CATEGORY: Query & Reporting and OLAP

REVIEWER: Veronica Budwig, systems analyst for Memorial Healthcare System.

BACKGROUND: Memorial Healthcare System is a leader in providing high- quality healthcare services to South Florida residents regardless of their ability to pay and is supported by one of the nation's top medical staffs. In 50 years, Memorial Healthcare System has never turned a patient away, even for nonemergency care and has done so in a manner that has made it a national model for community health improvement as recognized by the American Hospital Association.

PLATFORMS: We use an IBM Netfinity 7000 with 2.5GB RAM, 50GB hard drive, 4 Pentium III XEON processors and 550 MHz. Our software includes Windows 2000 Advanced Server, MS Analysis Services, MS SQL 2000 and ProClarity Analytics Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: ProClarity Analytics Server was implemented to deliver analytics via a rich or thin client to more than 250 nontechnical decision-makers. Memorial uses ProClarity to analyze more than 250 key performance indicators (KPIs) in 13 different OLAP cubes. ProClarity lets us access them all and still retain our custom formats so they come across just as they're defined in the cube. ProClarity gave us an integrated view of our organizational performance. With ProClarity, we bring the data together and create more measurable outcomes. That helps us in terms of time and accuracy as well as documenting cause and effect.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ProClarity has enabled key decision-makers to monitor, analyze and react on a more timely basis. We are already using ProClarity much more than expected. Our director of finance relies on ProClarity to automate monthly closing data. Before ProClarity, the financial analysis process was slow and difficult. Now we can get the same information any time, resulting in increased efficiency. Not only are we reporting our financial information in a more timely fashion with ProClarity, but it's much more accurate. Our variance analysis is now much more precise.

STRENGTHS: ProClarity's main strengths are its thin client deployment, fast query response times and its support of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. The ProClarity Analytics Server was also very easy to install. We installed it on the server and were creating views 10 minutes later. Most importantly, people can devote themselves to what they're good at – providing quality healthcare – rather than wrestling information from a database. They can concentrate on their patients or devote more time to staffing issues. In this sense, ProClarity is helping us achieve our ultimate goal of providing quality care while containing costs.

WEAKNESSES: Version 4 is a little difficult for nontechnical users to navigate. The product has proprietary buttons for functionality that a user would typically perform in Internet Explorer, such as going back a page or printing. Also the printing function is cumbersome, and the results are not aesthetically pleasing.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The primary criteria for selecting ProClarity were fast query times, online Web functionality and ease of use. Most importantly, ProClarity honors and supports the functionality that Analysis Services provides, such as different custom formatting on the same measure. We made an investment in Analysis Services and created very customized cubes to meet our organizational needs. It was very important that the product we selected present our data out of the box, without any customization. ProClarity did just that. As an investment, ProClarity has been great.

DELIVERABLES: ProClarity has automated the entire process for a labor utilization report that previously involved a lot of manual work. All the department managers have to do now is go to our Web site and view it instantly! A lot of time has been saved, as it probably took each manager a minimum of 30 minutes each morning before implementing ProClarity. That doesn't sound like a lot, but there were 180 managers doing it. Additionally, the person compiling the data probably spent four or five hours collecting the data, creating the spreadsheets and checking for accuracy.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ProClarity worked with our request to perform a proof of concept and installed the product on our OLAP server. ProClarity provided us with on- site implementation consulting and training. The consultant was very knowledgeable and professional. Also, when I have a technical issue, their support staff is always responsive.

DOCUMENTATION: The hard copy and online documentation is easy to understand when it is needed. The ProClarity product is so easy to use that most users have probably never accessed the documentation.

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