How McKesson used Google Cloud to rethink their database architecture


Editor’s note: We’re hearing today from pharmaceutical and pharmacy technology giant McKesson about how their teams modernized siloed infrastructure to use data better. Here’s how they did it.

McKesson Corporation is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information solutions. Every day, McKesson delivers one-third of all pharmaceuticals used in North America to more than 40,000 customers in retail chains, independent pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care providers, and more. 

Technology change requires culture change
As McKesson continues to grow, so does our technology team. Over the last few years, we’ve become the home to multiple databases, platforms, and data warehouses. With this variety of data tools, it was clear that we needed a stronger, long-term solution that would let us get the most out of our data—this wasn’t just a technological shift, but a cultural one as well. 

Why we chose Google Cloud
While researching various cloud providers, we discovered that Google Cloud offered all the same strengths of the cloud platform we’d previously been using, while also providing unique tools and benefits that fit perfectly with our needs. 

Google Cloud changed the way we worked. As a legacy shop, we only had one option, which meant teams were using their own batch process databases with low-latency app calls during business hours and batch processing ETL during non-business hours. By moving to Google Cloud, we were able to take advantage of Cloud SQL, a fully managed relational database service for MySQL, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL—the service we preferred. 

The Google Cloud team also helped us to create a quadrant system for migration that allowed us to see quick wins and add predictability for more complex migrations. Additionally, the familiarity and the wealth of training tools allowed for an easy transition for our team—we’ve been able to retrain our existing team and give them the capacity to focus on more impactful areas to the business. 

Continuing to evolve and grow with Google Cloud
We are continuing to move more data and teams onto Google Cloud, but one aspect that has really made the transition easier is Google Cloud’s advancement in multi-cloud. They’ve made it easier for us to get the best of multiple clouds, which allows us to fine-tune our solutions from a wider array of cloud options before locking in. 

With Google Cloud’s simplicity, security, and dedication to innovation in fields like healthcare, it was and continues to be a strong fit and an easy choice to provide the best for our teams, customers, and patients who depend on McKesson to keep them healthy.

Learn more about McKesson’s data modernization journey here.