Human services company ResCare has turned to Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) business intelligence to fine-tune its corporate performance.
As a result, the company now accomplishes in just days complex business reporting that used to take two months each quarter to complete, and ResCare's business units are in some cases receiving operational business intelligence on a daily basis.
ResCare provides services to people with disabilities, youth with special needs and seniors who need in-home assistance. The company's business intelligence journey began five years ago when then-CFO Ralph Gronefeld became CEO and began a program to measure the business by 60 different metrics. That scorecard took six to eight weeks to complete, and Gronefeld typically didn't get the report until two months after the quarter ended, according to ResCare Vice President of Application Services Joe Lichtefeld.
So two years ago, the company began a vendor-neutral search to find a better way to do the reporting, Lichtefeld said, and settled on Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) with financial and HR analytics applications on an Oracle data warehouse. After a 12-month implementation with the help of Optimum Solutions, ResCare rolled out the new solution in the first quarter of this year.
Improving profitability with business intelligence
The whole project cost about $1.5 million, but for a company with more than $1.5 billion in revenues, Lichtefeld doesn't think it will take long for the BI solution to pay for itself.
For example, if ResCare's goal is to have 10 percent margins and the scorecard shows them missing that goal, the company can use OBIEE to find which business units are meeting the margin target and which are missing. If, say, five units have margins under 5 percent, the company can address those first by looking at a detailed report to find out if the problem is sales or expenses.
"We've definitely received some very positive feedback from the CEO," said Lichtefeld. "We have lines of business that are getting a daily feed showing revenue projection for the next three months."
Gronefeld, the CEO, can sit at his desk and "get answers and play around and crunch numbers" faster than it would take him to pick up the phone and call someone for the information, said Lichtefeld.
"It's definitely been very well received," he said.
OBIEE gives the company "one version of the truth at the right time," he said. "Everyone's answering to the same numbers, so that's helped too."
Lichtefeld gave Optimum high marks for helping with the implementation. Optimum was focused on providing "rapid solutions and quick wins" while making sure that ResCare got what it needed from the BI solution.
"They were not afraid to push back and challenge us," he said. "We know what we want, but we don't always know the best way to do it."
Implementation was "fairly easy," as the company's Oracle financial and ADP HR systems were designed to work with the Oracle BI solution. And ResCare Director of Application Services Bonnie Johnson said the company needed no additional staff to run the new BI solution.
Ensuring business intelligence success
A recent Gartner study claimed that as much as 70 to 80 percent of business intelligence projects fail, but ResCare was able to avoid those pitfalls with a sound plan and broad buy-in.
"We saw those studies," said Lichtefeld. "We looked at it as business process improvement, and using business intelligence to help it. It's not just a BI implementation. You need a system to help you get there, but the system can't do it for you."
And getting support from both business and IT helped. "That leadership from both sides from the beginning helped make this a success," he said.