Eli Lilly Centralizes Platform Operations to Gain Agility and Deliver Value

At the Veeva R&D and Quality Summit Connect, Harry Tunnell and Lukas Gogis shared Eli Lilly’s platform journey, key lessons learned, and a case study in how operational agility kept value delivery on track despite an unexpected change in business needs.

Tunnell set the stage by describing Eli Lilly’s evolution from siloed releases managed with a waterfall methodology to a consolidated, agile delivery approach. A single team now oversees enhancements to Vault Study Startup, Vault eTMF, and Vault CTMS, using common processes for configuration, releases, and validation.

Tunnell and Gogis also provided a real-world example of how their operating paradigm handled a newly prioritized clinical trial that created significant unscheduled, time-critical work. Drop-ins like this often delay the planned release of new functionality, with a cascading effect across the technology portfolio. Instead, Eli Lilly was able to pivot quickly. In days, a self-organizing team came up with a plan of iterative deliveries to both address the new requirements and deliver the capabilities promised in the 2021 release schedule.

As a result, Eli Lilly delivered an initial feature set in under three weeks—“an unheard-of timeframe to turn that kind of reprioritization around,” according to Gogis. In the next sprint, the team rescoped the release to include the remaining mandatory features as well as critical functionality originally slated for a later major release. Gogis credits the team’s operational agility with “maintaining the schedule and delivering the right value at the right time.”

Lessons in Teamwork, Upskilling, and Objective Measures

Gogis summarized three lessons learned on Eli Lilly’s journey to a centralized operating model. First, “everyone does agile”—not just IT, but also business stakeholders, Veeva Professional Services, and third-party vendors. Second, the entire delivery team should be trained on the agile framework and Veeva platform to build a shared vocabulary, mindset, and understanding of product capabilities. Lastly, the agile process provides objective measures of delivery velocity and capacity, which makes it easier to prioritize and schedule platform enhancements.

Gogis also highlighted positive changes to IT’s role in the new delivery model. IT analysts are now embedded in the functional teams, making them “valuable contributors and solid partners with our business.” In addition, some IT analysts were trained as configuration specialists, and their expertise “helped us get more right earlier” and increased “how much work we could get done during the configuration sprints.”

You can learn more about Eli Lilly’s agile, centralized approach to platform management by watching this session on demand at

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