Think Big by Thinking Small

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 12, 2010

While most organizations recognize the value of Business Intelligence (BI) technologies that address "enterprise-wide" issues such as financial reporting, small-scale or "workgroup" BI solutions can add enormous benefit and have a positive effect as well. For example, one of our customers, a nonprofit regional hospital, implemented a tactical BI solution that allows users to identify potential diabetes patients simply by analyzing data from intravenous glucose feedings. This enables caregivers to give appropriate post-surgical care and preventative treatments, ensuring better outcomes and saving the hospital and patients money. The hospital had the solution up and running quickly because it was easy to use and easy to implement. The solution’s low cost also saved the hospital from wallowing through a long budgeting process.

The best way to think big by thinking small is to match the right BI solution to the problem. Often the potential value of BI for most workgroup issues warrants neither the time nor the effort required to extract information from a transactional database or data warehouse—nor the cost required to train users in complex, new software tools. Instead look for tools that may not have all the bells and whistles, but are affordable and can solve the job at hand. You’ll be surprised at the number of areas in which workgroup BI can be used to improve your organization. Suddenly all sorts of problems that could benefit from an analytic approach become solvable with a definable return on investment. You’ll be amazed at how solving many of the operational workgroup issues can add up to huge corporate-wide savings at relatively little cost.

John Kitchen
CMO and Senior Vice-President
Datawatch
Chelmsford, Mass.

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