How New Database Technology Fuels Oil Company’s Analytics

corrib oilIf “America runs on Dunkin’,” then parts of Ireland certainly run on Corrib Oil. Corrib not only fuels people with coffee and bakery items, it sells fuel for homes, cars, and trucks in the west of Ireland and the midlands.

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Corrib’s business has two sides– oil distribution and 18 retail locations selling gas, coffee, fresh foods, and grocery items. But each side of the business has many components and each component can have several data technologies in place. How does a company like that get its arms around all its data to assess the state of its business? Here is how Corrib wrangled its data – and then instituted one change to make that data enormously more useful. (more…)

Understanding Wineries’ Top 3 IT Priorities

When it comes to incorporating technology into the wine industry, organizations have so many opportunities to apply analytics and technology. However, there is a huge discrepancy in terms of dollars invested towards IT.

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A recent WBM Technology Survey by Wine Business Monthly magazine analyzes the top IT priorities for wineries based on various categories such as winery size, job function, and IT job function. Most wineries have the same top IT issue, which is “providing better data to our trade sales team.” Better data can result in gained insights into areas of the business and opportunities to spur company growth. Let’s examine how wineries can better understand their top priorities and implement the technology to support them. (more…)

How Analytics Can Help Prevent Falls

prevent fallsAccording to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), every 11 seconds, an older adult is being treated in the emergency room for fall-related injuries. This makes falls the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal trauma for older Americans. The number of falls is expected to increase by 2020, making it a multi-billion dollar problem. A majority of patients will sustain injuries that lead to larger and critical health complications.

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National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the NCOA, takes place on the first day of fall (September 22nd). It aims to raise awareness and educate communities on how they can assess and combat the increasing statistic. Here we are going to take a look at who is at risk for falls and different ways to prevent them – including using analytics. (more…)

How Curiosity Can Improve Decision-Making

Curiosity. Five years old little cute boy hiding behind a table.

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the importance of curiosity lately, and well… that all made me curious as to how curiosity relates to our business lives, and in particular, to analytics and decision-making.

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The September/October issue of Harvard Business Review featured an article titled, “The Business Case for Curiosity.” Based on the research findings presented in this article and in other sources, it’s clear that a curious mind can improve decision-making and business results. Let’s take a look. (more…)

3 Takeaways from the KLAS Healthcare Business Intelligence 2018 Report

KLAS Research recently released its 2018 Healthcare Business Intelligence report. The report assesses the capabilities of various business intelligence vendors and aims to provide some categorization in what KLAS says is “a market with a lot of options and historically little transparency.”

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For healthcare organizations that are viewing this report, what should they focus on? Here are 3 takeaways. (more…)

How to Develop a Positive Customer Culture

How to Develop a Positive Customer CultureWhat is “customer culture,” and why should companies pay more attention to it? A recent Forbes article describes customer culture as comprising two components: “the way a company treats its customers” and “the way a company treats its people.” After reading this definition, I immediately thought of our mission statement: “if Dimensional Insight takes care of its customers and employees, then the employees and customers will take care of Dimensional Insight.”

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This was a strategy our co-founders Fred Powers and Stan Zanarotti believed in 30 years ago and still applies today. To me, our mission statement embodies this definition of customer culture. But how does one work to build, develop, and maintain good customer culture? Here are three ways companies can work towards prioritizing customer culture, which can lead to employee retention and increased growth and success. (more…)

Customer Spotlight: Doctors Center Hospital

Like so many others on the American mainland, we at Dimensional Insight could do nothing but watch as Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017. After the initial shock of the impact of the storm, our thoughts quickly turned to our new customer, Doctors Center Hospital. The hospital has four locations on the island and is headquartered in Manatí, 35 miles west of San Juan. Immediately following the hurricane, the hospital had no power and had an influx of patients. Parts of the hospital had to run on a generator for several weeks. And as we now know, the death toll across the island was much greater than indicated in the official count.

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Close to a year after the hurricane, I visited Doctors Center Hospital in person. I had met Pedro Ríos-Mercado, the hospital’s IT director, at HIMSS in March. I was intrigued by how the hospital used technology immediately following the hurricane, and how it was planning to use Diver in a variety of ways in the future. What I found when I visited was a culture that has embraced data from the very top of the organization and has made it central to daily decision-making. Here are some highlights from my visit. (more…)

3 Skills Tomorrow’s Distributor Executives Need to Know

Group meeting

Did you know that wine and spirits wholesalers in the U.S. account for more than 70,000 jobs? Many of these jobs have been passed down within families, but the times are a-changin’. With consolidation in the industry and advancing technology, there’s no guarantee of employment to be passed down from generation to generation. But for those who want to stay in the family business, it’s important for the next generation to continuously improve their skills to advance their careers.

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A recent Harvard Business Review article discussed how current family business owners should encourage the next generation to thrive in their companies. How can tomorrow’s distributor executives work to develop their careers within their family businesses? Here are three skills they need to know. (more…)

Dimensional Insight Book Club: Why We Sleep

why we sleep. Dog is lying on the bedDo you think you’re getting enough sleep every night? As a society, our discussions around sleep have mainly revolved around encouraging ourselves and others to get the rest we need. However, we aren’t prioritizing or maintaining good sleep habits. We hardly understand or talk about the impact sleep has on various aspects of our lives.

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After thinking about sleep, the Dimensional Insight Book Club decided to read Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker. For the past six weeks, we have been enjoying this book, and trying not to fall asleep while reading it! (Although the author said it’s OK if the book induced drowsiness.) What have our readers learned about sleep? (more…)

How Analytics Can Help CFOs Manage Financial Reporting

Financial data. Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Calculating Bill With Laptop On Wooden DeskDid you know that 38% of CFOs are responsible for their organization’s IT responsibilities? Companies pay CFOs to identify profitable opportunities and create new business models within their organizations. On top of their financial responsibilities, they need to have a greater understanding of their data and technological tools. However, they typically spend too much time on the nuts and bolts of accounting, rather than on strategic work to help their organizations keep pace with business.

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Despite technological advancements, finance departments spend more time manually reporting revenue and expenses, forecasting, and budgeting. In this post, we’ll explore 3 ways analytics can help financial departments access the right data, improve reporting processes, and work towards strategically growing their organizations. (more…)

How Analytics Saved Fieldale Farms $170K Per Year

fieldale farms, chickenThe tight U.S. labor market and uncertainty about corn and soybean prices are dual challenges for U.S. farmers and food producers this year. Compensation costs are up, making it tough for many companies to find the skilled workers they need. And while overall feed prices are down slightly, international tariff talk is unsettling and fueling uncertainty throughout the industry.

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With these two factors largely out of its control, Fieldale Farms, a Georgia-based poultry producer, is using analytics to improve its margins where it can. Here is a look at the company’s efforts and its impressive results. (more…)

How Distributors and Suppliers Can Navigate the 3-Tier System

How Distributors and Suppliers Can Navigate the 3-Tier System. Handsome packer in working apron with box on the packaging line at the manufacture.What is a major challenge for those in the beverage alcohol industry? Navigating the complex 3-tiered system of alcohol regulation. This economic system has been present since post-Prohibition. Although it has been in place for over 100 years, it continues to remain a challenge for suppliers and distributors because of strong competition, industry consolidation, and complex government regulation.

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For those in the beverage alcohol industry, there are still unanswered questions about the 3-tier system. Why is it still relevant today, and if not, will it continue to remain an industry challenge? How can we work to navigate this complex system? Let’s dive in and discuss. (more…)

How Data-Driven Decisions Can Drive Changes in Healthcare

In healthcare, the phrase “data-driven decision making” is a popular one, meant to describe how organizations integrate objective information to inform and improve all sorts of decisions. However, it’s an admittedly abstract concept.

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Exactly how can healthcare organizations use data to shape better decision-making? How do they sort through the deluge of healthcare data to find the insights that can truly effect change? Let’s see what practical steps we can learn from a Maryland healthcare system that used data-driven decisions to catapult itself from “worst to first” in quality.

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Big Man on Campus? Now It’s Big Data

big data. Celebration Education Graduation Student Success Learning ConceptAmerican colleges and universities have a problem and—like baseball teams and health care companies—they are turning to predictive analytics and big data to help solve it. The problem is retention. Fewer than half of U.S. students graduate in four years and about 60% finish in six years, at a big cost to both families and institutions. The statistics are even worse for first-generation students and those from low-income backgrounds, perpetuating social inequities.

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A solution lies in predictive analytics: analyzing large sets of data to discern patterns and spot students in danger of dropping out. A growing number of colleges and universities are incorporating predictive analytics and big data to monitor student progress and intervene quickly when there’s trouble. Here’s how. (more…)

How to Stay on Track with Price Management

price managementIt’s the story of every successful company. You have a great product, your customers are loyal, and your sales are at an all-time high. On the outside, things seem to be moving forward and, in some cases, at alarming speeds. It’s as if your company has taken on another identity, one of a self-driving machine. But what happens when the gears move too fast and pieces begin to break? This autonomous vehicle now becomes unmanageable and you begin to lose control. Everything that should be a major asset to your organization is now starting to take you down a different road, one with bumpier roads and signs with fading colors.

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To get back on track begins with analyzing your pre-existing business while prospecting future opportunities. Here’s how a price management tool is a turn in the right direction for those who have lost track of their revenue-focused GPS. (more…)

How to Solve the Data Crisis Caused by a Hospital Merger

hospital merger. Team of doctors having meeting in clinicThe headquarters of Dimensional Insight is so close to Lahey Medical Center that it’s more appropriate to walk there than to drive there. Our Burlington neighbor is the latest in a growing trend of large scale hospital mergers. Lahey is awaiting approval on a proposed merger with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center that would form the second largest hospital system in the state. Speaking with RevCycle Intelligence, Stuart H. Altman, Chair of Commission of Mass Health Policy, called the merger, “the most significant change in the structure of the Massachusetts healthcare market in more than 20 years.”

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The upside of these mergers, greater efficiency and price control, are well documented; however, the technological downsides are rarely addressed. Combining two massive health systems creates a huge strain on the information flow of the resulting organization and demands a revenue cycle analytics system that is able to handle the influx of data. (more…)

3 Ways to Cultivate a Culture of Trust Inside the Workplace

Culture of trust inside a workplace. Large successfull business team showing unity with their hands togetherWhat is culture? To me, culture is the glue that holds a company together. It’s very important to have a strong company culture in order to succeed and grow. Here at Dimensional Insight, our co-founders Fred Powers and Stan Zanarotti believe if they take care of the customer and employees, then the employees and customers will take care of Dimensional Insight. It’s a strategy that has worked for nearly 30 years.

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In my previous blog post, I discussed the importance of building positive culture outside the office, but how does one build and develop good culture inside the workplace? It starts with trust – trust in your organization, colleagues, and skill sets. In order to succeed, organizations need to build and develop a trust-based culture. Here are 3 ways to cultivate a culture of trust inside the workplace. (more…)

Battle Brewing over Craft Beer and Spirits Distribution

Battle Brewing over Craft Beer and Spirits DistributionThere is a battle brewing that pits producers of craft beer and spirits against distributors and bar owners. Brewers and distillers usually work in partnership with their distributors and retailers, of course. But they also compete against them when they open tasting rooms and sell directly to consumers.

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Distributors do not like being cut out of the action, nor do bar owners. So both sides are stepping up their lobbying efforts to influence alcohol beverage laws in many states. Let’s look at some of the factors that are in play. (more…)

Meet the Dimensional Insight Team: Kathy Sucich

kathy sucichEvery company has products or services that it sells. The challenge is how do you communicate the benefits of those products or services to a wider audience? And how do you create a “voice” for the company that is authentic and engaging?

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In this employee profile, the marketing team decided to “turn the tables” on the editor of our blog – Kathy Sucich. In addition to deciding what content makes it onto the blog each week, Kathy is responsible for communicating the voice of our company to the outside world. She also engages with many of our customers to tell their stories of the results they are seeing from Diver. Kathy recently sat down with me to talk about the blog, her customer visits, and life outside the office. (more…)

3 Obstacles Distributors Are Dodging with Analytics

3 Obstacles Distributors Are Dodging with AnalyticsBurgeoning challenges naturally follow businesses. The question is, how do companies manage these challenges? Oftentimes, the data will tell us in which direction we should make a decision. Distributors that struggle with gathering their data to make their next move also fail to understand what areas of operation are causing them the most time and harm.

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In order to recognize these faults, distributors should lay down a foundation based upon data analysis and forecasting. Companies that do so find they are able to manage their existing business while also predicting new business. What is the secret to success for these companies? Here are three common obstacles that distributors are dodging by having their data do the hard work for them. (more…)

Overcoming Data Zombies with Analytics

Overcoming Data Zombies with AnalyticsIn the current value-based reimbursement environment, hospitals have been overrun. They have been overwhelmed not by zombies from The Walking Dead but by out-of-control financial information. While these two may seem unrelated, the former is an accurate comparison for the latter. 2010’s Affordable Care Act, with its cut to Medicare payments and increase in value-based incentives, can be seen as the outbreak of the contagion. These changes made reimbursement more complex while decreasing hospital margins, essentially starting an informational zombie apocalypse while giving everyone a sprained ankle.

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The status quo for dealing with the flow of financial information has been individual reports cobbled together from the various areas of a hospital’s financial map. Like fighting an army of zombies with a baseball bat, this analysis method proves slow and worthless. The true solution for managing financial data within a hospital lies in a revenue cycle analytics tool, which turns the mindless swarm of financial data into useful pieces of your hospital’s decision-making process. (more…)

The Power of Positive Culture: Inside and Outside The Workplace

The Power of Positive Culture: Inside and Outside The Workplace

Does culture play a role in both our personal and professional lives? Recently, the Dimensional Insight Book Club discussed the importance of positive culture within organizations after reading The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle. However, can one build, develop, and promote good culture outside the office?

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My husband and I recently took a summer vacation to a family resort in Poland, Maine. Throughout the week, we enjoyed walks, food, and even meeting and interacting with a fascinating stranger. I didn’t realize the impact this stranger would have on my vacation, where I gained a bonus life lesson about promoting positivity and living one’s life to the fullest, no matter what age. (more…)

Customer Spotlight: Allied Beverage

Allied BeverageNormally, when I conduct case study interviews, I gather a lot of information on how our customers are using Diver, and then I sort through that information to bring you a cohesive user story. However, I recently visited Allied Beverage at its headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey, and when I came home, I found I had almost too much information to comb through – 33 pages of transcript from my interviews! And it was all great info. How was I going to distill it down into a succinct case study?

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That’s why in this blog post, I’m going to bring you some of the information and background that didn’t quite make it into the case study. I’m not going to call it the “outtakes” because it’s not that this information was not as useful as the rest. This is all great information on how a company has really gotten the most of its nearly 20 years using Diver. Think of this as Allied Beverage: The Bonus Edition. (more…)

How Analytics Can Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic

How Analytics Can Help Combat the Opioid EpidemicThe statistics are alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids has increased five-fold. More than 100 Americans die every day from opioid use. The numbers indicate a growing problem. But what if the numbers could also provide the solution?

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If used correctly, analytics solutions can enable government agencies and healthcare providers to identify trends in the data and help make a difference in the battle against the opioid epidemic. Let’s take a look at how. (more…)

Dimensional Insight Book Club: The Culture Code

Dimensional Insight Book Club: The Culture CodeWhat is culture, and why is it so important in organizations? Businesses often focus on promoting good culture and encouraging teamwork. However, how does one build and contribute to a positive company culture? We don’t talk too much about what culture means to individuals and to companies. Until now.

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For the past six weeks, the Dimensional Insight Book Club has been reading The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle, whether on the beach enjoying the sun or with a cold beer to cool off. What have our readers learned about company culture? (more…)

The Power of Analytics in Diagnosing Physician Burnout

physician burnoutThe amount of data in the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding. “Big Data” is a buzzword that now seems like an understatement. “Colossal Data” may be more appropriate. The U.S. healthcare system will soon be measured in zettabytes, one of which is equivalent to 1 trillion gigabytes. If distributed evenly, this would translate to around 18 completely full iPhones per U.S. citizen.

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For a hospital’s financial team, there are two methods to deal with this mountain of financial information: individual reports and data analytics. The former can offer information on the broadest aspects of the hospital’s revenue stream, like days in A/R or denials, but this method lacks the strength to sift through the smaller, more targeted reports. Analytics, on the other hand, can find valuable insights from all aspects of the revenue cycle. One problem that analytics can help detect is physician burnout. (more…)

Meet the Dimensional Insight Team: Bill Myers

At Dimensional Insight, our employees are our biggest strength. In fact, many of our employees have been with the company for 20, 25, even close to 30 years! However, we also have a strong roster of new talent here.

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I recently sat down with one of the newer faces at the Burlington office, Bill Myers, to discuss his journey from downsizing from a larger company, brand recognition, and the importance of transparency in his client relationships.  (more…)

3 Critical Metrics for Distributors

3 Critical Metrics for Wine & Spirits DistributorsThere’s no shortage of data and information. It’s everywhere. But how can you make data useful in order to make better decisions? That’s the hard part.

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There are several key metrics that distributors should track in order to improve their businesses. Following are three of these metrics, with examples of reports that Dimensional Insight has developed for our wine and spirits distributors so that they can be easily accessed and analyzed. (more…)

How Hospitals Can Better Manage Revenue Cycle in a Value-Based World

medical statistics and graphic charts with stethoscope, revenue cycle

From 1990 to 2007, the U.S. government increased healthcare spending by about $1 trillion. The problem with this statistic is that once figures reach thirteen digits they begin to sound like monopoly dollars. To put it another way, this 18-year period saw an annual growth rate of 7.3% in healthcare spending, which is more than double the 3% annual growth in real GDP.

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Value-based care has emerged as one way to try and combat the rapid growth in healthcare spending. While the emphasis on quality holds promise for patient care, it has created financial challenges for hospitals. Let’s examine the impact it has had on the revenue cycle. (more…)

AI and Human Instincts: Better Together

Artificial intelligence, once the stuff of science fiction, is now so embedded in our lives that we often do not notice it. We are alternately grateful for and aggrieved by autocorrect on our phones. We take it for granted when Facebook tags our photos, Amazon recommends books, and detection algorithms help read our mammograms. Yet Gartner predicts there is much more AI to come. In its recent report, 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2022, Gartner posits, “The introduction of artificial intelligence across all types of business functions in all industries will accelerate and broaden. It will manifest itself in many if not most daily tasks from personal to professional, yet result in net job gains.”1

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That last part intrigues me, the notion that AI will create, not eliminate, jobs while becoming more enmeshed in our personal and professional lives. My theory? It’s because artificial intelligence greatly complements but cannot replace human intuition. AI and gut feelings – like bacon and eggs, they are better together. Here are three organizations using AI in 2018 to enhance human intuition, improving profits and lives. (more…)