How Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Helped a Medical Manufacturer Save Money and Improve

As information systems are now an integral part of how companies conduct their business, the attention to the IT infrastructure has become paramount. Investing in the modernization of the systems, in the training of personnel, in IT security and in information management consulting services is now considered essential for business growth and, in many cases, cost savings.

Investing in business intelligence (BI) and good data warehousing (DW) systems can help a company better their business procedures and decision making. This is true for businesses of all sizes, from the smaller businesses on up to larger multi-department companies.

A good IT plan and solution are essential when dealing with larger companies who are comprised of several departments or associated businesses and that must try and find a common ground between a variety of systems, databases and applications.

Using a variety of systems and available applications is great to automate tasks and ease recording information and data as well as producing reports, but the system would be useless if separate entities had not the ability to share data in an automated way and could not consolidate information in a meaningful way.

This was exactly the problem a large medical systems manufacturer was faced with.

The North American manufacturer an IT solution that would help it consolidate an array of different systems used by companies that it had acquired over time. In the majority of the cases, these acquired companies had different ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems as well as different versions of SAP and Oracle applications used for financial reporting.

Consolidating all information was a major and time-consuming task at the corporate level. An estimated 52,000 hours a year was spent analyzing expenses, unifying reports and performing needed account queries – much of these tasks were done manually. The decision-making process was then slowed down by the inability to being able to retrieve essential information in a timely manner.

It was decided to implement a business intelligence system that would run an enterprise data warehouse using Agile methodology that would gain a reasonable payoff and provide the client a new BI solution for its different ERP systems and financial applications. It required data from different ERPs and sources to be extracted and integrated in a single location. Business rules were also created to help in their GLA reporting affairs. This effectively leveraged the process and permitted access to the client’s business-critical systems and sensitive data for multiple P&L accounts.

The improved system enhanced decision-making, allowed access to critical financial information in real time and provided a consistent solution for timely and accurate reporting, all while reducing costs.

Thanks to this solution using Agile implementation methodology, the manufacturer was able to transition to an Agile BI and DW system – one that uses Cronacle (a process automation engine), Teradata Informatics (for data warehousing) and Business Objects XI technology – to ensure the manual component of data gathering and processing was eliminated; it even made the flow of data mistake-proof and is now helping them to meet reporting requirements for data accuracy and availability.

Accuracy was not the only beneficial result – not having to invest in thousands of employee man hours on the manual data extraction and reporting was very rewarding as well as it resulted in an $8 million savings over a three year period!

The significant cost savings was probably the best news for the medical systems manufactures even though they also benefited from faster decision making since its executives had finally access to important business information in real time. In today’s economy, the ability to make decisions quickly and have access to the most updated information is essential for the businesses’ survival.