5 Lessons from the Trenches of Analytics Implementation

Nick Caffentzis

Whenever I meet with an organization about how to leverage analytics in their business, I often hear the same challenges:

“We’re having a hard time doing anything more than reporting.”

“Our data just isn’t right yet.”

As we sift through these challenges, people inevitably respond with a question: “How do you do it?”

It’s apropos because, as a business with multiple divisions and locations, GE Healthcare has a lot of the same goals as our IT customers: Implementing the right analytics tools, reporting on the data and problem-solving based on that insight.

It’s not an easy task. And it gets more complicated as data grows exponentially.

Take our system-wide sales and marketing automation tool, for example. Even after training on all the system’s capabilities, and plenty of time to get to know the ropes, many of us are wondering, how well are we really taking advantage of all its functionality?

We’ve been grappling with the same kind of question for numerous customers, as well. Our experience – and the experience of our customers – suggests that broad platforms aren’t necessarily the right way to go. If you’re shooting for one big solution that can give you everything you need, you’re likely to get stuck.

So what does work? In our work implementing analytics internally and with customers, we’ve seen several valuable lessons emerge. Here are five of them.

  1. Start small – You can get a lot more traction, more quickly when you aim for something more focused than a system-wide analytics structure. Implementing small solutions using fewer resources is faster and easier, and can add up to enterprise-level results that will have a real, measurable impact on your organization.
  2. Solve a specific problem – Zero in on one issue and seek out only the data you need to take action. What are the KPIs for the clinical, financial and operational outcomes you’re seeking? It’s about solving a problem, not every problem. Focus on how the information will be used to impact an outcome or decision to be made.
  3. Perfect is the enemy of good – Data integrity is critical to analytics. But if you spend all your time perfecting the data before you get started, you’ll never get started. In our experience, data integrity is self-solving. Start to use your analytics tools, and better data will naturally follow.
  4. It’s an ecosystem – Think of analytics as an ecosystem of small solutions working together, with each tool capable of moving you toward your goal faster than the whole.
  5. Get help – Even after a well-implemented tool and training session, you still need expert guidance. Choose a tool from a trusted source that has the services and support you need to get the most out of your analytics.

These lessons all contribute to the overall whole approach we’re taking to analytics at GE Healthcare: offering a portfolio of ready-to-go applications designed with customer input to solve specific problems – everything from materials usage in the OR, to reducing the amount of anesthesia gas by procedure type.

Over time, we’re seeing small victories amass into some amazing achievements.


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