Business Intelligence: Effectiveness

This post discusses the structure of an effective business intelligence program. Also, this post explains the key components of the structure. Finally this post explains how knowledge management systems fit into the structure.


Non-profit Hospitals are in a constant state of trying to improve their services and drive down costs. Thus, one of the ways they do this is by turning to Lean Six Sigma techniques and IT to identify opportunities to save money and improve the overall patient experience. Six Sigma relies on data/measurements to determine opportunities for continuous improvements, thus aiding in the hospitals goals, a Business Intelligence (BI) program was developed (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).

Key Components of the structure

For an effective BI program the responsible people/stakeholders (Actors) are identified, so we define who is responsible for setting the business strategies (Goals).  The strategy must be supported by the right business processes (Objects), and the right people must be assigned as accountable for that process.  Each of these processes has to be measured (Indicators) to inform the right people/stakeholders on how the business strategy is doing.  All of this is a document in a key document (called AGIO), which is essentially a data definition dictionary that happens to be a common core solution (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  This means that there is one set of variables names and definitions.

Implementation of the above structure has to take into account the multi-level business and their needs.  Once the implementation is completed and buy off from all other stakeholders has occurred, that is when the business can experience its benefits.  Benefits are: end users can make strategic data based decisions and act on them, a shift in attitudes towards the use and usefulness of information, perception of data scientist from developers to problem solvers, data is an immediate action, continuous improvement is a byproduct of the BI system, real-time views with data details drill down features enabling more data-driven decisions and actions, the development of meaningful dashboards that support business queries, etc. (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).

Knowledge management systems fit into the structure

“Healthcare delivery is a distributed process,” where patients can receive care from family doctors, clinicians, ER staff,  specialists, acute care, etc. (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  Each of these people involved in healthcare delivery have vital knowledge about the patient that needs to be captured and transferred correctly; thus hospital reports help capture that knowledge.  Knowledge also lies with how the patient flows in and out of sections in the hospital, and executives need to see metrics on how all of these systems work together.  Generating a knowledge management distributed database system (KMDBS), aids in tying all this data together from all these different sources to provide the best care for patients, identify areas for continual improvements, and provides this in a neat little portal (and dashboards) for ease of use and ease of knowledge extraction (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  The goal is to unify all the knowledge from multiple sources into one system, coming up with a common core set of definitions, variables, and metrics.  The common core set of definitions, variables, and metrics are done so that everyone can understand the data in the KMDBS, and look up information if there are any questions.  The development team took this into account and after meeting with different business levels, the solution that was developed in-house provided all staff a system which used their collective knowledge to draw out key metrics that would aid them in data-driven decisions for continuous improvement on the services they provide to their patients.

1 example

Topaloglou & Barone, (2015) present the following example below:

  • Actor: Emergency Department Manger
  • Goal: Reduce the percentage of patients leaving without being seen
  • Indicator: Percentage of patients left without being seen
  • Object: Physician initial assessment process



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