Much can change for the better when an organization decides to build a business intelligence strategy. But how does a company begin to adopt a BI-centric mentality, and why should they want to? A closer look the almost decade-long journey of a major nursing and assisted living organization, with more than $3 billion in annual revenue, answers some of those questions. Let’s take a look at how they managed to make a series of crucial business changes and examine the huge financial benefits to their business.
July 2017 marks BlueGranite’s ninth year of partnership with the above-mentioned organization. With hundreds of skilled nursing and retirement communities across the U.S., the company had a stockpile of data available for exploration when we initially began working together.
The desire for continual innovation has fueled this organization’s growth, as well as our partnership. What began with a small initial engagement using SQL Server SharePoint BI has since grown exponentially. Over the years we have helped the organization implement a data warehouse, BI analytics solutions, and provided new development, support, maintenance, and enhancements. Now, over 1,200 users have access to the BI solution BlueGranite built and fully maintains.
While all of this progress and growth has been positive, it didn’t happen overnight. The client’s initial situation is described below:
- Their Traditional Reporting Tools could no longer support their needs for a proactive approach to managing the business.
- The organization was dealing with delayed and inconsistent reporting.
- Performance management was being delivered through the form of a quarterly scorecard that was created individually at each facility.
- By the time data was finally able to be consumed, it easily could have been a few months old.
- Because of the delay in information, they were unable to make proactive, data-driven decisions.
After understanding their initial setup, we worked with the client to get a clear vision of their wants and needs. Overall, they were looking for a business intelligence solution that provided data quickly and efficiently, had low licensing/operating costs, was simple to use, and was something that their IT department was already familiar with. With that information, we came up with a plan to make great improvements to the organization’s day-to-day management. That plan included:
- Leveraging our experience building Microsoft Business Intelligence solutions that integrate financial, clinical, resident, labor, and HR data from over 20 different sources together in one easy-to-access place.
- Providing timely data refreshes – monthly, weekly, daily and hourly – for corporate and individual facility/community levels.
- Enabling a distinct view into the past, present and future predictions of operational performance.
- Creating a scorecard containing the most important KPIs for the business so that they could use their data to gain quick insights and make informed decisions.
- Giving the organization the ability to easily pinpoint on-target and off-target data trends.
- Building Green-Yellow-Red “traffic light” icons in order to provide fast, at-a-glance information.
- Delivering upcoming financial projections based on accurate and timely data.
- Providing leaders with the ability to discern opportunities and quickly address areas of concern before they became a bigger issue.
When we started our work, we took a step back and broke everything out into phases so that we could take a strategic initiative and set realistic timeline expectations for everyone involved. In Phase 1, we pulled three different data sources (accounting, time tracking, and basic care statistics) into one place so that the client would have a single source of truth in their reports. We followed up with Phase 2, which consisted of expanding on additional data sources, such as government data sets, resident/family satisfaction surveys, etc.
A major issue was that the client was only able to see their financial data after a month had closed, posing problems with scheduling and finding ways to manage labor costs. By bridging historical account data to live performance, BlueGranite was able to make a positive impact on their day-to-day insights.
For example, PDF reports were being generated after each month closed, and they were cumbersome to deal with, plus didn’t provide any real understanding for the business. Implementing a live report with daily updates and linking back to historic data provided company leaders with the data they needed to proactively manage the business and make fast, informed decisions.
The outcome of building this solution had a lasting impact on the organization, especially when it came to saving on annual overtime labor costs. Specifically, leading and lagging indicators (which help tell an organization where they are and how they did) played big roles in the success of the solution. While their lagging indicators – such as financial performance – were helpful in letting the client know how they performed every month, implementing leading indicators opened new doors into how they planned for staffing needs.
Before the solution was in place, the client was unfortunately having to spend extra funds on labor to ensure that they were always compliant with the government’s laws and regulations targeted at healthcare facilities such as this one. By tracking the predicted daily population at each care facility, management was able to proactively adjust schedules and ensure that they had enough staff available to meet the law. This helped the organization prevent overstaffing (and overpaying) for additional employees, as well as ward off federal fines for being understaffed.
Once the client had access to timely and accurate data, they saw a multimillion-dollar reduction in annual overtime costs. If the cost savings were not enough, the organization also experienced a number of other benefits from making the upgrade. Their new centralized and automated business intelligence system gave clarity and valuable insights into their data when it came to timeliness and accuracy. This accuracy lead to an enviable return on investment thanks to better and faster decision making, plus they were able to reduce their IT costs by 90%. Data search time was also cut down by 80%, and the licensing cost for the new solutions ended up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars less than competing solutions.
So, what does happen when organizations adopt a BI-centric mentality? For one, companies can stop reactive behavior and start to take a proactive approach to making important decisions. As time passes and the solution advances, one could argue that organizations can begin to take a predictive approach and plan for the future with the help of advanced analytics and data governance. Additionally, we see the BI-centric mentality drive savings and improve day-to-day business for our clients – something many businesses want but might not know how to achieve.
Want to know more about how BlueGranite can help you achieve your advanced analytics goals? Contact us!