Business leaders are often highly reliant on every single piece of their business information to make profitable business decisions and further refine corporate strategy. This is where business intelligence comes into the picture.
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Designed to help people make better business decisions and turn the business into a profitable establishment, business intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process that involves the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information through historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.
While, there are many industries have started embracing BI, let’s see where does it stand in the healthcare industry.
Business Intelligence and Healthcare
As the amount of information being generated is increasing exponentially, big data revolution has left many industries with repositories of information that they earlier had limited or no access to.
Industries are now looking into the prospects of moving to a data-driven establishment. The healthcare industry is also on the brink of transformation and according to a report by KLAS, over half of all health organisations are planning to buy a new and more advanced business intelligence system over the next three years.
Gartner reported that one of nine deadly mistakes in business operations improvement (BOI) in healthcare is the lack of BI strategy.
“Most vendors working in healthcare and other industries observe that healthcare has the most complex data of any industry (possibly excluding government intelligence efforts),” the report states.
The report also cited that organisations are not yet fully handling their data the way it should be tackled. The total absence of a well-documented BI strategy, Gartner added, is the biggest folly of the healthcare industry.
Forward thinking organisations like Harvard Medical School, St. Joseph Medical Centre, and Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust realised the importance of business intelligence in analysing healthcare data and swiftly plunged into the world of BI solutions to better analyse the efficiency of their services.
In the light of such findings, it’s fair to say that bridging the distance between data created and data analysed is where the success of the healthcare industry lies.
The rapid proliferation of new technologies at lower costs with greater availability of patient data has given birth to an immense opportunity for healthcare organisations to improve their efficiency.
Every healthcare business solution comes packed with a myriad of business benefits for organisations to better handle their data and further refine their health strategy.
So, let’s take a quick look at the main benefits of business intelligence in the healthcare industry.
How BI Can Help the Healthcare Industry
There are categories of data that any healthcare organisation should ideally be interested in, such as financial, operational, and clinical.
In order to make better decisions, healthcare BI could be applied to organise this data into a form that can easily be accessed, readable, comprehensive, and analysable.
Single Point Access to Patient Data
A single point access to patient data makes their confidential information easier to protect, and improves privacy.
It also becomes easier for healthcare professionals to retrieve a patient’s data and create an assortment of reports and analysis based on the historical data stored in their system.
Improved Operational Efficiency and Better Visibility
Such consolidation of data and easy access to information not only results in improved operational efficiency, but it also increases revenue and reduces the overall cost of healthcare.
It does so by improving the visibility of their operations, helping distinguish the highly profitable ones from the underutilised services.
By establishing a concrete ground for evidence-based decision making, one that is essential for the healthcare industry, BI can help improve patients’ outcomes by giving medical personnel access to more accurate histories and reports during diagnoses.
Big Data Means Big Savings
According to a report by McKinsey and Company, if technological innovations in the realm of big data taken into consideration, overall healthcare savings could be enormous.
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A broader data analysis can provide healthcare professionals enough knowledge to determine what risks the population is prone to. These valuable insights can help providers proactively prevent risks before they even affect anyone.
More importantly, big data can pinpoint what is needed where more accurately and precisely, to produce healthier populations, thereby decreasing the overall cost of healthcare in the region.
Opportunities presented by business intelligence here may potentially change the dynamics of the healthcare industry. If you are a healthcare provider and are considering using your data more effectively, you should consult a functionally and technically well-versed BI specialist that can help you create an efficient and effective BI strategy for your business.
So is your medical institution working on implementing a BI strategy yet? What is the most challenging aspect of this implementation so far? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
Are you looking for a CRM interface for your website? If yes, then it is possible to manage the CRM of your website with a simple open source relationship management system software like CiviCRM.
The best part is that CiviCRM is available for installation as a standalone software or as a component along with content management systems like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. It may also be installed as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Let’s take a detailed look at the benefits offered by CiviCRM, its features and how it can work seamlessly with a Content Management System (CMS) like Drupal.
CiviCRM is a web-based application which is a great advantage, as it can be easily installed and utilised by you with the help of an internet-enabled computer system.
It synchronises seamlessly with various CMSs for effective web-based relationship management, especially for school, church and other charitable or non-profit organisations.
As CiviCRM is developed by the community Hive Mind, you may not get instant direct support for any related issues. However, there are plenty of help forums that provide solutions for various CiviCRM based problems.
Online Fundraising and Donor Management
It can manage and keep track of all the contributions or donations to your organisation from your constituents from a single screen within the application.
You are empowered to create customised web pages quickly in order to accept online donations. You also get access to updated details of every donation and relevant contact with no chance of data entry errors.
Online Membership Management
With CiviCRM, you can easily manage the online sign ups, renewals and membership summaries for your organisation.
It enables you to configure any number of membership types as well as customise membership rules and status.
It is also possible to create customised web pages for self-service membership sign up and renewal. You can break down the membership summaries by date (month), membership type, number of contributions, contact information and the total contribution.
Online Event Management
CiviCRM offers you the functionality of creating customised web pages to manage online events or meeting registration for your organisation and then track the number of people who registered as well as the number of active participants.
Online Mass Mailing Management
With this CiviCRM app, you can create or develop newsletters to be distributed to different members directly from your website instead of having to create the group mailing list manually.
It thereby saves a lot of time. You can keep your constituents engaged with timely newsletters for everyone or personalised emails targeted at only a certain group of members.
Thus, CiviCRM assists you with email marketing, social media marketing as well as personal email campaigns.
Integration with Drupal CMS
In comparison to other large CRM applications, CiviCRM may not offer a similar level of data analysis and reporting.
However, it does offer a free alternative to maintain data records of a wide variety of information related to the constituents of your organisation.
It can easily be configured to work with your existing business processes as well as seamlessly customised according to your specific business requirements. Furthermore, it is a free CRM component that is designed to integrate and work with CMSs, such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.
However, it is more popularly known for its integration with Drupal. This is because Drupal provides most integration options for CiviCRM and because the Drupal community is more of a developer community, which can handle the technical challenges easily and add to the CiviCRM documentation.
Your website enables you to create roles for site users and grant them permission to execute different tasks, such as edit, view, delete, administer contacts or access specific information.
The Drupal permission settings determine which tasks a specific role will perform and what information it can access. They override any access control setup in CiviCRM, which means that if the CiviCRM settings restrict access to contacts, but the Drupal permission settings allow complete access, then the particular user role will have complete access to contacts.
The Drupal Views module enables you to display website content and CiviCRM integrates with it in order to allow CiviCRM data to be publicly displayed on your website.
When we tried to combine them together for a client’s website, we had to do some configuration, as our CiviCRM and Drupal belonged to different databases.
The Final Verdict
All in all, CiviCRM has several features working in its favour, especially if your business is a non-profit, advocacy or a charitable organisation that has a website CMS like Drupal. It does not involve any licensing fees and so you can add users without any incurring additional costs.
However, you do require certain technical skills to ensure a seamless setup and maintenance of this CRM tool.
So have you explored Drupal CiviCRM before? Do you have any point to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
First launched in 2008, Magento is arguably one of the most popular and widely used eCommerce platforms that powers hundreds of thousands of online stores, and can be downloaded for free.
Tailored according to your specific eCommerce needs, this open source platform offers maximum performance and scalability, with advanced out-of-the-box capabilities, packed in a bundle of multiple editions two of which are Magento Enterprise and Magento Community.
Aside from the fact that one is free and the other is not, both Magento editions seem equally beneficial. Some businesses, however, prefer one to the other.
So, what is the difference between the two, what features does one have, that the other doesn’t, and how they perform against each other on different parameters is what we’ll discuss in detail today.
The purpose of this comparison is to ascertain which version is suitable for your organisation depending on what stage it is in, and future requirements.
Size of the Business
The first and perhaps the most important differentiator between the two Magento editions are the size and scale of the business.
Consider the amount of sales you make every month, the size of the inventory, the number of SKUs, and the market growth your business is experiencing.
With faster indexing process, speedy checkout feature, ability to handle large number of products, flexibility and better support for international business, Magento Enterprise is a real game changer in this scenario if you have lots of products or inventory.
Modular Code Base
On a core, technical level, though, those of you who are not afraid to get their hands dirty building and maintaining a website, Magento Community might be the best fit.
For those who need more control over the environment and need to leverage extensions and custom coding to meet your customer’s expectations, Magento Community has an amazing array of features that include code level access to files.
Unlike Enterprise or other Magento platforms, the Community’s code runs on your web server, and that ensures that your sensitive data and information stay secure and inaccessible to external agents.
When it comes to performance enhancement, Magento Enterprise is an obvious winner. Every upgrade in the system is making this platform exponentially better and faster at re-indexing.
Unlike Magento Community that could take around 10 to 20 minutes to process a newly added product, Enterprise does it almost instantly.
Budget and Investment
If you are looking to start with an eCommerce solution on a limited budget, then Magento Community is your best bet.
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It is relatively easier to set up and flexible for web developers and designers to work with. With a wide assortment of solutions within the edition and the ability to customise certain features without any cost, Magento Community is just the right solution for small-sized businesses and startups.
Even if some amount of investment is required in future development or modules, it will be far less than the amount of money required to develop an eCommerce system from scratch.
However, for those of you who need something more robust and unorthodox, and if money is not a problem and you want a more professional looking eCommerce solution from the start, then without a doubt, Magento Enterprise will win the race.
Here’s a comparison chart that we’ve designed to determine the right fit for your business with a sharp focus on the key differentiating elements of both the editions.
While all the current solutions that Magento is offering are beneficial for businesses, every edition is designed to meet certain business needs.
Magento Community may very well be a good starting point with little or no investment, but for a long-term solution for a larger business with higher online sales, Magento Enterprise offers reliable professional support and is the right way to go.
It is important to keep this factor in mind that Magento is a large eCommerce system that is not well suited for every kind of business. It is best to obtain an expert’s advice on choosing the right system for your business to reap the right results.
So, before you delve into the world of Magento and begin to explore your options, don’t forget to request an unbiased professional opinion on the choice you wish to make.
Is your organisation currently using an eCommerce solution? What were the major limitations that made you consider Magento eCommerce solutions? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
The decisions you make today have a strong bearing on the operations of your business in the future. In order to make sound decisions, your enterprise needs to have the latest operational intelligence information. This is where ‘Business Intelligence’ (BI) comes in and a qualified BI consultant will be able to track your company’s status and operational data very quickly and efficiently.
The global market for BI platforms is witnessing a constant rise that has made it rank among the fastest growing enterprise software industries.
As per Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics platform from earlier this year, this growth is expected to take place at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8.7% through to 2018.
Source: Gartner (February 2015)
Martin Butler, an industry expert, commented on the importance of BI by saying that “an organisation without Business Intelligence bears a striking resemblance to a ship without a rudder” in his latest report.
So in this article, we will look at the reasons your organisation needs a Business Intelligence consultant, along with some tips to find the right BI consultants and hire them at the right time.
Tasks Performed by BI Consultants
An ideal BI consultant for your business will have sound knowledge of the underlying data system, along with programs and tools that create the data. The primary job involves carrying out constant monitoring of the business data and generates timely reports that can be shared with your company’s management on a frequent basis.
One of the most important yet ignored tasks performed by any BI consultant is finding and listing down requirements. The consultant can devise relevant strategies and focus on achieving better results for your business if they have a sound understanding of your business needs.
A smart BI consultant will focus on the business and then determine the technology and tools that need to be used in order to convert a vast pool of data into valuable information.
Having dealt with a number of enterprises, we realise the importance of having a level-headed BI consultant that can offer alternate solutions to emerging challenges with well-defined reports.
This goes a long way in helping the management make informed decisions that turn out to be successful in the long run. Therefore, you can term your BI consultant as the ideal partner for the decision makers of your business.
Rising Need to Hire BI Consultants
As needs are becoming more dynamic, it is getting increasing difficult to make the right, long-term decisions without a strong source of information and intelligence.
You need professionals that can provide updated operational data and information in an efficient manner upon demand. Your management cannot be expected to continuously monitor the data reports and use them to make informed decisions. It requires a specialist to provide the right kind of data and information and this is why you need a qualified BI consultant.
There is no perfect time to hire a BI consultant. You need to get hold of one as early as possible in order to increase your chances of making better decisions that yield quality results for your company. In addition, the sooner you hire a BI consultant, the easier it will be for them to develop an understanding of your requirements.
Skills to Look Out for While Hiring a BI Consultant
- Must be an expert on your company’s underlying data system (IBM DB2 or Microsoft SQL Server or similar)
- Should have sound knowledge of SQL, database functions and data modelling
- Must be able to query recursively at a fast pace (to generate quick reports on demand) and execute analytic functions for complex inter-row calculations
- Must have good knowledge about the source program (Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics GP or similar) used to generate data reports
- Must possess excellent communication skills to understand the business requirements clearly, highlight the gaps and showcase valuable information on time
If you are going for a BI project for the first time, you definitely need professional help from agencies that have prior exposure to BI technologies and tools.
Also, you can opt for recruitment agencies that offer experienced BI professionals on contract or for permanent hires. However, you can also opt for BI consultancy firms that provide quality support for all your data-centric BI needs.
There is no room to experiment when it comes to BI for your organisation as a single bad decision can have very far-reaching consequences. Hiring a well-qualified BI consultant or a team of such consultants is a small investment that will pay rich dividends for your business in the long term.
The time and money you spend on hiring the right BI team will eventually help your business grow and increase profitability through well-informed decisions.
So do you plan to hire in-house BI consultants, or outsource? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
Any guesses as to what has been named as the ‘sexiest job of the twenty-first century’? According to the Harvard Business Review, it is the job of a data scientist. Surprised? With the amount of data we are generating coupled with the rapid increase in technology, it is no surprise that we need an expert to make sense of all this data and do much more. A data scientist is soon going to become a basic need for most companies. So what exactly does a data scientist do?
Who is a Data Scientist?
The basic job of a data scientist is to analyse data. He does this himself, but he also builds automated systems that do so. Statistics and machines play a big part in the process. A data scientist needs to needs to be good with numbers, but also needs to have a scientific bent of mind.
The job of a data scientist is required today than ever before. Think of the Internet – think how much data is generated there. The number of YouTube videos uploaded each minute, the number of Facebook posts liked every minute, the number of products bought online every minute; and this does not even cover a tenth of the activity that is conducted on the Internet. This kind of data can give invaluable insight and information to a company, depending on what they are looking for. But how do you look for what you want in such a complicated maze and so much sheer volume? This is what a data scientist does.
Data scientists can also make predictions. These predictions are based on science and statistics, and recent trends. For example, Jonathan Goldman revolutionised the click rate on LinkedIn by introducing the ‘People you may know’ feature. At the time, LinkedIn had just begun recently and the problem was that people were not connecting with the people already on the site, the growth was restricted to people inviting their friends and family. Goldman was intrigued by the different connections on the site and the threads between people. Undoubtedly there were people who knew others in their field of work, but how could you connect them? Based on his instincts and some sound statistical study, he refined and implemented the feature. He further added other ways of guessing and predicting connections, and there was a sudden boom in the interactions between visitors and the click throughs.
Such is the effect proper data analysis can have.
Big data and its increasing importance
Big data simply implies data that is ‘big’ – i.e., too huge to process through traditional methods. The modern data scientist makes sense of big data and with the help of recent trends can help a company develop features that can make it extremely useful and customized to a user or a consumer. He can also give insights about almost any stage of the company’s growth, or the impact of a major change or shift in policy or outlook.
Take any application today – almost all of them involve data. Take the example of any shopping portal. It benefits from knowing what you have been looking for, the kind of products you like and which categories you shop most in. Not only does data analysis make it easier for a company to do what encompasses their regular job in a better manner, but it also allows you the possibility to build new and exciting things which were not possible before. Google is a master at this game. Ever typed a wrong spelling into a Google search and noticed Google correct it automatically? It is not just spelling errors that it corrects, Google has a huge database of contexts and phrases which make the search engine top notch and so effective to use.
Look at Amazon. When you look at a product on the website, they show you products that you may like. This feature correlates the product that you are looking at with the browsing or purchase habits of other consumers who looked at other products after this one, and offers you similar recommendations.
Big data is taking over the Internet, and in a big way.
Why do you need a data scientist?
There will be a point in the future when every business will require a data scientist. As every business and every company is getting involved with the Internet in some way or the other, the demand for data scientists will rise exponentially. As of now, however, you may or may not need a data scientist. The question you have to ask yourself is, am I making a product right now that requires a scientist specifically focusing on the data? You need to figure out whether you use conventional data or big data. A key point to remember is that any business that is associated with the consumer directly will benefit greatly from a data scientist.
There was a time when people used to run applications and software downloaded to their own devices or servers. This meant increased threats of data loss and less flexible systems – you actually needed data to be in the system to be able to complete the work.
With cloud hosting, people can now access all the application through the internet, no matter what the location is. The solution has become popular over the years, especially among small and medium enterprises, that run on a modest budget.
Companies can look at increased collaboration with cloud, enabling employees to share and work on data seamlessly, and individuals to pick up their work from any machine that has access to the cloud. Cloud services have also opened a world for businesses and users to interact. You can save your word files in cloud or just use a cloud invoicing system. There are different cloud host providers offering you space to store data online and collaborate easily but the development of SaaS has been the most significant.
According to the latest statistics issued by Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), 84 percent of all the companies in the United Kingdom have adopted at least one cloud service. The research also shows that about 78 percent companies in the country adopt two or more cloud services. In fact, this technology has evolved in phases, starting from utility and grid computing, application service provision (ASP) and the latest Software as a Service (SaaS).
Why Cloud Hosting?
There are different reasons that have owed to the remarkable success of cloud hosting:
- Flexibility: Need more bandwidth or storage space instantly? The cloud has you covered. The ability to meet ever-changing business demands is what cloud services are known for.
- Disaster recovery: You no longer need a sophisticated disaster recovery plan as cloud computing would take care of it. As a matter of fact, using a cloud service reduced the time to resolve issues by as much as 50 percent.
- Software updates: According to statistics released in 2010, UK-based companies spent over 400 hours each month to manage website security. On the other hand, cloud computing suppliers such as Microsoft and Amazon would take care of this.
- Work from anywhere: According to a recent survey, 42 percent of employees in the UK would give up some of their salary if they were given the option to telecommute. This would have a positive effect on the person’s work – life balance.
- Eco-friendly: Businesses that require cloud services only use the space they need. This reduces carbon footprint by a considerable margin as switching onto a cloud is known to decrease the energy consumption by as much as 30 percent.
Comparing Arch Rivals – Amazon Web Services versus Microsoft Azure
Both Microsoft and Amazon are head over heels in grabbing the market share with their cloud-based services. While Amazon did have an amazing head start, Microsoft Azure is soon catching up. Both these companies have the resources to lure individual as well as enterprise customers.
Amazon Web Services Vs. Microsoft Azure: Computing
Amazon employs an Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which allows users to configure virtual machines in a pre-configured fashion or customize it according to their needs. Users get to choose the size, power, memory capacity and the number of VM. In addition, they can also choose the location and availability zone. Load balancing and auto scaling, are a couple of additional features supported by EC2.
Microsoft Azure was made available to consumers in May 2013. Users of this service can choose a virtual hard disk to create a virtual machine. This can either be pre-defined or user-defined. You would have to specify the number of cores and memory capacity.
Amazon Web Services Vs. Microsoft Azure: Storage and Databases
Amazon Web Services use temporary storage, which is allocated once an instance begins and gets destroyer once it has been terminated. Storage is provided that can either be attached to an instance or kept separate. Amazon also has full support for relational and NoSQL databases as well as Big Data.
Similar to AWS, Azure too user temporary storage as well as Page Blobs (Microsoft’s block storage) for virtual machine – based volumes. Azure too provides complete support for relational and NoSQL databases and Big Data, made available through HDInsight and Microsoft Azure Table.
Amazon Web Services Vs. Microsoft Azure: Networking
Amazon’s virtual private clouds and Azure’s Virtual Network give users the flexibility of grouping virtual machines into isolated networks on the cloud. Therefore, users would be able to precisely define a network topology, create route tables, subnets and private IP address ranges.
Amazon Web Services Vs. Microsoft Azure: Pricing
While customers using Amazon Web Services are charged, by rounding up the number of hours used, Microsoft charges customer based on the number of minutes used on demand.
You need to choose a service that suits to your needs. Talk to an expert or evaluate the pros and cons of each. Your choice of cloud hosting can directly affect the organizational productivity and performance so it’s a great idea to do your research on which cloud hosting provider can work to your advantage.