Getting Business Intelligence When & Where NeededBy Ariella Brown | Posted 2017-01-10 Email Print
AudioNet deployed a business intelligence solution that enables it to access data points and visualizations and gain insight into pattern trends in real time.
AudioNet is a National Provider Network that sub-contracts with various Hearing Aid networks throughout the country to coordinate hearing benefits for employer groups. It sub-contracts with more than 5,000 audiologists and ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors to serve customers all around the nation.
The business has been operating since 2008 and has been growing rapidly, particularly in the past couple of years. As the business grew, it became clear that it needed to find a way to make data more accessible with visualizations that identify trends. The goals were to be responsive to changes in the business and to be able to serve the needs of its growing number of customers.
AudioNet has partnered with Consultech Services for its technology needs for a number of years, and the consulting firm suggested adopting WebFOCUS Business User Edition (BUE), an enterprise business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform from Information Builders. After the installation, AudioNet's users could access data points and visualizations and gain insight into pattern trends in real time.
David Thiery, director of IT at AudioNet, said that before implementing WebFOCUS BUE, they weren't capturing the volumes of data that came into and went out of the company. Consequently, they couldn't identify trends as they were occurring. They could only see them after they entered the data into spreadsheets and created charts or graphs to visualize analysis.
This delay on getting needed real-time insights became even more of a problem as the business expanded. "We've easily grown 200 percent in the last year," Thiery explains, as a result of obtaining some very large clients.
The data reporting AudioNet had previously didn't meet its needs because it could not report the actual extent of growth and what adjustments were needed. While businesses always want more customers, they also need specific information to help them plan how many people they need to hire and what resources would be required to maintain the level of services customers have come to expect.
Data on Demand With Reports and Visualizations
AudioNet introduced the WebFOCUS BUE express product about a year ago. Thiery recalls that within a month, the firm had set up about half of the things in use today.
The other half was added over time, as management became aware of what it wanted from the data and how it would be represented most effectively. Consultech then built the company dashboard and implemented the changes AudioNet requested.
Now, Thiery says, the users can produce graphs, charts and drill-down reports, and they can get instant access to anything they need to understand what's going on in the company, as well as what the projected trends for the business are.
Active reports are delivered directly to the key people who need them. The updates are in real time and are accessible on mobile devices, so, even out on the field, anyone who needs to check on the current state of data can do so by using their mobile device or desktop computer.
That was a critical factor in adopting WebFOCUS BUE, Thiery says, because so many people rely on their phones more than on their desktop units. Consequently, reports that are not designed to be mobile-friendly are not as useful.
Generally, the visualizations are reviewed on a weekly basis at leadership meetings. Thiery explains that these meetings are where management "wants to see where we're at and where we're going." The meetings are also where managers make decisions about how many people they would hire.
As a result of the growth AudioNet has been experiencing, it's been adding on a large number of support people to keep up with the workload. "As our volume increases, so does our revenue," Thiery says.
The firm also uses WebFOCUS BUE to analyze financial data. That includes revenue dollars, accounts and claims counts that factor into identifying an upward trend.
Being able to identify trends helps management plan more effectively. For example, AudioNet had a huge spike in volume last March when many of its customers were up for benefits renewals. While management was expecting some increase at the time of renewal, it didn't realize how extensive it would be. Having this data enables the company to plan for similar numbers in the future.
AudioNet is also pleased with the security of the WebFOCUS BUE solution, which stores the software and all the data—including sensitive information—on the company's own servers, while also getting the same kind of mobile access one finds in a cloud solution.