Customer Spotlight: Boosting Camaraderie with Organizational Intelligence

Roger W. Paulsberg's picture
 By | januari 12, 2017
in accountability, benchmarking, best practices, budget, camaraderie, census mix, comparative metrics, dashboards, data management, data points, data standardization, drill down, finance officers, food services, Gerry Cohen, InfoApp, insights, intensive reporting, interactive graphs, key cost areas, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), Lutheran Life Communities, nurse-managers, operational performance, operational variables, organizational intelligence, Organizational Intelligence: How Smart Companies Use Information to Become More Competitive and Profitable, organizational performance, performance data, Rado Kotorov, raw food costs, Shipshape
januari 12, 2017

It's an honor to be featured in Rado and Gerry's recently published book: Organizational Intelligence: How Smart Companies Use Information to Become More Competitive and Profitable. I worked with the authors to develop one of the case studies in Part 2, which illustrates how Lutheran Life Communities uses analytics to boost operational performance.

As Gerry and Rado suggest in the introduction, success with organizational intelligence is directly proportionate to the degree to which you can distribute information. At Lutheran Life Communities, we created an InfoApp™ called Shipshape that extends budgetary responsibility throughout the organization. Previously, our managers were overwhelmed by intensive reporting and data management tasks. Now they can see relevant information at a glance. Comparative metrics enable benchmarking among departments and campuses, which allows managers to compare their performance to the performance of similar departments at other campuses.

Whether its managing food services costs, monitoring the census mix, or any other number of operational variables, each manager defines target performance levels and establishes budgets. The InfoApp™ displays progress through dashboards that contain interactive graphs, making it easy to see variances from stated targets. This gives us a constant readout on organizational performance across key cost areas. And it allows the people responsible for those areas to compare actual expenditures against budgets so they don't stray too far from their goals.

In addition to improving accountability and performance, this InfoApp™ delivered an unexpected benefit: boosting camaraderie. Sharing information and performance data makes everybody feel like they are part of the big picture. Since all managers can see best practices, they know what is working at each site. They can learn from each other and help each other as they assess net differences among campuses.

Another great thing about this InfoApp™ is the degree of autonomy it gives to the user community. It's easy for employees to obtain insights on their own. By transforming a large and diverse data set into actionable data points, we have allowed people to see how their portion of the business is trending, and then drill down to follow unique paths of inquiry.

Color-coded displays allow managers to assess strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas for improvement. The metrics are displayed as key performance indicators (KPIs) that keep everyone from finance officers to nurse-managers apprised of important developments within their purview (see screen shot).

Whether it's for raw food costs, caregiver hours per patient day, or any other number of variables, there is a comparison of how well each area and each campus is doing against their assumptions on a daily basis. If a department or community strays too far from its budgetary goals, a senior management colleague can step in to help. Data from all our major business areas is represented in a standardized way and much of it is updated daily. With a couple of clicks, I can go from the entire corporation to a particular department at a particular campus, then down to a particular metric, such as culinary costs per meal.

In the context of the book, Shipshape is categorized as a performance or accountability app because it extends responsibility throughout the organization. Our workers no longer have to rely on hunches: they can see what works and why – department-to-department and campus-to-campus – every day. That’s organizational intelligence.