My years of working with transactional systems helps me really appreciate the age old question of “how to get data out?” My curiosity about using data to gain actionable business insights started with the first computer program I ever developed. It was a natural progression of my problem-solving skills. I was involved with building transformational financial reporting applications to complement the then state of the art mainframe ERP applications in play at Continental Airlines. Time would prove this approach as not sustainable so I was very excited for the next phase of “pre-packaged analytics applications” such as Seibel Analytics and Essbase integration with Lawson ERP (both were “the best thing since sliced bread”).
Like most technology, these pre-packaged analytics applications have improved over time so I truly believe that BI managers should consider implementing them. These apps are prebuilt and aligned with functional and vertical business domains that are built on a pre-integrated, scalable data warehousing infrastructure. They are geared to organizations that want to accelerate the time it takes to deploy BI solutions and deliver an analytical complement to their packaged operational applications.
A packaged analytics application integrates all the components required to deliver a BI solution:
- Connectors to various packaged operational systems (i.e. CRM, ERP, Sales, EMR)
- An extendable and flexible enterprise data model
- Extract, transform and load (ETL) tools
- A BI semantic layer
- Query and reporting tools, including ad hoc capability
- Predefined metrics, reports and dashboards … sometimes hundreds of them.
Vendors of packaged solutions integrate these components using industry best practices and techniques. This is key because they also provide upgrades as the transactional data is improved and it means that customers get a best-in-class BI solution in weeks compared to months if they were to build a solution from scratch. The best analytics packages all run off the same enterprise model and platform so that healthcare organizations can start with one functional application and extend it with a comprehensive, integrated, enterprise BI solution one application at a time.
Pre-packaged solutions are readily available and should be considered as value add when making an evaluation of ERP and EMR applications. The two big EMR powerhouses are both providing some level of pre-packaged reporting solutions. The vendors know their data models and these pre-built solutions are the fastest way to measure what matters when it comes to common business transactions.
Pre-packaged applications play a vital role of aggregating data for a set of business processes, but if an enterprise expects to get true value of their data, the need for an “Enterprise” data warehouse still exists. This is why I am so passionate about these solutions … the chance to find new and actionable insights from data is the ultimate goal of analytics. We can’t find out the value without “mashing up” data across silos. For example: how to understand revenue to expense ratios or productivity metrics such as FTEs per unit sold, hours worked per billable test or how to correlate unstructured data such as social media data with structured data when evaluating a patient in a clinical trial.
Perficient implements both pre-packaged analytics and data warehouse technology across multiple platforms. The Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics (EHA) platform is uniquely adaptable to breaking down the silos in healthcare though an integrated model that expands across finance, clinical and research domains.
If you are attending the Oracle Healthcare User Group @HIUG_Interact 2015, taking place in Las Vegas June 7-10, stop by booth #118, meet our dynamic team and discuss new ways to optimize your analytics!
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