Customer Stories - Premera - Solving Complex BI Challenges
Premera trusts Logic20/20/s Technical Leads to help solve complex business intelligence challenges across multiple business segments
Premera Blue Cross needed staffing support in 2011. The organization’s Business Intelligence Team was building a low-latency, integrated data store on the Netezza platform to support analytical needs across the organization. The goal of the project was to create a new, single-source conformed view of enterprise data that would replace the manual effort and isolated data marts associated with the investigation of claims, producer, lab and other analytical questions by Premera’s business users. The challenge for the Premera Business Intelligence Team? Consolidating, conforming, and presenting the data in an accurate, comprehensible end-product that earned the trust and respect of the users.
“I started working with (the team) shortly after we lost our data architect. We needed an interim data architect, someone that could help the team define the work that needed to be done, defend the scope and approach across the organization, and get people on the same page in terms of project accountability and dependencies. (They were) instrumental in overcoming these challenges and getting the project on track,” according to Tory Tolton, director of business intelligence for Premera.
The strategic framework for integrating the data was in place, but implementation of the strategy had not been completed. There were unresolved questions around the design, and no working model of how to implement the architecture. In addition, the Premera team was facing difficulties modeling source-to-target flows, and needed additional data modeling expertise and bandwidth.
Modeling the data and ETL architecture involved many questions regarding transaction grain, natural and surrogate keys, late-arriving fact data, working with 3NF in a data warehouse, conforming and typing dimensions, the role of views and aggregates, working with often unreliable Change Data Capture, rerunning jobs, de-duplicating data sets, detecting and rolling back bad data loads, and establishing Master Data Management candidate dimensions. Logic20/20 wanted to ensure that Premera’s business intelligence projects continued to move forward and deliver business value. Through an iterative development process, the integrated data store was built and data domains added, making it possible to pose‒and get answers‒to increasingly sophisticated, high-value analytical questions.
“Based on the success of that initial project, we have turned to (Logic20/20) to provide Technical Lead staff on a number of different work streams. What sets them apart from other business intelligence/data warehouse staffing firms is that they deliver utility players that can think about the business objectives and business outcomes first, and then turn to the technical details. They can problem solve and engage with our business users more than the other outside firms that we have used,” commented Tory.
Since 2011, Logic20/20 consultants have provided day to day Technical Lead support for key Premera business segments, including Clinical, Employer and Lab data.
On the Clinical front, Logic was the Technical Lead on a project to deploy 360 degree member clinical and behavioral information to 120 users in 10 weeks. The project was ambitious, the time frame short, and there were many business and technical constraints.
“(Logic20/20) was able to lead the team, negotiate all the Clinical data constraints, and develop a way to get the work done quickly. We didn’t have the luxury of working sequentially on the pieces of this project. (Logic) was able to envision the complete solution and articulate to the team how each of their pieces would fit together in the end. Their problem-solving abilities are second to none and really set them apart. Whenever we need help, (Logic20/20) is the first vendor we call because the people they have on the ground are completely top notch,” said Tory.
Premera also tapped Logic20/20 to help develop eight new reports for their external facing Employer Portal, a legacy platform that had not been maintained or enhanced for quite some time but that was serving some 600 active users.
“Eight reports may not sound significant but we had not enhanced our Employer reporting tool for 4 years. (Logic20/20) was able to rapidly come up to speed, own the problem, and keep this important initiative on track. Within one year we had the eight reports we needed for this audience, and could free up internal resources to move on to other initiatives,” commented Tory.
On the Lab front, Premera needed to appropriately filter genetic testing results on the Lab data going into the integrated data store to comply with HITECH Act, the GINA Act, and State of Alaska statutes. The requirements for this project ended up being a lot more complicated than Premera had expected. Logic20/20 was brought in to help address the specific regulatory requirements.
“Our business users didn’t really understand the requirements and the complexity of the data we are dealing with. (Logic20/20) spent a lot of time digging into the data to figure out what the data meant, identify the best way to filter it, and then pitch the solution to the business users for sign off. Ultimately, (they) helped us develop a solution to a very complex problem even our own business users were having a hard time understanding,” commented Tory.
“We trust (Logic20/20) to bring the right candidates forward. Onboarding their consultants will be pain free. Shortcuts won’t be taken even though they have to work under difficult time constraints. They will integrate and act as if they are a part of the Premera team. (Logic) delivers the kind of thinkers and problem solvers we need to move our organization forward,” stated Tory.
About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 1.5 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. Premera is committed to providing its members peace of mind about their healthcare coverage. The company offers innovative health and wellness solutions focused on quality outcomes for patients and controlling costs. Premera Blue Cross, which has operated in Washington since 1933, is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, providing health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness and other related products and services. The family of companies employs approximately 3,000 people and provides healthcare coverage and related services to nearly 1.7 million members.
Visit www.premera.com for more information.