Accelerating Merck’s journey to cloud for continuous modernization | HCLTech

Accelerating Merck’s journey to cloud for continuous modernization

In a shared session at AWS re:Invent, Merck—the pharmaceutical innovator—shared the impact of adopting continuous modernization for the cloud with HCLTech 
9 min. read read
Nicholas Ismail
Nicholas Ismail
Global Head of Brand Journalism, HCLTech
9 min. read read
cloud for continuous modernization 

During a shared session at AWS re:Invent, Siki Giunta EVP & Head – CloudSmart Offerings Strategy & Industry Cloud Consulting was joined by Jeffrey Feist, Director – Public Cloud Product Line, Merck & Co., Inc, to discuss the global pharmaceutical’s cloud journey.

The key drivers for embarking on this cloud transformation journey were flexibility, scale, speed-to-market and continuous innovation, with the ultimate aim of improving the delivery and innovation of life saving products. 

“With Merck, we started the cloud journey with a project to optimize its vaccine trial roll out,” said Giunta. 

Feist continued: “We wanted to take advantage of the cloud’s capabilities, continuously advance these capabilities and iterate them for future value.”

Building on an established 17-year relationship, HCLTech was well positioned to help Merck achieve this objective and accelerate the adoption of cloud as a business platform.

“The long relationship was a key success factor,” noted Feist.

Getting to work 

Once the business goals and ambition had been established, HCLTech established an application migration and modernization foundation that enabled continuous modernization of applications and platforms on the AWS Cloud. 

This migration was delivered in an agile DevSecOps model with Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and HCLTech  

Looking at some of the deliverables in more detail:

To deliver these key objectives Merck needed to change at scale.

Working in this new environment, it was important to not only focus on technology, but also on the product model, people and processes.

“We needed to empower product owners to support their teams…and foster continuous tech and talent enhancements to grow teams with capabilities they need to meet future requirements,” said Feist. 

It was also crucial that Merck was able to measure success with a unified platform and tie this back to business goals to highlight value, while breaking down disconnected silos and create a connected culture that streamlined processes and operations for providers and internally. 

The strategic use of automation and self-service not only provided the ability to quickly create solutions, but also enabled product teams to focus on building new capabilities. 

This change at scale was only possible because HCLTech and Merck worked together to adopt an agile, goal driven model.

Key takeaways

With the tangible results of the transformation still coming in, Feist provided some key takeaways from their cloud journey so far:

  1. HCLTech brought in historical knowledge of Merck’s applications and infrastructure 
  2. Analyzed 2,000+ apps and identified 300+ apps for migration and modernization of on-premise workloads to the cloud 
  3. Created an innovative path to increase modernization 
  4. Modernized Merck’s core enterprise platforms (Tibco and SAP) 
  5. Committed multi-million-dollar savings over five years 
  6. Implemented retire, rearchitect, replatform and refactor of legacy assets across the business units 
  7. Implemented continuous automation and building of reusable components for driving efficiency post-modernization 
  8. Sprint-based DevSecOps framework for continuous delivery and improvement 


Continuous cloud modernization

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Giunta commented: “By working with Merck we have learned to apply product-centric applications and modernization in an innovative and continuously modernized way. This transformation will never die a technical death and we can maintain these applications in the future.” 

While Feist added: “We’re excited to have HCLTech as a partner for our future migration journeys.” 


Merck’s cloud transformation was delivered by applying HCLTech’s CloudSMART offerings designed for continuous modernization. 

CloudSMART features a suite of offerings and services that enable businesses to pivot from their current state to the modern cloud. This strategy and holistic offerings enable organization to modernize the enterprise, drive innovation and develop a cloud culture complete with the processes and skills to work in an agile way to maximize business value. The power of CloudSMART is derived from the unique collaboration of HCLTech’s business segments combined with active participation of the strong global network of ecosystem partners.

  1. Shift IT processes to a product-centric model–the goal is to focus on the business and a model more conducive to innovation 
  2. Merck has created an innovation mindset that is being adopted across its IT and cloud ecosystem models
  3. Develop application patterns to enable a factory approach to application migration–this provided access to valuable data and reduced technical debt 
  4. New integrated process will enable non-disruptive, governed migrations for the future 
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