What types of BI training are available?

Helping people get to grips with new BI software is important.

 

Investing in sophisticated business intelligence (BI) software can have a significant impact on your organisation’s ability to derive insights from data, whether it’s structured, semi-structured or unstructured.

However, enterprises can underestimate the importance of effective training for new platforms. Even the best software may fail to live up to expectations if users are unable to leverage full functionality.

Finding the right consultants to assist you is the first step in the process, but which type of training would best suit your unique requirements? There are generally a number of different ways to approach training. Here are a few options for those of you considering embarking on a new BI software project.

Mentoring involves a consultant spending time on-site with your users.

1. Pre-set courses

One of the most popular training courses are official certification curriculums that give your employees the skills they need to become certified users of the relevant BI platform. For example, AtoBI was the first QlikView certified trainer in Australia, and we offer structured courses with pre-set data that ensures your workers can familiarise themselves with the program.

2. Bespoke training

Some companies have more sophisticated training demands, which may require bespoke sessions. These courses are particularly common for more technical users and personnel on the business side that require tailored advice specific to their data projects. This could involve building a course around your particular data needs or instructing your end-users on how to use an application that consultants have built on your behalf.

3. On-site mentors 

Mentoring involves a consultant spending time on-site with your users in an effort to guide them through issues that they encounter. Having an experienced expert on hand is especially useful if your employees know the basics of the BI software but are having trouble performing certain tasks or projects. In other words, they may not require comprehensive training; however, a mentor can give them quick tips on how to optimise their approach. AtoBI believes on-site mentors often get the best training results because they are at hand when users face problems and can guide them while they practise their skills in solving them.

Business intelligence software training. Training can help users improve their skills with new software.

Other options

The delivery of BI solutions can also be flexible; you can choose to have sessions at your premises or at a separate location that is more convenient for your staff. Occasionally, in-person training may not be possible. If this is the case, your provider should be able to offer virtual training via web conferencing software or other online means.

Deciding on the right training option for your business may require some thought, but the return on investment should be worth the extra effort.

Why business intelligence is crucial to healthcare’s evolution

The type of data doctors have access to is astounding.

 

Across the globe, hospitals and other healthcare organisations are turning to business intelligence (BI) solutions to improve patient care. The technology and its associated services enable industry leaders to anticipate disease outbreaks, identify ways to reduce costs and more.

One could argue that knowledge is the chief driver of any innovative business. If a leader knows how to generate consistent revenue, the enterprise in which he or she works will benefit from it. BI can reinforce this knowledge, providing insights that enable industry experts to make the type of decisions that can eventually lead to breakthroughs.

Opportunities and challenges 

Visual analytics developer Qlik commissioned HIMSS Analytics to survey 400 healthcare leaders, many of whom were holding c-suite positions. The research discovered that, of organisations labelled as BI “early adopters”, 56 per cent maintained the technology enabled them to reduce healthcare expenses, enhance patient care, satisfy reporting obligations and find ways to increase an overall population’s access to care.

Less than half (48 per cent) of respondents noted that BI processes and technologies enabled them to take specific actions at a faster pace. This suggests that if a hospital, for instance, were to use a data visualisation program such as QlikView on a regular basis, it could figure out how certain aspects of the business are affected by monthly or weekly changes.

42 per cent of survey participants suggested that end users weren’t adopting BI solutions.

These figures would make one think that BI and healthcare are a match made in heaven, but there are challenges associated with this relationship.

For example, 42 per cent of survey participants suggested that end users weren’t adopting BI solutions. This could allude to a number of situations. Maybe workers have trouble using certain functions. Perhaps personnel don’t know how to structure flexible data analysis projects.

Volume, variety and velocity 

Managing information efficiently is one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare companies. If they can’t create processes that gather and organise data, analysing it becomes much more difficult.

According to a study conducted by researchers from Health Information Science and Systems (HISS), the root of this problem lies in ‘the three Vs’ – volume, variety and velocity, which refer to big data’s characteristics. Let’s break them down:

  1. Volume: The amount of data healthcare companies create and collect.
  2. Variety: The various types of data enterprises need to manage.
  3. Velocity: The speed at which healthcare information is generated.

HISS exemplified the three Vs by listing the kind of information hospitals, health clinics and other such organisations oversee. The typical patient profile may contain medical images, physicians’ notes and insurance information. This doesn’t include hospital financial data, sensor and machine-generated data, social media posts and other disparate information.

Based on these concerns, it’s not surprising that many healthcare organisations seek technical support from professionals who know how to organise and analyse a wide variety of data. Specifically, how can those in the healthcare sector get a handle on it?

An infrastructure for big data 

Infrastructures enable processes – it’s as simple as that. The trains, roads, utility networks and other assets that make up the modern city enable millions of people to go to work, power refrigerators, access clean drinking water and so forth.

The same concept applies to big data: Healthcare companies need infrastructures that enable them to efficiently manage and analyse a huge volume of information in their native formats.

The MapR Converged Data Platform, a Hadoop distribution and one technology ourselves and our partners have been working with quite a bit, is just such a system. According to the distributor’s website, the technology can not only enable administrators to access unstructured data but also support genome processing and DNA sequencing projects.

However, decision makers should be aware that such a system is not a cure-all for big data challenges. To address the problems discussed above, healthcare professionals should work with consultants who specialise in using technologies to structure flexible, iterative data analysis projects.