Scaling a Mountain? Take a Coat—and a Good Guide.

One of my favorite analogies to illustrate the complexity of planning for an analytics implementation is to compare it with setting off to climb Mt. Everest. The objective is clear, you want to climb to the top of the mountain. But that’s the easy part—how are you going to make that happen? Would you attempt this expedition on your own? Probably not. Why? Because the risks are too high; maybe even fatal.

You know you’re not the first one who’s set out to achieve this goal and there are others who’ve been successful. So what do you do? You hire a guide to help you plan for success—someone who’s been there and done that. You want someone who knows the best time to set out, how to coordinate logistics, and which paths are the quickest to the summit. Their experience climbing this mountain numerous times increases your own chance of success tremendously.

An analytics implementation is not much different. Sure, you have a lot of talented people in your organization. They’re bright, hard-working and committed to success. But how many of them have planned and delivered a successful analytics implementation? How many of them have done this multiple times? A recent article in HIMSS’ Healthcare IT News features four experts in analytics who make some related points that I think are worth exploring.

Analytics Follow the Business Purpose

One of the first steps of any analytics implementation is ensuring that you’ve outlined a solid business case around the need for a modern platform. What are you trying to accomplish as an organization?

In the article, Dr. Alan Pitt, chief medical officer at CloudMedx, explains that it’s the business purpose that must drive the technology. As he puts it, “[The] business purpose is usually defined in a pre-state and post-state. Process, people and technology doing something. Better patient care, shorter length of stay, filling gaps in care, a myriad of reasons for justifying people, process and technology.”

You have process, people and technology in place today that run your organization—that are “doing something.” But how are you going to change those to align with your identified business purpose?

It’s not enough to just implement the technology, and the capabilities that come with it, in anticipation of a need. Doing so risks the initiative as being seen as having provided little to no value to your organization. In order to navigate your business processes to help you determine and prioritize your business cases, you need a partner that pairs functional business expertise with technical know-how.

To return to our Mt. Everest analogy, the experienced, generalist mountaineer who knows the tools and techniques of the trade, inside and out, isn’t enough to help you succeed without an experienced guide who knows the terrain and has traversed it many times before.

In the same way, the technology firm who can competently implement the software is insufficient without the functional experts who know the processes, best practices, and metrics that organizations in your industry depend on—and how they should be implemented to meet your needs.

Outcomes First, Then Data

Successful analytics implementations start by defining the outcomes that are desired by the multiple stakeholders and then figure out where the data is that drive the decisions supporting those outcomes and how you’ll present it. To this point, the HIMSS article also quotes Ryan Pretnik, a research director for KLAS

“Good data drives great decisions, this is why alignment on outcomes is so key—it drives what data needs to be brought in front of the decision makers. Once the outcomes are defined, the needed data becomes apparent.”

One of central aspects of defining these outcomes is not only to leverage your organizational expertise, but to bring in functional experts in Finance, Supply Chain and Human Resources that can collaborate with you on defining your desired outcomes. This crucial phase of a successful analytics implementation is something that can’t be done by partner who focuses solely, or even mainly, on the technology.

The Right Tool

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right product for your analytics implementation. As a partner who’s well-versed in the various solutions that are out there, RPI Consultants can help you make the right strategic decision. But that’s just the beginning. You need to pair that technology with a methodology that gives you the foundation and framework you need to be successful.

I like the way Mark Morsch, VP of technology at Optum, summarizes the importance of choosing the right partner when it comes to your implementation. He says:

“The right partner has this combination of industry experience and technology and business savvy to help CIOs make strategic investments that can build over time.”

A successful implementation relies not only on a partner that leverages industry best practices, but one that understands the functional side of your business. With over 20 years of Infor Lawson consulting experience and thought leaders in Finance, Supply Management and Human Capital Management, you couldn’t pick a partner better suited to help you succeed in your analytics implementation than RPI. We’ve helped many organizations like yours scale this mountain, and we can help you reach the top too.

Message me or click below to schedule a 30 minute meeting with me to learn more about how we can help you plan for success.

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