REVIEWER: Mary F. Schulte, manager of programming services for Edward Hospital & Health Services.

BACKGROUND: Edward Hospital & Health Services is a full-service regional healthcare provider with more than 4,000 employees serving residents of the western suburbs of Chicago.

PLATFORMS: Compaq servers running Microsoft Windows 2000. Microsoft SQL Server is used for the data mart.

PROBLEM SOLVED: To manage accounts receivable (A/R) for patient accounts, Edward relied on several reports run against its transactional system. The patient accounts team would piece together these reports to determine which accounts required attention. This tedious process, repeated multiple times each month, could take an hour or more. Edward opted to use BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager to create a dashboard that would make it easier and faster for the patient accounts team to manage A/R.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: BusinessObjects Data Integrator moves patient billing information into a data mart, which is updated daily. Our custom A/R dashboard accesses the data mart and presents information in the form of speedometers and accompanying line graphs that indicate the number of accounts in specific aging categories. Managers can access the dashboard from their computer desktops. They can then click on elements in the dashboard to drill down into the underlying reports to identify the problem accounts and take appropriate actions. The A/R dashboard saves significant time each month by providing users with immediate access to current, accurate information they can act on with confidence. This has helped Edward improve its cash flow.

STRENGTHS: A key strength of BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager is the ability to create a custom presentation of data that provides users with the exact information they need when they need it. At Edward, this reduced the time required to obtain critical patient account data from hours to seconds, giving the patient accounts team a more efficient way to manage A/R. BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager makes it easy for developers to build custom dashboards. Creating the framework for our dashboard, including the ability to drill down to the underlying reports, was a straightforward project thanks to user-friendly tools and an intuitive interface. The flexibility of the tools and interface enabled us to create a dashboard so easy to use that it requires no training for end users.

WEAKNESSES: BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager does not allow the developer to create multiple line or bar graphs with variable scales on the same report. However, Business Objects has alerted us that it plans to address this limitation in an upcoming release.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our decision to go with Business Objects was based on our findings that BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager offered faster report development and more flexible drill-down capabilities. It was also a much easier-to-use development environment. The Web deployment capabilities and intuitive interface meant that our custom A/R dashboard would be easier for our end users to learn and use.

DELIVERABLES: To date, we have used BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager to create a dashboard built for the single purpose of responding to the needs of our A/R managers. The dashboard accesses the following reports created using BusinessObjects: the total number of accounts in A/R, the total dollar amount in A/R, the total accounts in A/R with balances between 91 and 120 days, the total accounts in A/R with balances between 121 and 150 days, the total accounts in A/R beyond 151 days, and the cash posted by financial summary code in dollars.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Support from Business Objects across the company's product line has been very good, with most issues resolved to our satisfaction; however, we did not have any support issues specifically related to BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager.

DOCUMENTATION: The BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager documentation is a great starting point, presenting the basics our developers needed. However, as we encountered more complex issues, we opted to go beyond the basic documentation and invest in Business Objects training and development help from consultants.

BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager
Business Objects
3030 Orchard Parkway
San Jose, CA 95134
(604) 681-3435
www.businessobjects.com


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