Integrated Communications

Case Study: Dexcom, Oracle Integration

Dagoberto Aceves
Lead Engineer

How One Company Grew Its Technology Footprint While Keeping Its Legacy Systems Intact

Technology and innovation continue to evolve at a staggering pace. In today’s competitive landscape, ‘progress’ ultimately means that whatever solution your company implemented previously is likely not up to the task of accomplishing what your company needs to do to stay ahead of the curve and be successful.

With respect to web development, it is not that your legacy code isn’t good, but rather that your legacy code simply cannot be expected to handle the demands that tomorrow will require of your company. In an ideal world your existing technology infrastructure will be flexible enough to grow with future demands. At worst you will need to throw away what you have and start from scratch. Both decisions have there own set of unique advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately you’ll want to be in the former position not the latter. For companies dealing with this problem and attempting to step-up their presence online, Drupal has proven to be the premier solution that is not only flexible enough to keep up with the pace of technological change, but extensible enough to keep your digital pursuits within reach.

Dexcom is a medical device company that develops, manufactures and distributes continuous glucose monitoring systems for diabetes management. Achieve Internet has recently been working closely with Dexcom as the company extends its web presence with Drupal, while keeping its internal legacy technologies in place. As a medical device company, security is of paramount importance and a driving force for the company was to maintain the utmost level of security to protect its customer’s valuable and highly sensitive personal data. These were problems previously solved by Dexcom’s technology team that now needed to be addressed in the online ecosystem. Taking advantage of Drupal’s modular design and hook invocation system, the project extended out Dexcom’s well-founded business practices across multiple phases. Each phase surfaced portions of Dexcom’s legacy systems and processes through a Drupal based experience, while using ‘plug-and-play’ custom developed modules to bring Dexcom up to speed with new web technology, ultimately keeping the legacy systems and security best-practices intact.

Throughout each phase of a project and as legacy processes make there way to the web, Drupal’s role will progress in the business technology stack. Dexcom, as well as other similarly positioned companies, plan to take advantage of Drupal’s passionate community supported modules to drive new ideas forward in their newborn web presence. This strategy has numerous distinct benefits. Companies such as Dexcom will have the opportunity to use functionality available out of the box from Drupal.org (http://drupal.org/). Features such as users, pages, administrative components and permissions are huge leaps forward that Drupal brings to the table in an out-of-the-box fashion. Drupal’s core components are tried and true, meaning Dexcom and other similar companies are able to focus their efforts on important technology decisions that drive business forward.

Companies are increasingly taking advantage of existing contributed modules for extending the base functionality of Drupal. Drupal’s module construction philosophy of being generic and expandable means companies like Dexcom can rest assured that if certain desired functionality doesn’t exist exactly as they want it, companies like Achieve can bring about a desirable outcome without coding them into a proverbial corner. Drupal Commerce for example, has already been tapped to be the commerce platform of choice by many companies. Chosen for its strong community support and interchangeable payment features, Achieve routinely leverages this platform to bring its clients’ products to the web, while preserving legacy pricing and payment systems through web services integration.

Achieve Internet strongly believes in Drupal’s core module philosophy and frequently builds new custom modules with extensibility in mind. As we continue to support clients such as Dexcom we focus our efforts on building around, rather than over existing systems. We strive to keep these core legacy systems intact while adding functionality and extending the client’s technology stack. Our key philosophy includes actively building on existing modules as needed, but also building custom modules in a way that allows future iterations to scale without reengineering the entire platform. The development of custom modules is at the foundation for building Drupal beyond the scope of the community needs. Weaving extensibility into the construction means that a custom module built today will be a reusable feature of tomorrow.

Already companies like Dexcom are seeing a positive reward with their new Drupal site. By leveraging Drupal’s extensible framework, vast array of contributed modules and in some cases automating the workflow, similar companies have reduced their overall cost of sales (COS) and increased sales exponentially. All of this is accomplished by adapting to the client’s legacy system, which helps minimize disruption to existing IT infrastructure. By leveraging Drupal’s key philosophy, Achieve Internet will ensure that its clients’ future web technology needs are close at hand.

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