How Varian went digital to accelerate the fight against cancer

by Jayashree Ramakrishna

posted on 10-15-2020

Varian’s vision is to create a world without fear of cancer – “combining the ingenuity of people with the power of data and technology to achieve new victories against cancer.”

The company manufactures sophisticated radiotherapy equipment, giving oncologists the tools they need to treat patients and save lives. Over the past few years, Varian has strengthened its commitment to fighting cancer with a sweeping digital transformation designed to empower employees and drive innovation—with a focus on customers.

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“We touch more than 4 million patients every year. We’re looking to increase that number significantly, dramatically improve customer satisfaction, and reinvest in innovative new therapies. That’s how we will make an impact in the fight against cancer.”

Snehashish Sarker, VP of business transformation, Varian

Sarkar leads transformation initiatives at Varian—and it’s a big job. The company has migrated 70 percent of its enterprise applications to the cloud. It has launched new productivity and collaboration tools for employees, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Adobe Sign. It has gone to market with a new AI-powered adaptive therapy platform called ETOS, which can help oncologists reduce treatment times and improve outcomes. And the company is committed to a culture that values employees.

The transformation is ongoing, but the effort has already paid huge dividends by keeping Varian up and running during COVID-19.

Business continuity in any environment

When people had to quickly shift to working at home, Varian had much of the infrastructure in place to keep business going without any interruptions in customer support, and without risking the health of its workforce.

“During the pandemic, our top priorities are the safety and well-being of our employees and taking care of customers,” says Sarkar. “Nearly 65 percent of our employees now work from home, while the other 35% already work in the field either fixing or selling machines onsite with customers.”

One digital tool that is essential to keeping the business moving is Adobe Sign. Varian just finished migrating to Adobe Sign, and it is already central to several business processes. For example, when field engineers install a new radiotherapy machine or perform maintenance at a cancer treatment center, they need to generate a field service report and obtain a customer signature. Thanks to its integration with Salesforce, Adobe Sign makes it easy to do both, allowing engineers to keep equipment running smoothly. They don’t have to worry about whether they have the latest customer information—those details populate automatically from Salesforce, reducing errors and shortening the time it takes to generate the field service report. Customers can sign in a matter of seconds and get back to what really matters—taking care of patients.

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E-signatures have also made a big difference in human resources (HR). To keep up with continued customer demands, Varian has expanded its workforce over the past few months. Using Adobe Sign for employment documents, the HR department onboarded 250 new employees in just two months. According to Sarkar, “100% of recent employee onboarding was achieved remotely.”

For Sarkar, the trend toward e-signatures and digital workflows is clear. Adobe Sign can help Varian continue to optimize additional processes in HR, the supply chain, customer service, even compliance—though he notes that the highly regulated nature of Varian’s business may make it hard to eliminate paper-based processes entirely.

“When we started using e-signatures several years ago, we expected a volume of 8,000 transactions every year,” says Sarkar. “Today, with Adobe Sign, we’re looking at 300,000 transactions annually—a quantum leap in the digitization of paper-based processes.”

Empowering employees and customers

Going forward, Varian sees the opportunity to further move the needle in its fight against cancer. That means optimizing the supply chain, building more remote diagnostics into products, and finding new ways to stay in contact with customers—whatever brings value to the company, its customers, oncologists, and patients.

“The work we’ve been doing for the past few years has become all the more important,” says Sarkar. “We are doubling down on digital transformation and customer satisfaction, so we can flourish and find new, better ways to serve our customers.”

The company knows employees are central to that effort. By empowering them to stay productive—and supporting them on a human level—Varian helps ensure its success. That’s crucial for cancer treatment centers and the patients they care for, who rely on Varian’s machines for urgent therapies.

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Topics: Future of Work, Productivity, Healthcare, Document Cloud,

Products: Sign,