Cloud-Deployed Pilot Opens the Door for Effective Self-Service Healthcare Management Reporting.
MedAssets is a consultancy whose core business is negotiating supplier contracts for its healthcare clients. The company needed a better way of looking at the data it captured from supplier proposals so that conversations with clients could be more productive. A cloud-based Microsoft SQL Server 2014 proof of concept conducted with the help of Microsoft partner Sogeti achieved aggregation and reporting of the data in new ways. It also supported the rapid development MedAssets will require for future centralization and standardization of its data.
Sogeti, a Microsoft partner with a gold competency in business intelligence (BI), invited MedAssets to participate in a jointly sponsored multicustomer Executive Briefing Conference (EBC) in Redmond.
“Seeing the self-service BI capabilities at the EBC helped us envision what’s possible and inspired us to move quickly, using self-service BI to improve data insights and gain competitive advantage,” says Deb Cox, US National Microsoft Alliance and Technology Group Manager, Sogeti.
Following the event, Sogeti led the MedAssets IT team in conducting a series of proofs of concept (POCs) over six months as part of the Microsoft Rapid Development Project (RDP) program. The key POC was aimed at showing the analytics team what could be done with its customer pricing data, and how the self-service BI capabilities of Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 can benefit both analytics and client managers now and in the future.
To create the self-service analytics BI POC, Sogeti and MedAssets first created a cloud-based database using a trial copy of Microsoft SQL Server 2014. Then, two MedAssets software developers with experience using SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services spent two days learning the Power BI for Office 365 toolset and its interactive functionality with Excel, and another three weeks experimenting with new report types they could generate from the existing spreadsheet information.
The Sogeti-MedAssets self-service BI POC provided a clear insight into the possibilities of aggregating and presenting sourcing data over a range of time. It also provided a platform for rapid development and laid the groundwork for future data centralization and standardization efforts.
Aggregated Sourcing Data
To MedAssets business users, the biggest impact of the joint POC was the ability to see the sourcing analysis data in ways they had previously been unable to present it to client managers. In particular, having data about how much savings MedAssets provided to each customer over the most recent calendar year is a valuable statistic when cultivating client relationships.
Rapid Development, Ease of Use
For Wiggs, a significant success factor in the POC was how fast his team was able to learn, build, test, and deploy the solution. “Deploying SQL Server 2014 in the cloud gave us a way to get in front of the curve and try out the latest SQL Server feature set and use it in a POC, while at the same time giving us the experience of cloud-based deployment,” he says. “It only took two developers a couple of weeks to produce results for the business, because the interface was already familiar to them.”
Groundwork for Future Development
MedAssets looks forward to the day when all data being managed in the POC solution is collected in a programmatic and structured way, rather than entered manually in the spreadsheet files. For now, the POC is providing valuable insights into the ways data can be used to enrich client relationships and equip client managers for optimal results. These insights will provide requirements for a long-range data management solution at the company.