How do you select a BI tool without personal opinions? - healthcare institution Cordaan

Cordaan is one of the largest healthcare organizations in Amsterdam. The organization provides many different types of care and therefore has access to large amounts of data. Within the current information system Cordaan is not yet able to make optimal use of all these data. That is why the entire information system will be overhauled! As part of this project, there is also a need for a new BI tool. But how do you choose the BI tool that best fits your organization? Vera van Lin, program manager of Business Intelligence, explains how Cordaan approaches this selection process.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the project regarding your current information system?

A: We are in the middle of a major project where we are changing our entire information system, from data access to data architecture. On the one hand, our current information system is in need of technical replacement, because we would like to move our entire data warehouse structure to the Cloud. On the other hand, there is also a lot to gain on the front end.

Q: Why was there a need for a new BI tool within this project?

A: Cordaan is a large organization with many different employees and types of care. Therefore we have a lot of data and information. Our current system lacks flexibility and offers mainly static reports. These simply cannot meet everyone’s needs 100% of the time. To really make optimal use of data, it is important that employees influence how information is displayed themselves. In this way, the information becomes more liveable internally and people are more likely to actually use it. Based on this need, we thought it was a logical step to also look at the possibilities for a self-service BI solution.

Q: Has the use of data increased within Cordaan in recent years?

A: We can already do a lot with our data and as a healthcare institution we obviously handle it with care. However, the possibilities of unlocking and presenting different types of data in one system are not yet optimally used. Our data and the management information system are mainly focused on finance and production. So you can mainly look back on information as justification for a closed period. Steps have already been taken in presenting other types of information, such as quality dashboards. However, this has also led to the creation of multiple applications around information provision. Our goal as an organization is to be able to make predictions and strategic choices based on our data from one information system. Because there is increasing awareness internally that tactically analyzing and using data can improve our care.

”Our goal as an organization is to be able to make predictions and strategic choices based on our data from one information system.”

Q: How did the composition of the project team come about?

A: That went fairly naturally. Of course it was important that everything was technically okay, but we wanted to avoid approaching this project solely from a technical perspective. We also wanted to take the wishes of the organization and the developments within healthcare into account. That’s why we made a composition in which the quality and innovation department, finance and IT are represented. Depending on the phase of the project, this composition can of course change.

Q: Okay, so there was a need for a new BI tool to make more strategic use of your data. How did the project team approach this selection process?

A: Our first step was to gain insight into the desired functional requirements that the BI tool had to meet. To do this, we conducted internal interviews with a delegation of the employees who will work with the tool the most. We asked questions about what had to be possible and what it had to look like. With this information in mind, we started the supplier interviews.

Q: Did you use a specific methodology for formulating your interview questions?

A: No, we used a very open approach so that we could gather as much information as possible. So we didn’t base our questions on a standard methodology or anything like that. We did have some doubts about whether we wanted to bring in external help to conduct the interviews. However, in the end we decided to do this ourselves in order not to incur any unnecessary delays, but also to make ourselves known as a project group.

Q: Why did you enlist the help of Rockfeather?

A: We noticed during our supplier meetings that we needed help from an external party. This was because the suppliers were either business partners of the tools or they had a preferred tool. Because we wanted to form our own opinion about the various tools, we approached Rockfeather. Based on our wishes and requirements Rockfeather looked independently and substantively at the similarities and differences between all possible BI tools. This resulted in a personal recommendation, as a result of which we have reduced the long list of solutions to two options. With these two comparable solutions we will enter the next phase.

”Based on our wishes and requirements, Rockfeather independently and substantively looked at similarities and differences between all possible BI tools.”

Q: How will you make the final choice in an objective way?

A: We are now working on proof of concepts in which the remaining tools can show how they work in practice. They will do this using two fictitious use cases that we have written out. We will evaluate both parties on a number of predefined criteria. In addition to the selection of the BI tool, this also includes the data warehouse tool. We then translate this into an advice that we submit to the Board of Directors, because ultimately they will have to give a go or no go. But whatever it will be, Rockfeather’s advice has convinced us that both BI tools could meet the organization’s needs. That’s really a huge reassurance!

Q: How long have you guys been working on this project? And what is the timeline for finally making the choice as well?

A: We started collecting information within the organization in December last year and then conducted supplier interviews. We will be running proof of concepts with the vendors that are currently in the running this summer. We hope to be able to choose a tool in the fall and start building. The goal is to go live with a 1.0 version in early 2022 and then also start implementation and internal training.

Q: What would you like to pass on to readers who might also enter into a selection process?

A: What I would definitely advise them to do is to start by drawing up the requirements within the organization. Gain insight into the functional requirements that the BI tool must meet. If you go into the selection process on this basis, you have a much smaller scope and you can more easily compare and filter on the specifications that are important for your organization. In addition, it is also useful if those involved in making the choice have some prior knowledge of the tool. That way they can ask the right questions during training days. What I might have done differently in retrospect is to schedule the training sessions earlier. These provide direct and visual answers to whether the BI tools meet your set-up requirements. When you bring this forward within the selection, you can exclude things sooner and make decisions.

Are you also looking for a new BI-tool?

Rockfeather has all the knowledge and experience to independently select the right BI tool for your organization! Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!


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