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Data isn’t a shiny toy, it’s the brains of the operation

by Deborah O'Dell

I read a recent article about trends in business intelligence that touches on one of the most crucial aspects of any BI endeavor, and the central theme was data storytelling is the new language of corporations. It went on to say that no matter how sophisticated our technology, how clever our calculations, or how large our data library, if we can’t communicate the results then we can’t make an impact.

For several years, our goal at CHI was to create an integrated, single-source data warehouse. As a large and diverse enterprise stretching over dozens of state lines, often merging with and acquiring other organizations, this was no small task.

We’ve worked hard to find the best processes, tools, and vendors to acquire organizational data and patient information, then integrate it into our environment.

We’ve also prioritized access to high-quality data so that our entire organization can look at their own business units, compare themselves to other’s productivity, finances, quality of care, and patient experience, then affect positive change.

Sounds good right? But, it took years of laying a solid foundation for us to get to where want to be. Within the past two years, we’ve found increasing success at providing valuable solutions with high adoption rates.

Before that, decision-makers, CFOs and COOs, weren’t always getting actionable data in a way that set them up for success. But, after a lot of collaboration and hard work, our team has finally become the data version of flight traffic control for the organization. We help decision-makers navigate our complex data environment and arrive precisely where they need to go.

How did we get there?

It wasn’t by treating technology as the answer. Instead, we saw that a radical cultural shift was necessary to empower the right people for success.

Each month, operational and financial leaders from every division, come together as part of our Productivity Collaborative to review their progress and track improvements and performance across the enterprise.

Today, instead of being presented
a huge corporate document, our divisions interactively present their own data using a single enterprise dashboard. Sharing updates, struggles, and successes, then fielding questions and taking advice from division peers.

Over 600 people in leadership positions across the CHI enterprise access our data environment monthly, and we take pride in the fact that those in the C-Suite aren’t just absorbing this information, they are actively involved in mobilizing it.

The adoption and use of business intelligence is only as good as the operations of that organization. Becoming higher performing or more functional isn’t a consequence of having data—it’s a result of having clear goals and expectations, and a culture that fosters accountability.

While the future of BI tech is exciting, the “not-so-fancy” areas of data technology can be just as bright, serving as a catalyst for
a smarter way to do business.

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