A Fortune 50 healthcare company has used the bipp BI platform since 2017 to deliver live insights to its stakeholders. In this case study, we’ll cover the customer’s business challenges, why they chose bipp and how working with bipp helps deliver more efficient insights at scale.

Vital Statistics

  • Fortune 50 healthcare company
  • Operations in 60 countries
  • Products sold in 175+ countries
  • 125,000+ employees
  • $14B+ annual net income
  • One of the world’s top 5 healthcare innovators
  • Four divisions: Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Consumer Products, Delivery

Overview

Over the past few years, the world’s leading companies have worked to turn the vast quantities of information in their databases into actionable insights. bipp’s customer, a Fortune 50 healthcare company with a global presence, is one such company. With a substantial R & D division and an extensive sales organization that distributes products in more than 175 countries, the company manages large inventory, delivery, and sales databases.

Until recently, the company used several business intelligence (BI) platforms to help its managers monitor and analyze data to support their decision making. However, as the size and complexity of its databases grew, so did the client’s need for a single platform that could deliver insights cost-effectively while performing well at scale.

The Challenge

To counteract slowing growth in its home market (the US), the customer invested billions into R&D to develop profitable product lines. It also expanded operations globally. In support of this expansion, the company prioritized driving high-level and managerial decisions based on quality data.

This mission to become data-driven required overcoming two broad obstacles: It called for addressing data siloing, as the data sat in hundreds of disconnected manufacturing and distribution sites; and it wanted to deliver insights to the right people, both at the individual site and higher regional, national and global command centers. Armed with the correct data, the company felt its teams could make proactive decisions rather than reacting to problems after the fact.

Before partnering with bipp, the company used legacy BI platforms, including Tableau, to help overcome these challenges. With Tableau, features such as visualizations were accessible with a single click, which was helpful but restricted analysts to the features that came with the platform. At the dashboard level, building out the complex business logic involved in their global operations required a way to create customized visualizations, fine-tuned access controls, and interlinked dashboards, which required workarounds in Tableau.

Scaling was also difficult: dashboard performance significantly slowed when running the customer’s larger databases, some of which contain more than 10 million records. Furthermore, since Tableau’s data modeling functions are limited, building new dashboards for each R&D, manufacturing, or distribution site could take weeks.

The healthcare company saw the value of business intelligence through its work with Tableau but needed a comprehensive platform to realize BI’s full potential.

The Solution

As it began its search for an end-to-end BI platform, the company prioritized several requirements:

  • Customizing visuals and other features;
  • Tracking KPIs to see whether or not they were on target;
  • Delivering real-time insights from data sets with millions of rows; and
  • A cost-effective end-to-end platform.

After a comprehensive selection process, the company chose bipp as a core business intelligence platform. It also hired bipp’s Analyst as a Service team to operate the platform as an extension of its internal team.

Several unique bipp features helped the company’s decision:

1) The healthcare company had hundreds of related supply chain dashboards on Tableau but no way to link them. End users needed a way to track KPIs across product lines and sites. Unlike Tableau, bipp is web-based and its flexibility allows teams to create customized dashboards with features such as interlinking. Building these in Tableau would require a performance-hampering workaround.

2) The customer wanted the ability to quickly build and deploy dashboards at hundreds of warehouses and R&D centers. bippLang and bippDash, bipp’s data modeling and dashboard structuring languages, solve this by enabling analysts to write a data model once, then reuse it on new dashboards. In addition, these tools allow analysts to write features including filtering, parameter-based functions, partitioning, and security in a standalone way. Then, they can leverage these to build customized dashboards at the platform level without affecting the underlying data.

3) The customer’s executives, planners, and warehouse managers needed to view KPIs and supply chains in interactive, intuitive displays beyond standard built-in BI visualizations such as graphs and bar charts. bipp has standard visualizations and also lets teams create custom visualizations. In addition, its flexibility to use Javascript allows the team to build extensions on the standard display formats. Teams can also embed analytics dashboards into proprietary applications using HTML and CSS.

4) The complexity and tight deadlines of the company’s projects frequently require multiple analysts to work together to execute business user requirements, so they needed a platform that supported collaboration. Bipp incorporates modern software development principles such as git-based version control, which stores all changes in the cloud. As a result, analysts always have access to past work and can revert to it as needed.

5) The company’s end users required a way to view real-time data in a way that performs at scale. The way that bipp hits the database directly means its performance typically surpasses Tableau. In addition, being in-database helps in displaying real-time data since analysts don’t have to take data extracts and update them every time they want to pull a report. Being in-database also supports automated reporting and alerts, which are popular requests for business users at the healthcare company.

Results

bipp has supported hundreds of projects over the past three years. Internal analysts apply bipp to consumer products, while bipp analysts work in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and delivery. Here are some highlights...

Vaccine Tracking Project

The company asked bipp to support its COVID-related pharmaceutical tracking. Compliance regulations mandated location and temperature tracking and reporting, so bipp leveraged Google Maps to build an interactive map to monitor worldwide deliveries. Having accurate and timely data was critical, and bipp’s solution could deliver new dashboards in under a week and offer updates in under five minutes.

Personnel and Manufacturing Scorecard

bipp developed a scorecard that tracked personnel and manufacturing KPIs at the company’s pharmaceuticals and medical devices division’s global plants. The project began with building dashboards for ten sites, which led to bipp building similar scorecards for other international sites. With Tableau, adding a new site might take two weeks, but bipp’s data model solution meant it could connect new data sources in less than two days. Today bipp’s scorecards support 130 locations, and it expects to support up to 200 in the next 12 months.

Inventory Visibility

To speed up analysis, the healthcare company’s medical devices subsidiary wanted to migrate a set of 90 inventory planning and order fulfillment dashboards from Tableau to bipp. Historically it had taken analysts two weeks to build a new dashboard from initial request to delivery. Using bipp’s bippLang data modeling approach, the company can now provide dashboards in days. In addition, because the dashboard used the bippDash language, end-users could create cross filters for use across their dashboards. This allowed the company’s planners to develop new sheets and dashboards without support from their technical team.

Quarterly Business Review Dashboards

The customer’s senior management meets quarterly for a high-level review of key metrics, including quality control, speed of business, and cost to serve. They previously used Tableau to produce supporting dashboards, but this became cost-prohibitive as the data requirements grew. bipp analysts built 25 dashboards for executive quarterlies over two months in 2020. Key elements included working at the database level to improve dashboard efficiency and building a version-controlled commenting feature that allows executives to note irregularities, track root causes and recommend actions. bipp analysts continue to develop new dashboards as needed.

Closing Thoughts

Like other forward-looking organizations, this global healthcare company looked for ways to better bring data-based insights to business and operational stakeholders. It recognized the power data brought to the decision-making process. And it wanted BI teams and platforms to provide actionable insights to accomplish strategic objectives.

Beyond this, the company wanted customized insights for its end-users at scale but cost-effectively. Partnering with bipp boosted productivity by enabling managers and executives to make data-driven decisions using bipp’s self-service BI platform.

bipp is filling an essential gap in the BI space by delivering an easy-to-use platform with self-service capabilities. It has been built from the ground up with data analysts’ pain points and end-user needs in mind. Most importantly, bipp was designed for actionable BI. Companies are no longer using BI solely to develop insights for PowerPoint presentations three months down the road. Instead, end-users and analysts are working closely together to generate insights an organization can quickly act upon.

To learn more about how the bipp platform helps large and small organizations deliver real-time insights, contact us.