Automation And Increased Efficiency: How The Pharma Innovator Phlexglobal Saved 60% On Cloud Costs

“I can’t think of a company that wouldn’t benefit from CAST AI. Maybe a hobbyist running a single node, or someone like that. But otherwise, the advantages are clear. A startup can benefit from getting a lower cloud bill and using smarter cost management. For giant enterprises, CAST AI could save millions of dollars per month. It just seems to be a no-brainer for me.”

Company size

400+ employees




Chesham, UK

Cloud services used

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

Leading innovation at the pharma industry’s scale

Phlexglobal is the leading provider of automation and AI solutions for clinical and regulatory matters, helping the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world reach new levels of efficiency. The company is part of PharmaLex Group. 

Phlexglobal deploys machine learning models to assist internal teams and clients streamline processes, addressing the rapidly evolving demands of the healthcare and biotech sectors. “AI and machine learning are a big part of our technical strategy,” said Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal. 

To support its suite of products, Phlexglobal has developed a cloud infrastructure that is secure, compliant, and – most importantly – scalable. “Our clients often operate during regular business hours, so we need the capability to meet their demands during the day and scale down outside of business hours,” said Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal. 

“Three or four years ago, we had a large on-prem footprint. But then our teams rebuilt one of our main products into a cloud application that used cloud-native technologies like Kubernetes. With time, we started leveraging Kubernetes more and more, especially Azure Kubernetes Service which provided us with a PaaS service backed by the Azure expertise. We have seen massive benefits around deployment – it’s a lot easier to spin up a new instance for a client in Kubernetes rather then build a whole new series of web apps or service functions.”

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

Reducing cost per client pointed to cloud expenses

Phlexglobal’s spending on cloud resources – north of $2 million – contributed to high operating costs per client. The team also encountered challenges around managing reservations and commitments, considering the highly dynamic and scalable nature of the infrastructure.

The company was looking for a Kubernetes cost optimization solution that would step in to manage and reduce costs, at the same time slashing the energy and time the team spent on cost management. 

“The solutions that I really like are plug-and-play – you plug them in and then can forget about them because they get the job done. Having something that just takes away another piece of complexity in someone’s day is really important to me. I want it all to be automated, I don’t want to have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. And CAST AI has been perfect for that, it’s now an integral part of our toolkit.”

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

Right at the start, Phlexglobal’s VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations met with the CAST AI engineers and founders. “Those guys were very passionate and clear about what they wanted to do. So it was nice dealing with the founders and engineers directly, so I never felt the need to look elsewhere. I believed in their product and what they were doing. I reviewed one other cloud automation product but it just didn’t fit that kind of feature suite that CAST AI offered,” he said.

Delegating the task of provisioning and optimizing cloud resources did not present any challenges, despite the fact that Phlexglobal operates in a strictly regulated pharmaceutical sector. 

“We work in an industry where leveraging third-party solutions can be tricky. But you have to use a risk-based approach here and have a full understanding of the risk involved. We have tested and risk-assessed CAST AI thoroughly: our testing including soak testing a small cluster running for at least a month to make sure there are no unknown side effects, and we scaled it causing a massive load to test it. And ultimately, if a solution passes all your tests, it means that it’s a good fit. In this case, CAST AI ended up saving us a lot of money without causing any issues whatsoever.” 

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

Get results like Phlexglobal – book a demo with CAST AI now

Smooth procurement and onboarding via the AKS Marketplace

The availability of CAST AI on the AKS Marketplace streamlined the procurement process thanks to thorough security vetting and click-through deployments to Azure Kubernetes Service.

“Obviously, for a pharma company, it makes a big difference when a solution is available through a channel like Azure’s AKS Marketplace. We have a strict process around supplier approvals that covers aspects like risk assessment, validation, and ensuring that the product matches the requirements and compliance standards. If we’re operating within the Azure ecosystem and all the data, billing, and setup stay within Azure, it certainly makes things a lot easier because a lot of risk stays within Azure and not with the supplier,”

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

The CAST AI team supported Phlexglobal at every step of the onboarding process. “The onboarding and support have been great. As an engineer, I appreciated the opportunity of being able to speak to the engineers directly. It’s been an experience I’ve not had before. It felt like they’re like a separate engineering team and they’re working along with you to build this overarching solution for your clients. It’s great having such an open culture, which cannot be said about many other suppliers,” said Alex Potter-Dixon.

By implementing CAST AI, Phlexglobal saved 60% on the cloud

Thanks to the plug-and-play implementation of CAST AI, Phlexglobal has saved around 60% on cloud costs. 

“I know this sounds terrible, but I can’t remember the last time I logged into the CAST AI console. For us, CAST AI has really been a plug-and-play setup. It’s stable and it saves us a ton of money. As long it does that, it’s a perfect product and there’s no need to interact with it.”

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

Since CAST AI displays all the Kubernetes costs in real time, it fits well into the FinOps culture Phlexglobal has developed. “One cultural benefit we got from CAST AI is more information and more focus on costs in general. I’ve always struggled with making cost everyone’s problem. Having a tool that supports that and feeds the information to different people is a helpful reminder about the importance of costs and why we have to focus on them. At the end of the day, we’re a business that needs to make money.”

CAST AI has also reduced the complexity around many configuration and capacity management tasks. For example, when a team needs to run a new workload, it needs to find the best cloud resources for it in terms of performance and cost. 

“We may have a memory-intense workload and or a CPU-intense workload and need the right cloud resources to run them. Doing that natively within Kubernetes is a lot more difficult. You need separate node pools, set the tolerations up, and follow up on that process. With CAST AI, it’s pretty much just an annotation, and then the solution will act on its own, buying more resources in line with our requirements. This makes the lives of our engineers easier.”  

Alex Potter-Dixon, VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Phlexglobal

Next steps: Optimizing machine learning costs

Phlexglobal’s increasing AI and machine learning footprint motivates the company to find cost-cutting opportunities in this area as well – and this is where CAST AI can help.

“Machine learning models are expensive to run in the cloud, so we’re looking at the possibility of using CAST AI to reduce costs in this area. We expect that it will help us deal with scale and responsiveness, it’s a big part of our strategy. Having that strong client-supplier relationship is reassuring, meaning that CAST AI will be there to support our needs as they evolve.” said Alex Potter-Dixon.

Get results like Phlexglobal – book a demo with CAST AI now
CAST AI features used
  • Spot instance automation
  • Real-time autoscaling
  • Instant Rebalancing
  • Full cost visibility

You’re underway to simplify Kubernetes

  • No more complexity of Kubernetes management
  • 50%+ lower cloud costs without repetitive tasks
  • Predictable cloud bills and performance at all times

4.1/5 – Average rating

5/5 – Average rating

Users love CAST AI on G2 CAST AI is a leader in Cloud Cost Management on G2 CAST AI is a leader in Cloud Cost Management on G2 CAST AI is a leader in Small-Business Cloud Cost Management on G2

Book a demo

Find out how much you can save on your cloud bill.

✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number
Which Kubernetes services are you using?(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.