Strategic Value of Business Intelligence: Lessons Learned from Case Analysis of Exclusive Resorts LLC and Marshfield Clinic
Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) have the potential to completely redefine and make more customer-centric any enterprise. The tendency to celebrate technology alone is however short-sighted and lacks awareness of the broader, more strategic issues that surround successful BI and analytics implementations. This is an area of software where the ability to analyze terabytes of data very quickly while also testing hypotheses and evaluating trends can become more of a focus that using these systems for accomplishing strategies and long-term objectives (Todd, 2010). The ability to integrate analytics and Bi into an organization is predicated on having a very clear vision and mission for how a specific BI and analytics application or platform will be used to accelerate an enterprise to its objectives. The foundational elements of change management strategies must be in place as well, as the systems must reflect user needs, preferences and be integral to their roles if the overall system is to achieve its full potential (Todd, 2010).
Case studies often provide a useful framework for evaluating how enterprises are getting the greatest value from their BI and analytics investments. Two case studies form the foundation of this analysis, the first detailing Exclusive Resorts, LLC and the second, Marshfield Clinic. Both of these case studies illustrate how critical it is to have a balance of technical and sociotechnical systems design and change management included in the development of any BI and analytics application. The intent of this analysis is to evaluate the lessons learned and potential for improvement in both case studies cited, including the need to continually stay vigilant to the needs of those the system was developed and designed for.
One of the most fundamental best practices of effective BI and analytics implementations is the development of change management programs and frameworks well in advance of software being customized and implemented (Ghosh, Scott, 2011). The more effective a given change management strategy and program is, the greater the level of ownership a given enterprise system gains during the initial design and implementation phases of development
(Todd, 2010). When this occurs the eventual launch of a new BI or analytics systems can attain an 80% or greater adoption rate globally (Ghosh, Scott, 2011). When systems reach this level of adoption, they have the potential to completely re-define the financial and operational performance of an enterprise. Both Exclusive Resorts, LLC and Marshfield Clinic have been able to attain this level of change management as can be seen in how effective their respective BI and analytics systems are in improving the performance of their businesses. As can be seen from both case studies, both have a very high level of authenticity and transparency associated with them, that leads to a correspondingly higher level of trust and adoption by associates in each company (Todd, 2010). Both Exclusive Resorts, LLC and Marshfield Clinic have been able to attain such remarkable success with their BI and analytics applications by concentrating on authenticity, transparency and trust, all powerful catalyst that drive up system adoption and in turn allow these powerful systems to deliver greater results than would have been possible without the sociotechnical change that occurred. The case studies are, in reality, as much about how to manage rapid and significant change as they about the technologies involved in these applications as wlel. With the reduction in fear regarding their jobs, the employees at Exclusive Resorts, LLC are able to use these technologies to better understand customers and improve satisfaction and loyalty. The intelligence gained from using analytics systems at Marshfield Clinic has the potential to save lives. Both transformations of these businesses started at the associate level, with highly effective use of change management strategies and the ability to manage sociotechnical systems to customer needs effectively.
Strategic Lessons Learned
In analyzing each of the cases, it is very clear just how data dependent they each other not just for customer satisfaction and loyalty but for profitability and in the case of the Marshfield Clinic, fulfilling their legal and ethical duty to customers (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012). Both businesses thrive on real-time data and can accelerate their business models rapidly when they have access to it. The ability to also take real-time data and create business models that provide insights into specific strategies via simulation give each business a unique series of competitive advantages (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012) (Microsoft, 2012). Yet to make the real-time data actionable and valuable from a strategic standpoint, both companies must also continually invest in training and software updates to keep their applications current. This symbiotic relationship between the real-time data needs of their business models, the need to continually improve the training level of associates, and the selective use of new technologies force both companies to seek a continual balance of technologies to information needs (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012) (Microsoft, 2012). Striking this balance of real-time data, continual improvement in training, and the use of technologies to gain greater insights from the data are the three strategic challenges Exclusive Resorts, LLC and Marshfield Clinic face. As both business models are also dependent on a high level of customer loyalty and repeat purchase, the greater the precision of data analysis and insight gained from using the best possible software and technologies for a given task is invaluable.
Beginning with Exclusive Resorts LLC, the very core of their business model is predicated on customer loyalty and a commitment to deliver exceptional experiences. These are no ordinary vacations or experiences; they are once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. With jet chartering available directly to resorts, these are what many people save a lifetime to experience. The decision to spend so prodigiously on a travel experience however is not easy, not even for the wealthiest of potential clients (Microsoft, 2012). Exclusive Resorts, LLC has found through the use of analytics that the greater the wealth of a potential client, the greater the potential for many other competing experiences and travel service including chartering ones' own jet. That is why the use of analytics and BI to thoroughly understand the dynamics of how prospective customers make decisions, how they trade off specific attributes, characteristics and options in their travel plans. The decision making model of luxury travel is a complex one, and is continually changing given the shifting preferences of wealthy clients to experience the latest popular vacation locations (Microsoft, 2012). The ability to create a more effective framework for anticipating how these customers will react to specific promotions and programs is absolutely essential to the growth of Exclusive Resorts, LLC. The potential of using predictive analytics to find greater levels of insights into prospective and potential customers using a standardized BI and analytics platform is an area that Exclusive Resorts, LLC needs to next explore (Bauer, 2006).
The criticality of analytics and BI in the medical services profession is equally important, as the lives of patients can and often do hang in the balance. The use of analytics and BI to gain greater insights into how best to serve patients has significant upside potential to streamline and accelerate the diagnosis and treatment processes the clinic relies on (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012). The baseline of performance for Marshfield Clinic however is the need for finding more effective approaches to delivering highly effective treatments while also reducing costs. As the case mentions, Marshfield was able to reduce a sizable variance of $5M in costs through the use of analytics and BI to better understand their costs (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012). The case also alludes to accelerated treatment and recovery times for patients based on the integration of analytics into the broader workflows of the clinic as well (Konitzer, Cummens, 2012). There is significant empirical research to support the results the clinic is achieving as well, with one showing that real-time healthcare analytics have a statistically significant impact on overall recovery times and healthcare quality levels (Ghosh, Scott, 2011). The Marshfield Clinic also clearly shows how critical it is for analytics and metrics to be available in real-time to physicians to keep treatment plans on track over time. The use of analytics and BI to further support the intelligent planning out and execution of treatment plans, including the addition of predictive analytics, shows significant potential to revolutionize healthcare as well (Konitzer, Cummens, 2011). The value of analytics and BI within the Marshfield Clinic is also evident in how the use of 32 measures of quality and 30 key performance indicators (KPIs) across six strategic areas to measure overall clinic performance improved with the automation of analytics and BI reporting. Analytics and Bi are having a very significant impact on the overall performance of healthcare providers, providing them with the ability to gain insights into their costs, in addition to operations, all aimed at creating a more effective treatment regiment or plan for patients (Stanley, 2006).
The key to successful analytics and BI implementations is to first get those most affected by the…