.
The art of data architecture
Maravai had experienced strong year-over-year growth since 2016 and wanted the analytics capabilities to continue that growth. “The team at Maravai knew what they needed and were willing to learn and engage with us as a trusted partner. They believed in our credentials and knew we would ensure their success,” says Akshay Mehta, senior principal at Slalom San Diego. We kicked off the five-week discovery process with a blank slate.
First, we needed to learn about the data itself—what type it was, where it was housed, and the frequency of the refresh. We began by determining the company’s analytics needs. To identify all key use cases across the company, the team regularly and directly engaged with stakeholders at the highest levels.
Most users wanted answers to these four questions:
We divided up the business units and different components of the data to determine which KPIs would be important to each unit. Based on the data already in the system, we learned which KPIs needed to be established and whether there were any KPIs for which there was no existing data.
Building for better capabilities
To deliver Maravai’s interactive and automated analytics, the Slalom team articulated both the current and the future-state architecture. We then planned what it would take to go from current to future, providing options for the data integration platform, database, and visualization tool.
Together, we decided on a technology stack that would not only provide the best analytics capabilities but be cost-effective as well. Over the next 10 weeks, we implemented all the identified use cases. “I greatly appreciated teaming with Slalom and was impressed with their understanding of our businesses and processes and unbiased approach to delivering us the best end solution,” says Kevin Herde, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Maravai.
The Slalom team chose Snowflake as the Data Cloud, creating schemas to ensure the data was modeled correctly. Powerful, fast, and flexible, Snowflake also offers Maravai end users a very quick query response time. Fivetran serves as a smart, fast, and low-maintenance data pipeline, and Tableau provides a comprehensive, intuitive front-end experience.
“Based on the guiding principles we defined together, especially those pertaining to leveraging software as a service with as little coding or specialized expertise as possible, these three vendors aligned well and have proven to drive business value in all areas at Maravai LifeSciences,” says Ryan McNaught, a data and analytics lead at Slalom.
From questions to answers in 15 weeks
The end-user experience exceeded Maravai’s expectations, gaining traction not only in finance but with the entire executive team and its private equity firm. With 15 interactive financial dashboards, leadership can quickly access daily insights on profits, margins, budgets, sales revenues, and customer analytics. Executive summaries with flexible filtering provide a common platform to visualize KPIs and discuss Maravai’s business performance.
Because the data warehouse is made to scale seamlessly, it requires only one person to manage it—a huge time savings for Maravai. The architecture is self-sustaining, allowing Maravai to easily add new use cases. In a continued partnership with Slalom, the company hopes to model all its Salesforce data in Snowflake for additional commercial analytics.
And that legacy data from Maravai’s subsidiaries? The Slalom team dug deep to manually scrub four years of data, ensuring it would load properly into the new automated system. Today, Maravai is well positioned for the kind of strong, informed growth that powers scientific breakthroughs.
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