Article Published: June 30, 2015
Article Published: June 30, 2015
Thermo Fisher Scientific Made Pittsburgh One of Its Centers for Digital Operations
As a global leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher Scientific is doing just that; and it is using Pittsburgh as one of its IT centers to make it happen.
Although the company is based in Waltham, Mass., near Boston, Thermo Fisher Scientific has deep roots in Pittsburgh. In 1902, Chester G. Fisher founded Fisher Scientific to provide laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. The company became the premier provider of everything needed in the laboratory: from pipettes and centrifuges to cutting-edge analytical instruments.
Recently ranked fourth on the Barron’s 500, Thermo Fisher Scientific has $17 billion in annual revenue and a presence in 50 countries. The company helps customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity.
Through its brands—Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services—it offers a combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive support. Fisher Scientific was always known for its printed catalog, but Thermo Fisher Scientific has embraced all things online and digital to better serve its customers.
Tucked away in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, the company is in full-tilt growth mode, adding IT capacity every day to address the challenge.
Thermo Fisher Scientific became one of the world’s largest and most respected companies through both organic growth—growing alongside its customers—and acquisitions. In April 2013 Thermo Fisher acquired Life Technologies Corporation, adding the company’s genetic testing capabilities to its portfolio to create an unrivaled leader in serving research, specialty diagnostics and applied markets. The acquisition brought Ryan Snyder to Pittsburgh from San Diego to serve as its VP of IT Customer Channels.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between business strategy and IT,” he said. “We sit in the middle of these dialogs.”
“It’s about modernizing, digitizing and globalizing Thermo Fisher Scientific,” he said. “We want to go to a new place, to build on a great foundation and make it even more successful. That’s what gets me going every day!”
Snyder explained that Thermo Fisher Scientific offers the world’s largest catalog of products for life sciences and wants to create compelling online experiences. And that is where the fun begins if you’re a geek!
Snyder noted that he thoroughly enjoys the work culture at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We have a culture of respect. We have very respectful leadership that allows you to try new things. Failure is a learning experience. We have fun seeing each other succeed. What we’re doing here truly has a positive impact on people across the world.”
Lori Crozier, Thermo Fisher’s VP of Digital Technology and E-Business, couldn’t agree more. She came to Pittsburgh a few years ago via Chicago for this unique opportunity to leverage new technologies to drive Thermo Fisher Scientific’s growth.
“What we do resonates with people,” she said. “One of our products will likely help someone you know. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.”
E-business strategies will be a necessity for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s competitiveness.
“It’s a large company that is diverse and complex,” Crozier explained. “To bring this online for customers is huge. To take our story online is powerful.”
To do this, Thermo Fisher Scientific is embracing top technology platforms like SAP, Websphere, Adobe CQ, Hybris, and Endeca. The teams are building e-business solutions, web sites, mobile apps, and RFID technologies for supply centers and using cloud-based data analytics.
“It’s a challenge to bring a broad portfolio online in a way that is meaningful, but we have the tools and team to do it!” she noted.
The company is actively hiring across IT disciplines for developers, UX designers and project managers.
“We have roles open in every area. It’s fast-paced, dynamic and very exciting.” Crozier said. She noted that currently 40 positions are looking to be filled.
“As a technologist, you want to work with the best stuff,” she said. “We have that!”
The “best stuff” is also deployed on Thermo Fisher Scientific’s internal technology infrastructure.
Randy Carter, VP of IT for Global Infrastructure Services, is in charge of all data centers, global networks, end user services, local area networks and more to keep Thermo Fisher Scientific’s 500 sites and 50,000 employees connected and running.
“It takes a strong team to make this happen,” said Carter, who traces his roots back to process engineering in the chemical industry. He has almost 300 people on his global team and more than 60 here in Pittsburgh with Waltham and Carlsbad rounding out the picture. Crozier and Snyder rely on Carter’s team to ensure they can build, test and deploy all of their technology solutions.
Currently, Global Infrastructure Services is migrating Thermo Fisher Scientific to Microsoft Office 365. “We’re looking for people that look at e-mail differently,” said Carter. “As big as we are, the network team is constantly changing [to keep up with the latest technologies]. That change makes it exciting to be here.”
Thermo Fisher Scientific is truly depending on its technology teams to drive the business well into the future. Crozier, Snyder and Carter all agree that the company has created the right culture to ensure that happens.
“Our culture starts with our leadership and serving customers,” Snyder said. “Our CIO is about the one-team concept. Everyone is all in and it really sets the tone. We are in this for the long haul.”