A few years ago, Philadelphia Healthcare realized it needed a digital transformation \u2013 the Amersfoort-based non-profit was faced with organizing a massive amount of data from about 9,000 clients, 7,000 employees, an extended network of 6,500 volunteers, and about 16,000 client family members.\n\nWhat it required was a solution that embraced data management and big-data trends to better streamline personalised management and client service for disabled adults needing residential, occupational, recreational, and other services such as community building and helping clients find meaningful employment.\n\nFortunately, a group of technology enthusiasts at Philadelphia \u2013 including Manager of Data Delivery and Analytics Jasper Drenth \u2013 had already begun to explore the concept of Business Intelligence (BI) as the potential answer.\n\n\u201cOne of our mission statements is to give clients as normal a life as possible,\u201d Drenth says. BI \u2013 which leverages software and services to transform data into actionable insights that inform an organization\u2019s strategic and tactical business decisions \u2013 promised to provide Philadelphia with the right tools to deliver better care.\n\nThe non-profit now has an advanced BI dashboard that aggregates access to data from more than 500 facilities and a dedicated BI technology team planning an intelligent-automation strategy that includes personalised digital assistants for every employee.\n\nA new outlook\n\nThe transformation began in 2018, when a so-called \u201chobby club\u201d of data-focused technology enthusiasts at Philadelphia and among the organisation\u2019s board of directors came to the conclusion that BI could be the ideal way forward.\n\n\u201cAt that time, not much was done with data and business intelligence and analytics were unexplored territory,\u201d Drenth says.\n\nData in the organisation was managed on a facility-based level, often via individual Excel spreadsheets that only collected data at the department, employee, or client level, providing minimal overall visibility for decision-makers.\n\nFor example, to make a decision on whether a facility had enough money to buy a new table, or even organise a barbecue, it was necessary to find and view financial data from numerous sources, and even analyse department-specific spreadsheets and data stores \u2013 a time-consuming task for what should be a fairly simple decision.\n\nBut since the company\u2019s implementation of the Pyramid Analytics Decision Intelligence Platform, managers and employees can call up the data they need to make decisions within seconds on personalised and intuitive dashboards.\n\n\u201cNow they don\u2019t have to spend time on collecting the data, just read the results in the dashboard and define the actions they want to take,\u201d says Drenth.\n\nBuilding a team and implementing the solution\n\nPhiladelphia Healthcare\u2019s digital transformation has been an ongoing journey since the company asked Drenth \u2013 one of the group that did early research on the potential of data analytics \u2013 to manage the implementation of BI.\n\nHe agreed, but only if he could put together his own dedicated team that would carry on a long-term strategy. Within a short time frame, his team vetted BI platforms and decided on Pyramid Analytics for its front end for data analysis and visualisation. Within six months, the front-end dashboard was up and running through collaboration with a reseller of Pyramid that worked with Philadelphia Healthcare through the first year of the project.\n\nAt the same time, Drenth was laying the groundwork for a long-term relationship with BI within the company by building a BI competence center and team to implement a complete data-optimisation strategy in-house.\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s a very important thing to understand that BI is not a one-off project,\u201d he said. \u201cThe need for information is always changing and we made sure we are prepared for this and embedded this culture within the organisation.\u201d\n\nIntroduction to BI\n\nThe initial dashboard gave Philadelphia Healthcare\u2019s managers \u2013 about 300 in all \u2013 access to a BI front end that aggregated data from a new back-end data warehouse that simultaneously pulled data from all facilities. The managers gained access to and analysis of data from a number of metrics for employees, the company, and its clients, such as employee absenteeism and productivity related to client care; company financial performance and other data; and client satisfaction.\n\nThis unprecedented real-time access to data also allowed the organisation to improve its own efficiency and productivity and thus better serve clients, Drenth says.\n\nFor example, labour is one of the company\u2019s main costs, which is why being able to access data about employee absenteeism across the entire organisation was an important aspect of the dashboard. Previously, an HR professional at a facility would collect the data each month in a spreadsheet, making only the previous month\u2019s data accessible to managers to analyse how their staff was performing.\n\n\u201cNow they have a dashboard, so they can see the absenteeism across Philadelphia as a whole, with specific information on a location level,\u201d Drenth says. Due to the high cost of labour, having access to this data can directly affect financial performance and the level of client service.\n\n\u201cWe have to keep track of those costs and which locations are performing well \u2013 or not \u2013 to make changes as necessary.\u201d\n\nCultural implications\n\nImplementing such a game-changing solution is always tricky across an organisation when employees have been used to doing things the same way for many years, Drenth says.\n\nWhile managers embraced the dashboard once it was up and running, there was a learning curve for the company\u2019s BI team in terms of discovering what specific types of data and analysis were most important for managers to access.\n\nThe BI team went on a roadshow to company facilities across the Netherlands to introduce the dashboard to managers before its rollout. In the beginning, it was difficult for managers to tell the team what they needed from the solution without first seeing how it would work.\n\nTo garner better feedback, the team adopted an agile programming style and built a \u201cminimal viable product\u201d to showcase how the dashboard would work. This allowed managers to see and experience the data, which led to a better understanding of how it could be useful to them, Drenth says. The early prototyping also encouraged broad adoption of the solution once it was officially rolled out.\n\n\u201cDue to the way we handled this project, we saw managers adopting the discipline of business intelligence.\u201d\n\nExpanding the BI Vision\n\nOnce all managers had access to the Pyramid BI solution, the team expanded the platform to all 7,000 employees across all facilities. Each care professional was given access to their own customised dashboard through a single sign-on solution based on their individual role and level of security for accessing sensitive data.\n\nThis phase of the project accelerated the rollout of a new organisational management style at the company to focus on self-organised employee teams rather than a top-down management approach.\n\nPreviously, employee teams would wait for managers to distribute the information they needed to carry out specific tasks. This would cause delays in achieving care and service objectives because managers had such daunting task loads, with some having responsibility for five to 10 facilities, he said.\n\nNow that every employee has real-time access to the data he or she needs to do their jobs, they can make \u2013 and are in fact encouraged to make \u2013 decisions that affect their clients far more quickly, which ultimately results in overall better care and service, Drenth says. \u201cEveryone is using his or her time more wisely.\u201d\n\nPhiladelphia Healthcare\u2019s future goals for its ongoing BI strategy are to implement predictive data analysis as well as a combination of robotic process automation and AI to drive quicker and better decision making.\n\nThe latter solution will create AI across the company\u2019s business and technology applications so they can interact with data in real time, providing each employee at the company with his or her own virtual assistant. This assistant will act as its own digital care professional, ultimately working alongside the employee to help maintain productivity and provide optimal care.