Over the period of 10 years, a leading healthcare solution provider had been through merger and acquisition cycles integrating the offerings of the companies acquired into their line of business. Although, this garnered their business value offerings to the customers and broadened their market reach, it internally led to a disparate array of backend data sources ranging across: MS-Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Similarly for the front end reporting needs, client uses multiple tools i.e. Power Builder, MS – Assess, Cognos and SAS.
The key business challenges were:
• The current Data warehouse solution needs to be evaluated and re-architected, considering past and future business requirements.
• Currently, there are several resources that are focused in generating reports for various customers of client. Due to the current data warehouse design, disparate data sources and other unknown technical dependencies, time taken by these analysts is significant to generate the reports, thereby increasing the cost of conducting business.
• The usage of current BI/ DWH tools need to be evaluated and if required to be consolidated. The objective is to utilize those tools that are more pertinent to the business need, thereby reducing maintenance costs.
• Help to identify and automate overall ETL, OLAP and reporting process is a key element as this will help reduce manual dependencies, cause less human error and will be a good scalable option for similar or repetitive reporting needs from customers.
• Other challenge of providing timely delivery of reports to customers, due to complex internal environment set-up and dependencies on internal and external data feeds can be eliminated or minimized.
A Business Needs assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the client’s Data Warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.
The team conducted a high level assessment as follows:
• Interview with various Stakeholder i.e. Leadership team, Business subject matter experts, Technical subject matter experts, Infrastructure and IT, Business end users.
• Assessment of current technical architecture.
• Assessment of organizational and infrastructure readiness to support value transparency initiatives including key gaps.
• Assessment of cost/value improvement opportunities.
• Recommendation of high-level architecture and strategy to support defined information needs.
• Specific recommendations for short and long term improvements.
• Cost benefits analysis and ROI.
An Organizational Assessment includes an examination of the existing organizational structure and identification of the roles and responsibilities of both IT and the business community that need to be addressed. Organizational readiness for warehousing is examined, including readiness to assume responsibility for ongoing technical and business support, business requirements definition, and front end applications enhancement.
Business Needs Assessment
A Business Needs Assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business drivers and objectives and overall context of business need that has been established for the data warehouse. When business needs have been defined, the assessment process examines the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness and organization, the priorities of the requirements, and alignment of the data warehouse release strategy and deliverables to the needs.
Information Architecture Assessment
Information Architecture Assessment includes an analysis of logical data structures, their feasibility, completeness, documentation, and fit to business requirements. Information architecture assessment also includes analysis of data sourcing and transformation, the methods and assumptions applied, and validation of mappings to business requirements.
Technical Architecture Assessment
A Technical Architecture Assessment looks at current hardware, software and network infrastructure, and examines physical database designs. Technical architecture assessment seeks to identify any technical risks or constraints with regard to performance, maintenance, scalability, data distribution, disaster recovery, and sizing.
A high level technical approach that has been suggested is using SAS 9.2 to automate ETL, OLAP, Reporting, Dashboard and Data mining for client.
Deploying SAS Business Intelligence will enable the client to put reporting tools directly into the hands of its end users, ensuring consistent access to information for better decision making. Key benefits from the solution include:
• Reduced daily presentation time – Presentations for the monthly executive meeting are automatically generated, eliminating the technician time so they can spend more time on higher-level tasks.
• Reduced report creation time – Business users can access the reports they need and make changes and updates as needed, reducing the amount of time spent developing reports and requesting data.
• Automation of processes – Proposed ETL and Reporting automation using SAS Data integrator and Reporting studio
• Enhanced visibility – Because standard reports are updated monthly in a dashboard, they can quickly identify trends or problems.
• Improved data accuracy – Because users can access the data directly and automatically update key reports, they can ensure they always have access to the most up-to-date and accurate data.
• Optimized human resources – Because users can develop and customize their own reports, client has been able to significantly grow its reporting capabilities without adding reporting programmers: since the deployment more new reports have been created without IT intervention.