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BLOG | April 23

Integrating your Senior Living community’s business systems

A challenge that many Senior Living communities face is getting their wide variety of different business systems to integrate and work together. Often many systems are completely siloed and duplicate data entry stemming from multiple sources is common, leading to confusion or inefficiencies within the organization. For this reason, Senior Living communities should turn to business intelligence and integration to resolve these issues.

In combination with these data entry silos from different sources, many communities also face challenges in obtaining accurate data for reporting and business analytics. This can cause frustration and manual reporting errors, which lead to suboptimal business decisions and ultimately reduce the quality of care that an organization can provide.

Luckily, there is a solution — working with your IT partner and vendors to integrate your business systems will allow you to effectively implement a business intelligence (BI) tool.  Having integrated systems and a working BI application will help your community better communicate internally and make quicker and more informed decisions backed by a comprehensive data source.

Getting started with integrations and business intelligence

One of the main benefits of integrating your business systems and implementing business intelligence is the newfound ability to work with data that your community normally wouldn't be able to access smoothly. By integrating data with a business intelligence tool, your organization will be able to transform how it markets, manages personnel, reports its finances and gains greater control of data relating to occupancy and care outcomes. In a nutshell, it makes your community more efficient and capable of making better, more informed decisions across the board. Utilizing business intelligence tools also gives your company the ability to track its metrics in a more effective manner and provide visibility and data visualization — creating a more measurable and accountable culture within your organization. With the actionable insights that a BI dashboard can deliver, you can completely change how your organization handles its reporting.

While the insight and data that a BI solution can bring is helpful for many Senior Living organizations, actually implementing this level of transformation may seem like a major challenge due to a current lack of resources or fully integrated business systems. This can be avoided by careful planning and following some best practice tips like these listed below:

Create an IT steering committee

No major IT project should be completed without a steering committee in place. This group of key stakeholders from across all departments of the organization can help to oversee and guide the progress of the integration or implementation of your BI tool while ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Ensuring that this committee is interdepartmental is critical as this is a project that will touch each aspect of your organization — without buy-in from the business users who will be benefiting from this solution, your integration efforts will be more likely to hit roadblocks.

Have a clear understanding of what your organization actually needs

Before embarking on any business intelligence project, it's vital that your business have a clear understanding of the inefficiencies that its systems currently face, as well as knowing what its departments currently need to be able to more effectively do their jobs. It's highly recommended that your organization take the time to audit its technology stack and make note of where its processes could use a boost, and where raw data may be being duplicated. This will provide your steering committee with the insight to create clear and objective indicators for the success of its business intelligence transformation and assist with the selection process.

Evaluate what tools are right for your organization (integration is key!)

Each Senior Living community is unique in its needs and will have different requirements for business intelligence tools or integration methods. Some may need a complete overhaul of their systems while others may only require better data analytics or visualization. When looking to evaluate your tools, shopping around for the business systems and BI tool that suits your company's needs to a tee is important. During the search, your steering committee should be considering your current budget, current business systems that can be optimized, working with your vendors to integrate your systems, process automation, and ensuring the functionality each team needs to make your BI system set up successful.

Be aware of current business intelligence trends

Business intelligence usage used to be about using a single "all-in-one" system or application that could handle the vast majority of your company's data without having to worry about integration or individual business systems for each department. That methodology has changed. The more effective way of implementing business systems for your departments might be through best-in-class systems or applications for different jobs — which while more effective, can be a challenge when attempting to get those systems to speak to each other. Your organization needs to be able to understand and weigh the costs and benefits of an all-in-one solution versus a best-in-class solution and the implications of each for the long run. The effectiveness of optimizing the use of your business intelligence solution will be dependent upon these decisions.

The best way for any Senior Living community to implement a strong business system stack and business intelligence tool is to work with a trusted technology partner who fully understands their needs. At Parasol Alliance, we provide strategic technology planning and full-service IT partnerships exclusively for Senior Living communities. We can help your organization develop a plan and implement business systems and business intelligence solutions for your organization. If you're looking for a better IT support solution, turn to an organization who knows how to implement these tools. Reach out to us today to find out how.