Cost benefits of technology assessment in a business organization

Over the past 10 years, a leading healthcare solution provider has gone through M&A cycles that integrate takeover bids as part of their business. Despite the fact that this allowed to gain business value for customers and expand their market reach, it led internally to the creation of a diverse range of backend data sources in various industries: MS-Access, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. The company has been able to offer its customers a wide range of products and services in the healthcare sector. Similarly, for front-end reporting, the client uses many tools, i.e. Power Builder, MS – Assess, Cognos and SAS.

Business needs

The key business challenges were

– The current data warehouse solution needs to be evaluated and re-examined, taking into account past and future business requirements.

– Currently, there are several resources that are focused on generating reports for different clients of the client. Due to the current design of the data warehouse, divergent data sources and other unknown technical dependencies, the time needed for these analysts to generate reports is important, which increases the cost of doing business.

– The use of current BI/DWH tools needs to be evaluated and, if necessary, consolidated. The aim is to use tools that are more relevant to business needs and thus reduce maintenance costs.

– Helping to identify and automate ETL, OLAP and reporting processes is a key element as it will help to reduce manual dependency, cause fewer human errors and will be a good scalable option for similar or repeatable customer reporting needs.

– Another challenge of delivering reports to customers on time, due to the complex configuration of the internal environment and dependence on internal and external data sources, can be eliminated or minimized.

Solution

Business Needs Assessment includes an analysis of the core business factors and objectives and the overall context of the business needs that have been established for the customer data warehouse. Once business needs have been defined, the assessment process analyses the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness, requirement priorities and adapting the strategy for providing access to the data warehouse and products to the needs.

The team carried out a high-level assessment as follows

– Interview with various stakeholders, i.e. the leadership team, business experts, technical 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 opportunities for cost/value improvements.

– Recommendation of high-level architecture and strategies to support specific information needs.

– Detailed recommendations for short- and long-term improvements.

– Cost-benefit analysis and return on investment.

Organizational evaluation.

The organizational assessment includes an analysis of the existing organizational structure and the identification of roles and responsibilities of both the IT and the business environment to be addressed. Organizational readiness for storage is examined, including a willingness to take responsibility for ongoing technical and business support, identification of business requirements and improvement of front applications.

Business Needs Assessment

Business Needs Assessment includes an analysis of the underlying business factors and objectives and the overall context of business needs that have been established for the data warehouse. Once business needs have been defined, the assessment process analyses the approach to capturing business requirements, their completeness and organization, requirement priorities and adapting the strategy for making the data and product warehouse available to the needs.

Evaluation of information architecture

Evaluation of information architecture includes analysis of logical data structures, their feasibility, completeness, documentation, and adaptation to business requirements. The assessment of information architecture also includes analysis of data acquisition and transformation, methods and assumptions used and validation of mapping to business requirements.

Technical architecture assessment

Technical Architecture Assessment analyzes current hardware, software and network infrastructure and examines physical database designs. Technical architecture evaluation aims to identify any technical risks or limitations in terms of performance, maintenance, scalability, data distribution, disaster recovery, and sizing.

Architectural approach

A suggested high-level technical approach is the use of SAS 9.2 interface to automate ETL, OLAP, reporting, reporting, Dashboard, and customer data mining processes.

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