I love everything about food including reading cookbooks for ideas, shopping for the best ingredients, preparing the meal and enjoying the pleasure of dining with good friends and family. A chef brings together different people, tastes and ingredients in a magical way to satisfy their diners in a way that seems almost effortless. Most don’t see the chaos in the kitchen that results in magic for the diners.
Running a business intelligence organization is very similar to being a chef. Substitute diners for stakeholders, data for ingredients, best practices for cookbooks, knives and pots for computers and software. Combine them all and a great meal is possible. The chef in the business intelligence restaurant is responsible for bringing all of these elements together.
Inviting diners to the table
Every healthcare organization has three main diners, hospital leaders, the CIO and business intelligence experts. Getting them all to the table at the same time can be difficult because they all have their own tastes, expectations and hunger pains.
- Healthcare Leaders – Hospital leaders try to make the best meal possible for their organizations yet struggle with many new challenges including healthcare reform and a renewed drive to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, improve safety and quality. Historically, many decisions were made based on experience and intuition, not fact-based evidence. Using data to make decisions requires deep partnerships between business and IT, yet getting to the top of the IT priority list is difficult.
- CIOs – Healthcare CIOs run the kitchen. They ensure the old stoves work, the knives are sharp and there’s room for the new immersion circulator. In healthcare they are very focused on rolling out new electronic medical record (EMR) implementations and support for ICD-10. At the same time they are challenged to support legacy transactional systems, balance security and privacy concerns and run IT project management offices. Providing robust business intelligence capabilities has been a top priority for CIOs for the last 10 years, yet they still struggle to meet the needs of their business counterparts. Typical reporting solutions are expensive, time consuming and require deep technical expertise.
- Business Intelligence – the cooks. BI experts bring all of the pieces together. They hear the needs of their diners and use all of the tools of the kitchen in their craft. New innovative tools promise solutions to the challenges of both CIOs and hospital leaders. These tools promise the ability to convert massive amounts of data into simple, interactive, visual representations to enable better decision making, spot trends and identify outliers. Yet leaders struggle to understand where a new tool fits into their infrastructure, what benefits they will realize and how to prioritize them.
Every restaurant needs a chef
I may not get to be a professional chef, but the desire to pull together all the ingredients in the BI world is why I decided to start my own company, Vizual Outcomes. I love helping to bring all of the pieces together to ensure the diners leave satisfied, the kitchen performs and all of the cooks are successful. I love helping solve these problems. All of the components are required to make a great meal but need help to ensure the chaos of the kitchen is barely noticeable. No tool alone will solve an organizations data challenges, but combining the capabilities of tools and the IT infrastructure will help meet new business and clinical challenges.