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Byram Healthcare Addresses Sales Reporting and Business Analysis Requirements

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
July 2004 Issue
  By Richard M. Entrup
Databeacon Inc.
Review of: Databeacon Collaboration Edition from Databeacon Inc.

REVIEWER: Richard M. Entrup, CIO of Byram.

BACKGROUND: Byram is a leading provider of disposable medical supplies and services to patients in the home. Byram specializes in the provision of products for treatment and care of chronic conditions in four areas: ostomy, diabetes, urology/incontinence and wound care. Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, Byram serves more than 170,000 customers from seven regional operating centers and supports strong relationships with referring home health agencies, managed care organizations and healthcare professionals.

PLATFORMS: Dell Pentium Server, Apache Web Servers running Debian GNU/Linux. Data source is an Informix database running on IBM AIX and IBM P-Series servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Historically, Byram's sales reporting was delivered via PDF files posted to a basic intranet site. The reports were totally static, very intensive for developers to maintain and not user friendly for the sales force or management. The biggest reason for purchasing Databeacon Collaboration Edition was to provide more robust and interactive reporting to the sales team and to answer senior reporting needs for gross margin and revenue by rep, region, product and manufacturer. The IT staff created scripts that pull data from our Informix database then parse that data by sales rep and build multidimensional OLAP cubes and predefined reports accessed on the Linux server through a standard Web browser.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Each salesperson can log in and click on a URL that delivers the Databeacon Insight viewer and the data that pertains to him/her along with associated reports. One of those reports ranks all sales staff for comparative performance. Each salesperson can explore his or her performance by product, manufacturer and account to see which products and/or manufacturers are generating the best results. This helps the salespeople pinpoint hot products across their base that they can then cross sell to other accounts. The Insight viewer and data can also be saved on a user's PC for offline viewing.

STRENGTHS: Databeacon offers excellent data delivery for standard end users and multiple report view capability with ease of use. The interactive charts and graphs make the data very accessible and understandable. The ability to work on a Linux platform offers a dramatic cost savings. The ability to see the comparative performance report creates healthy competition among the sales force and provides visibility to trends and other opportunities. Saving interactive reports on their laptops and taking them on the road to share with manufacturers and customers allows the Byram sales team to share product performance information that educates both product suppliers and buyers. Salespeople and senior managers can look at the data from six months ago or yesterday without involving IT to create new reports.

WEAKNESSES: It is difficult to view large reports because the user must click and drag to see what is offscreen versus simply scrolling with their mouse. Limited built-in formula capability is addressed by the ability to export to Excel. It should be easier to cut down the data by identifying a date range to get to the desired sales detail.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Databeacon met our needs for low relative cost and value proposition, combined with a reseller recommendation and demonstrated success in other healthcare deployments. Also, we required the ability to quickly demo our data with the product during evaluation.

DELIVERABLES: The product offers detailed sales analysis, gross margin/product profitability, senior management reporting and customer retention reporting.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Databeacon provided excellent post-installation support in spite of some initial deployment challenges. Because this is not out-of-the-box, plug-in software, Databeacon training (especially the advanced Day 4 training course) is recommended.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand; but, again, Databeacon training is recommended for cube development and to maximize the product's capabilities.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Data Analysis and Query & Reporting.

Richard M. Entrup, CIO of Byram.

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