Thomson Reuters Enterprise Collaboration Platform: Cortellis + JPharm

Project type: Web Platform
Business domain: Healthcare

Business Overview

The client, Thomson Reuters, is a leading global provider of solutions for academia, corporations, and brands, which allows them to monitor the market, combine their efforts, and develop joint pharmaceutical projects. Based in Philadelphia, London, Beijing, and Tokyo, Thomson Reuters brings together specialists from all over the world. Cortellis is a collaboration system, which consists of a collection of scientific, healthcare, and financial information databases, which are being updated by Thomson Reuters employees and then purchased by their clients—pharmaceutical companies. Cortellis provides information about pharmaceutical products to all sides that may be interested in the development process of a certain sample: its development stage, market overview, etc. JPharm is an internal Cortellis platform for collaboration of editors in the field of chemistry, patent law, pharmacology, and medicine from all over the world, where they can upload and edit information about given medicine.


The client contacted NIX after years of collaboration with various other vendors and already had an unsuccessful experience of working with several remote teams: they could not coordinate the work properly and were unsatisfied with the results. At that time, JPharm was a collection of the various non-integral databases, which didn’t work properly as a united system. Editors who worked there couldn’t upload and alter the data in a proper way, found the work of the system inconvenient, and asked for improvements. Thomson Reuters didn’t have a full understanding of the platform’s architecture and couldn’t satisfy these requests—they could only maintain the system’s functionality, but couldn’t improve it. That is why they contacted NIX. Within a rather short period of time, the development team had to explore the complex architecture and understand where the problem was, and then solve it. The client also asked us to test the functionality of the whole collaboration platform, Cortellis, for which JPharm was an inner application. Since the platform included thousands of different databases, the task required the involvement of more than a 100 quality assurance specialists.


After the client contacted NIX, the scale of the work was assessed. After numerous discussions and communications with the client, it was decided to transfer all development and quality assessment services from the previous teams to NIX. The team performed a number of steps, which led to the solution of the problem. Firstly, NIX specialists figured out the architecture of the system, which was quite fuzzy and complex, did reverse engineering, and created the architecture concept—an extensive document, which explained how the system and its features function. Secondly, The NIX development team detected all the weak points, which prevented the system from functioning properly. Afterward, the team revised layer systems, which made the integration of the new elements possible. As a final step, NIX experts developed new modules—data loaders—which simplified the editors’ work and made it more comfortable, as it became possible to easily upload data in the system in the required form and to do this automatically. At the same time, 180 quality assessment specialists worked on the project, conducting different types of manual and automation tests, including challenging data testing (The Data) to make sure that the data remain consistent and did not get lost after all of the transformations in the system. NIX started collaboration from a small team of three people: a BA, a Senior Java Developer, and his assistant and finished the work on the project in a team of 15.


Due to the professionalism and commitment of NIX specialists, the ability to deliver high-quality solutions, and to appoint an appropriate number of experts, the client received the desired product with the requested functionality. After the work was completed, the product effectively functioned for around four years until the company decided to sell it and did so successfully. As a result, the client got a well-functioning product with features which were absent in its initial form, and a clear understanding of how it should be updated and maintained, as NIX had also provided exhaustive documentation with all of the technical and architectural information for JPharm application. Thanks to the work of the QA specialists, the whole platform functioned with a minimal amount of defects. They developed a framework for automated testing (more than 10 000 automated tests), which allowed to speed up the development and deployment process of the platform. Working with NIX, the client gained an understanding that collaboration with a remote team can be successful and lead to favorable results. With that said they previously had many unsuccessful experiences in trying to build up productive cooperation with various vendors. When the platform was ready, functioned in the proper way, and was able to automatically control its functionality, Thomson Reuters decided to sell Cortellis to another company. The deal is considered successful and brought the company the possibility to develop other projects.

Tech: JPharm – Java (EJB 2.0, SWING, JDBC), PL/SQL; 
Services: Development, QA (manual/automation), Tech Publication, Business Analysis