REVIEWER: Dave Tiseth, director of data management services for Broadlane.
BACKGROUND: Broadlane is the group procurement services company for healthcare. Through a comprehensive set of proven procurement processes, Broadlane helps healthcare providers reduce costs and improve financial performance. The company's signature service is group purchasing; its numerous other services include strategic procurement planning, departmental cost management, and labor sourcing and utilization.
PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows and Microsoft SQL Server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Broadlane helps healthcare companies understand spending patterns and enforce vendor contracts by providing aggregated information from a variety of systems (including names of individuals and companies as well as product and item names). However, each system often has its own standard nomenclature and data structure for key pieces of data. Broadlane turned to DataFlux dfPower Studio to build rules that normalize, standardize and verify data and intelligently integrate this data to uncover spending patterns. Business analysts can examine data and build rules in dfPower Studio to apply standards to the different information.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Broadlane analysts quickly realized that dfPower Studio provided a flexible yet powerful interface for building complex business rules. The standardization capabilities allow an analyst to uncover and automatically resolve inconsistencies for product information, purchasing data and other critical purchasing information - and apply those rules across incoming data sources. The matching capabilities of dfPower Studio also allow analysts to match names for both companies and individuals to resolve duplicate data. This helps Broadlane uncover any overlap in purchasing data and provides critical insight into problematic data within their purchasing systems.
STRENGTHS: The primary strength of dfPower Studio is the ease of use. With only minimal training, business analysts - who have little to no background in managing IT systems - can quickly and easily manage and manipulate data sources. With dfPower Studio, the analysts can do the work of a database administrator without having the same technical background. Additionally, the ability to share business rules (using the DataFlux Quality Knowledge Base) allows co-workers to share insights on corrective measures across the enterprise. This allows analysts to be more productive and helps create better data management procedures on an ongoing basis.
WEAKNESSES: Thus far, Broadlane has had limited experience in integrating the software with other applications within our operational environment. A logical next step will be to incorporate the DataFlux server-based technology more tightly into our back-end systems.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Our primary criterion was the ability to easily customize rules for data standardization and verification. dfPower Studio provides a GUI-based method for creating, adjusting and fine-tuning business rules, helping encapsulate the knowledge that analysts already have into automated routines. Another significant aspect was the ease of use of the product. Although the software would accomplish some complex tasks, the interface needed to be something that non-IT staff could embrace.
DELIVERABLES: Once implemented, dfPower Studio helped remove a number of inefficiencies from Broadlane's data management procedures. Analysts quickly began to convert their knowledge into business rules using dfPower Studio. Soon, each analyst had created dozens of rules to standardize, verify and improve information. The impact on the analysts' day-to-day job was immediate. Once created, the business rules automated a massive amount of manual investigation and correction. Work that once required a month or two to complete now only required one day. Because Broadlane is a data-centric company, the ability to create and maintain better data means that the company can provide better service to clients and develop a unique competitive edge in the industry.
VENDOR SUPPORT: DataFlux has provided excellent support for our projects thus far. The technical support has been responsive, and the online customer portal provides good information on demand.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation has been very good to excellent.
DataFlux dfPower Studio
940 Cary Parkway, Suite 201
Cary, NC 27513
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