by Jan Vlcek, Kevin Mackey, Susan Kanvik


As a leader in affordable, quality healthcare, a major healthcare provider had made sizable investments in business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Its leadership believed in BI’s potential to markedly improve the total cost and quality of care delivery. But after several years of investing in new technology and tools, the returns were disappointing. Why was BI falling short of expectations? The provider engaged Point B to provide a BI and analytics assessment and develop an actionable roadmap—all within an aggressive three-month timeframe. A further challenge: We needed to succeed for our client where three other consulting firms had failed.  

Getting the lay of the land  

Point B’s track record in BI is based on our proven, repeatable approach to analytics assessment. We’ve built our methodology on select best practices that we tailor to each client’s needs. For this client, we began by conducting a broad BI assessment together with a gap and root-cause analysis. We interviewed all senior executives across the organization, along with key stakeholders and directors, to gather business and functional requirements. Rather than “parachuting in” and working behind closed doors, we contributed to the leadership of our client’s existing BI/analytics work group to build broad understanding and ownership of the road ahead.

Surfacing the unexpected

Our assessment surfaced a number of issues, and our client was surprised to learn that many of them were aligned with people and organization—not technology. It’s not uncommon for organizations to under recognize the need for executive ownership and accountability when they invest in BI and analytics solutions. Successful data-driven organizations have visible BI champions with skin in the game at the executive leadership level. To our client’s credit, and with our assistance, leadership began to address these needs even before our engagement was complete.

Our analysis revealed another major strategic gap: Our client had not collected its corporate data set into a single accessible location. In order to reap the greatest value from its data, the organization needed to gather key data in one place. A path to centralized data management became part of the new roadmap we developed.

The right diagnosis matters

Fundamental BI problems are often missed by assessments that are too narrow and tactical, leaving underlying issues unidentified and unaddressed. By taking a holistic view that includes people, organization and processes in addition to technology and data, we were able to diagnose our client’s issues thoroughly and prioritize solutions correctly. And no one knows the value of a correct diagnosis better than a healthcare provider.