REVIEWER: Ed Todd, data warehouse manager, Nemours.


BACKGROUND: Nemours, one of the nation’s largest pediatric health systems, is dedicated to achieving higher standards in children’s health. Nemours offers an integrated spectrum of clinical treatment coupled with research, advocacy and educational health and prevention services extending to all families in the communities it serves. Nemours employs more than 4,200 individuals, including 400 pediatric physicians, specialists and surgeons who cared for approximately 250,000 children in 2006.


HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Data Integrator and Metadata Manager currently run on an HP Proliant 2-way server, running Windows Server 2003. The target databases include an Oracle 9i database on an IBM 4-way AIXserver and Essbase on a 2-way IBM AIX-based server: Data sources include AIX-based Oracle databases and delimited files from several AIX and Windows Server 2003 platforms.


PROBLEM SOLVED: Our company manages a tremendous amount of operational, financial and clinical data. Because we deal with sensitive patient data, the ability to provide secure access to consistent, trustworthy information is critical. Our ability to efficiently manage data became problematic, however, when we upgraded our hardware and application software. Nemours’ warehouse software tool at the time didn’t offer the range of business intelligence (BI) tools the company needed to operate in its new AIX and Oracle-based environment. In addition, we experienced problems replacing our extract, transform and load (ETL) product. It wasn’t robust enough to handle our large volumes of data, and it wasn’t a multiuser platform.


PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: One of the biggest advantages of BI from Business Objects is that it has a Web interface. Our users can log into their desktop and look at everything that has been executed for them by clicking on an icon. This is something we could never do before. From an administrative or management perspective, it’s the most efficient way to secure and distribute our data. With our Business Objects solutions, we have improved the quality of and access to our information so we can better fulfill our mission of providing the best pediatric health care to our nation’s most vulnerable population.


STRENGTHS: The biggest strength that the BusinessObjects Data Integrator XI product provided was related to Metadata Manager, which gave us a complete range of ETL capabilities. The other products we looked at did not offer the metadata facility we believed was critical for managing our warehoused data and supporting our users.


WEAKNESSES: I have had conversations with the product development team to include the health care-specific HL7 file format in future releases, which is the only shortcoming that we have noted in Data Integrator’s functionality.


SELECTION CRITERIA: Upgrading our hardware and database platforms freed us to search for a best-of-breed BI solution. When it came down to features, costs and ease of use, we chose BusinessObjects Data Integrator XI Release 2 for the company’s enterprise information management (EIM) solution. At the time, we were having problems moving files off an old IBM AS/400 that was running DB2, and Data Integrator was able to successfully read, extract and load very large files in a surprisingly short period of time compared to other tools we had tried.


DELIVERABLES: Today, our Business Objects EIM solution is enabling us to better manage our operational, financial and clinical data. We are now able to provide reports on key business performance metrics and “keep the wheels on” operational reports on a timely basis in tabular and graphic displays with all this information on one screen or one page. Nemours is now able to analyze a great deal of clinical data also.


VENDOR SUPPORT: Once our database administrator loaded the installation disks for Data Integrator, it was up and running in about two hours. We made one call to tech support to ask a configuration question and were then able to do the first transfer immediately.


DOCUMENTATION: BusinessObjects Data Integrator XI is a very intuitive solution. Unlike other solutions we considered, Data Integrator required no training and had no complications.


BusinessObjects Data Integrator XI
Business Objects
Orchard Parkway
San Jose, CA 95134
(408) 953-6000

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