A Tech Story

Solving time-to-market with Serverless

Skipta, a branch of the Informa Pharma Intelligence group, provides a social network for nearly 1M U.S. healthcare providers (HCPs), connecting them with peers, clinically relevant content by specialty, and brands and product manufacturers within the healthcare field.

The rapid growth of platform users and brands has brought the underlying architectural issues the team inherited to the forefront: maintenance is time-consuming, the rollout of new features is encumbered, and critical data is fragmented and often stale.

Informa Pharma Intelligence

Problem, Approach, Results.

Nothing more, nothing less. Take a quick view of how we identify components of a problem, settle on an approach and drive results.

The Problem

The system issues fall into two arenas: the Contacts database was inherited from another unit, using an outdated PHP framework with a poorly designed schema, and no proper ETL processes for importing, updating, or synchronizing data. The platform architecture was entirely decentralized with over 25 Drupal databases.

This means:

With improved data quality, hygiene, and governance in place, the business will be better positioned to monetize the data and improve targeting and segmentation for brands.

Our Approach

The most impactful change is the data integrity, so we begin with the Contacts database. We tackle the Contact databases issues by rebuilding the contacts storage schema and some ETL processing around the data including DB triggers that will keep the data consistent. PostgreSQL will replace MySQL. We use a Serverless REST API based on node.js and static admin UI hosted in S3 using VueJS. The Contacts service API load isn’t that large so hosting this functionality based on serverless architecture provides fast performance, is easier to maintain, and will cost less from a hosting provider standpoint. Both the API and UI are rebuilt with modern and simple tools like node.js and VueJS using the power of TypeScript to increase system reliability and simplify maintenance and future development.

Tech Stack

Technologies we used are: • AWS Lambda
 • AWS API Gateway
 • AWS Glue
 • AWS S3
 • AWS ElasticSearch
 • Vue 3
 • Typescript
 • Node.js
 • Python
 • PostgreSQL
 • PHP

The Results

The rebuild of the contacts database provides users with confidence in the data in the admin dashboard, with fresh user interactivity and statistics across all platform communities, and enriched data from 3rd party sources like Maropost. The development team has achieved a 50% increase in new feature releases, and the hosting costs have declined by 40%.

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