No data source is left behind


You know those people who speak seven languages fluently? When I get over my jealousy, I have to be impressed. When you think about it, someone like that can stand in a room with seven other people who cannot exchange information with one another. But they can all work together if the multilingual guy is in the room. He has the advantage of having built up an internal library of rules and vocabulary that lets him receive and understand information from many disparate sources and deliver fresh new insights to people in a way that they can understand. Maybe I’m strange. But I think that’s awesome.

Someone like that possesses one of the critical characteristics of a smart BI solution: He makes understanding many different sources of information look easy. Smart BI solution can easily connect to structured, semi-structured and unstructured data sources from Excel tables and databases such as SQL, Access, Oracle and OLAP sources to live SaaS-based sources such as SalesForce to ERP, CRM and everything in between. Also pretty cool.

If your company is like most, you will have critical business data flowing into and through many, and maybe even dozens of different data sources. Each source has its own way of organizing and presenting data. Some are local and others sit in the cloud. Some are updated at intervals and others are in constant flux. In enterprises that don’t yet have a smart BI solution, the IT team is frequently asked to configure connections for new sources so that the data that they supply can be integrated into the business intelligence environment.

It is probably not impossible to connect just about any data source to a BI solution. But at what cost in time and resources? Never mind the arguments about which source and which department gets priority. After all, an IT department deserves some time at home with the family, as well. With a smart BI system, connecting to just about any data source is just a few clicks away for any user; not just IT experts.

The Office of Research and Statistics (ORS) of one of the states on the East Coast of the United States, is constantly required to analyze huge quantities of data from local, state and federal sources. And just as you would expect, everyone uses different information platforms with data output in all different formats. When they started using a smart BI solution, something exciting happened.

The ORS was approached by a non-profit organization that provides prescription medications to the state’s uninsured workers. They wanted to see if their donor-funded investment was working efficiently. The ORS used their smart BI solution to collect and correlate patient data with various hospitalization and emergency room utilization metrics extending from a year before an individual signed up for the program until 18 months afterward.

Analysis revealed that diabetic clients reduced emergency room visits by 27% and in-patient hospitalizations by 15%. Clients with hypertension who received the necessary medications reduced emergency room use by 33% and inpatient hospitalizations by 20%.   Individuals who received prescription psychotropic drugs from the nonprofit reduced emergency room visits by 24% and hospitalizations by 31%.

The ORS discovered huge efficiency and performance insights as a result of their smart BI solution’s capabilities, including being able to easily integrate many different data types from many different sources.

A smart BI solution is even better than a multilingual guy. Once the solution reads the data, it remembers every word and every number that it’s read. It then analyzes relationships between data from the various sources and recommends insights and actions based on its practically instant analysis. As awesome as speaking seven languages is, smart BI is even cooler.

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