PDX Inc. Deploys Snowflake and Looker To Deliver Analytics-based SaaS Solution to Pharmacies

Best-of-breed duo chosen over legacy data warehouse and Hadoop/cloud options

SAN MATEO, Calif. – March 7, 2017 — Snowflake Computing, the only data warehouse built for the cloud, teamed up with its partner Looker, a leading data platform company, to deliver pharmacy-services firm PDX Inc. with an analytics-based SaaS solution to serve its 10,000 pharmacy customers. The service enables pharmacies to gain deep insight into their operations, finances, and patient-centric clinical decisions.

PDX, of Fort Worth, Texas, offers products and services so individual and chain pharmacies across the US can process prescriptions; make operational, financial and patient- centric clinical decisions; and operate wellness programs. More than 10,000 pharmacies use one or more of PDX’s suite of on-premises and SaaS software and services, requiring PDX to process over 25 million new or changed records per day.

To grow its service offerings, PDX wanted to gather data on all its pharmacies and provide that analysis back to them in a SaaS offering so the pharmacies could better market to and serve their customers.

But PDX faced several challenges with its SaaS endeavor:

  • Its legacy, on-premises data warehouse couldn’t analyze data across multiple pharmacies or an entire pharmacy chain. It couldn’t scale to accommodate additional customers, and it had no ad hoc query capability.
  • Processing larger volumes of data would have required additional, expensive hardware. For, example, PDX’s existing environment took a week to process 3 billion records – an endeavor that should have taken a fraction of the time.

PDX set up a six-week, proof-of-concept comparison to find a new data warehouse and data analytics platform. In addition to Snowflake and Looker, the competitors included PDX’s legacy data warehouse provider, and Hortonworks Hadoop deployed on the Microsoft Azure cloud service.

The Hadoop team had a two-week head start but Snowflake caught up within a few days and was importing and analyzing data within a week. During that time, the Hadoop and legacy teams spent at least three weeks standing up those environments. Snowflake was the clear winner across all categories:

For the presentation layer, PDX compared Looker to other popular data-visualization tools. Thanks to Snowflake’s native integration with Looker, its efficient use of SQL, and its avoidance of unnecessary joins, Looker achieved the desired query performance with a warehouse half the footprint of the competition’s. PDX also appreciated that Looker has an in-database application layer so PDX can grow Snowflake and Looker simultaneously.

With Snowflake and Looker, a single interface allows for logging into accounts, creating new databases and warehouses and managing permissions. As SaaS offerings, the combination easily accommodates growth, and PDX has minimal administrative chores. Data is always encrypted, at rest and in-transit.

“We feel very confident that whatever we run into we’ll be able to scale Snowflake to meet the performance requirements of our pharmacy customers,” PDX’s chief information officer, Todd Crosslin said.

With Snowflake and Looker, PDX can easily identify a pharmacy’s highest performing technicians with the lowest error rates to help improve utilization rates. PDX can pass that information onto a pharmacy as an unsolicited, good-will gesture to generate initial and ongoing interest in PDX’s new SaaS offering.

“I emailed the customer, and I can’t even say how ecstatic she was,” Crosslin said.

With a single query, PDX also found numerous prescriptions that insurance companies inadequately reimbursed. Armed with this information, the affected pharmacies could obtain outstanding monies owed.

Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia added, “Analytics-based SaaS offerings continue to emerge from vendors rich with data to provide crucial insight to their customers. Snowflake is emerging as the logical data warehouse choice of data-driven SaaS companies to best serve their customers.”

About Snowflake

Snowflake is the only data warehouse built for the cloud. Snowflake delivers the performance, concurrency and simplicity needed to store and analyze all an organization’s data in one location. Snowflake’s technology combines the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms and the elasticity of the cloud at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Snowflake: Your data, no limits. Find out more at snowflake.net.


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Eszter Szikora

Snowflake Computing