Our client – a major non-profit healthcare provider – lacked a central platform for the aggregation and analysis of data necessary to develop essential business strategies.
Their data analysis systems relied on their analysts’ ability to correctly seek out and use disparate tools to retrieve and analyze relevant data. The resulting disparity in both technologies and process often resulted in contradictory data. Consequently, managers and executives were presented with several versions of the “truth” and were unable to make reliable decisions regarding the company’s direction. Additionally, newly hired analysts were required to learn a daunting number of platforms and processes, an added cost and frustration for our client.
Plaster Group was asked to offer expertise in the creation of a knowledge management initiative revolving around the construction and implementation of a new data warehouse. This new system would be responsible for supporting our client’s mission of providing patient-centered care by increasing data quality, reducing costs, and supporting collaboration enterprise wide.
Plaster Group met with leadership to prioritize knowledge management initiatives including the creation of a new data warehouse and the standardization of data analytic tools and processes. Plaster Group’s Data and Analytics Consultants contributed significantly to our client’s overall knowledge management strategy and vision while outlining necessary work streams. They also laid the foundation for a road map of future initiative objectives that would be utilized and modified by full time employees after their hire.
Additionally, Plaster Group consultants served key roles in:
- Business to Technical Team Mediation – serving as liaisons between business and technical teams to develop and deliver requirements, set expectations, and resolve impediments to the development process
- Team Building and Mentorship – working with a team of full time employees with limited BI backgrounds, and training them in the production, utilization and maintenance of the new data warehouse
- Process Development and Documentation – creating and documenting business processes that ensured our client’s ability to continue the knowledge management initiative beyond Plaster Group’s participation
- Data Warehouse Development – establishing Kanban Agile processes for the development team, creating and managing the release process, and defining the architecture of the new Data Warehouse
Working almost entirely with existing FTE resources for the majority of the project, Plaster Group BI consultants helped to create and deploy the new data warehouse and to define standardized business processes for its application. As limited infrastructure was in place before its construction, and our client’s employees hadn’t previously built a data warehouse, all data modeling and architecture was produced “from the ground up.” Employees were trained in this process as well. Plaster Group consultants believed this process was essential in ensuring our client’s teams were capable of continuing this mission critical work independent of outside aid.
As it was necessary to right-size the solution to our non-profit client’s resources, the system was built with cost efficiency in mind. The data warehouse was built using existing in-house tools: the platform is SQL Server and initial reporting tools are Excel and SQL. Subsequent versions will employ tools such as PowerView, PowerPivot and Spotfire.
The new data warehouse integrates data from three primary external sources and multiple auxiliary internal and external systems. It has been released to analysts and super users and has received extremely positive feedback. Analysts have direct access to actionable data and can spend their time developing insights from this critical information instead of seeking it out. The newly integrated data can be retrieved much faster, and the standardized tools ensure any data retrieved is more comprehensive, comprehensible, and reliable. Consequently, business users are looking forward to the next level of implementation which will put this actionable data directly into their hands and incorporate additional data sources.
Moreover, a technical foundation for future successful knowledge management has been laid and the employees are capable of continuing the process, and leveraging our client’s technology, independent of Plaster Group involvement.
Testimonial: “I know a lot of folks have put varying degrees of time/effort into [our project] as it morphs into another phase. I just want to say thank you. Every time I get to use [our new system] I am thankful. You have done (and continue to do) a tremendous job and the fact that such a huge undertaking has come off so smoothly, and on schedule, is a testament to your thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and hard work.”