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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

HealthNow Sees Data Now, Thanks to SOA

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HealthNow New York, one of the Northeast US's leading health insurance and employee benefits companies, deployed a data-services oriented architecture that has shortened the time-to-delivery of business critical data from months to days for Business Intelligence (BI) and other applications to perform pricing and risk analysis.

HealthNow's situation was similar to many other companies -- databases and data were scattered all over the place. "We have 10 major databases and applications, each of them separate, and we have something like 30,000 access databases," says Rob Meyers, HealthNow's enterprise data warehouse solution architect and manager. "We need to be more agile. "We need to be able to adjust our business in a faster fashion, so we can stay competitive."

HealthNow employed Informatica's Data Services solution -- which uses a model-driven approach and decouples applications from data -- to help build out the data services component of its SOA. With a new data services layer that pulls in information from its 10 major databases and thousands of Access databases to streamline the analysis and certification of the quality of data. The new services layer also helps with HIPAA and PHI compliance.

"One of the things we're looking for is a way to putting a level of abstraction between all of the legacy systems and the new consuming systems or the new consuming user," says Myers. "This is where we think we can have some real wins, almost immediately. If we can send consistent data to these new applications, and we can do it quickly."

With the data-services-enabled SOA, applications that once took six months to build and deploy now can rolled out "within days."

Such flexibility is critical in today's uncertain healthcare environment, he adds. "We don't know what we need to be. With healthcare reform, we don't know what we may have to be even a week from now."

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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