REVIEWER: Phillip Lanzafame, Internet product manager for Sentara Healthcare.

BACKGROUND: Sentara Healthcare is consistently rated at the top of integrated healthcare organizations. Serving southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina, it consists of more than 70 locations and 14,000 employees. Sentara provides comprehensive hospital-based services, ambulatory care, senior services and managed care products.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000, Intel processor, Microsoft IIS Web server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Sentara is a very large decentralized organization. As we developed our corporate portal, it became clear we needed a comprehensive method to visualize all the component businesses, individuals and reporting structures that support the organization. Once we collected the data, we realized that we could use Inxight VizServer to provide the visual metaphor for the organization's authorization matrix and e-business process model. As reporting structures or business units shift, the data is dynamically refreshed and expressed using VizServer. By having multiple views of the organization, we can express the relationships of the various employees and immediately identify any anomalies that may appear in the data. Any individual employee node on the tree can be activated by clicking to provide the employee's profile information and contact methods.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: VizServer is performing exactly the way we expected. We are processing more than 14,000 nodes representing each individual employee and his/her reporting structure. We are also reporting a visual map of all the business units based on their financial reporting structure. As we gather more data, we will continue to map employees and business units into discrete groups based on roles, functions and business relationships inside and outside the organization. In essence, we are using VizServer to provide an enterprise map based on structured and unstructured data to identify all people, processes and business entities.

STRENGTHS: The product is extremely easy to install, configure and deploy. It requires some basic programming and database skills if you want to enhance the direct product results. The integrity of the data needs to be established prior to using the product, or you may see unpredictable results.

WEAKNESSES: The current product lacks some flexibility in processing complex data with multiple relationships. It was necessary for us to create separate trees to express various views. There are samples and demos but no formatted visual designs to select from. There should be some basic templates such as organizational charts and reporting structures.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We had initially purchased the Star Tree SDK from Inxight, which is more robust but requires extensive scripting to deploy. With the release of VizServer, we purchased an additional license to take advantage of the simplicity of the new application. The Inxight products were able to demonstrate the exact functionality we were looking for to provide visual continuity to our data. We did not find any other vendors that were providing this kind of product in the marketplace.

DELIVERABLES: The data we collect from legacy systems and extended information from employees and departments is stored in a centralized data repository. We then use the VizServer product to interpret the data into a global organization chart, a view of the reporting architecture and a map of all business units. Currently, each employee is represented by clicking through a node to an e-profile. In the future, all business units will contain a clickthrough to their profile.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Inxight understood our needs and provided guidance in helping us deploy the product. They were flexible in extending our license to the new product. E-mail and online support was there when it was required.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is sufficient to deploy the application. We required minimal assistance in meeting our objective.

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