AT A GLANCE
- Better scalability when adding new practices
- Improved collaboration and reporting processes
- Reduce compute costs
- Microsoft Azure cloud
- WhereScape RED data warehouse automation tool
- NOW Consulting ‘Datability’ project team
- Unlimited on-demand scalability
- Advanced analytics, machine learning and AI possibilities opening on Azure
- Improved profitability through significant savings on data warehouse costs
- Productivity gains in the analytics team
FOR MORE INFORMATION
There’s a new concept emerging in the quest to extract meaningful information from the data that companies accumulate in the course of doing business.
‘Datability’ is the ability to extract powerful insights from data and is comprised of four pillars of Buildability, Scalability, Possibility and Profitability – and Abano Healthcare Group, comprising Lumino the Dentists (New Zealand) and Maven Dental Group (Australia), is putting Datability to work in its organisation by moving its data warehouse to the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Two further components have proven vital in bringing Datability to life for the group: specialist expertise from NOW Consulting, and the WhereScape RED data warehouse automation tool.
The results, says Peter Radich, CIO of Abano Healthcare, are startling: “We’re saving some real dollars, our work is being done faster and it is a lot easier for everybody to collaborate.”
Listed on the NZX, Abano is a key player in the $11 billion trans-Tasman dental market. The company employs around 2,300 people across more than 230 dental practices, some 125 of which are in New Zealand under Lumino.
Radich says the value of information to Lumino and Maven is clear: “The more data we can collect on our customers’ behaviours, preferences and buying habits, the more important it is,” he explains.
“Better data means we can anticipate and meet their oral hygiene needs and deliver the right services in the right locations to the right customers.”
“We can also use data to more efficiently run our practices, improve utilisation of dentists’ time and help identify opportunities for training and upskilling our staff.”
The ‘data driven’ approach is not new to the company, which started out in 2002 with Abano’s initial acquisition of Geddes Dentists in Auckland. However, working with on-premise data across an organisation which, through acquisition, rapidly grew to be widely distributed across the A/NZ region, soon presented its challenges.
“We’re making real savings and that’s just the initial upgrade; we haven’t even really done optimisation yet.”
“[Our focus on Datability] goes back a couple of years; initially, we used private operators across Australian and New Zealand but there were limitations [scaling with acquisitions] and it was taking quite a bit of time which was frustrating. We also wanted to play with new technology like Power BI for example – and it was getting expensive as well.”
The initial answer to addressing Abano’s Datability ambitions was to bring in a data specialist. “We got NOW Consulting involved to help us gain new expertise,” confirms Radich.
The recommendations were clear: migrate to the Microsoft Azure cloud and use the WhereScape RED data warehouse automation tool to manage the migration.
Lumino and Maven both took the advice. “The project went really well – happened over a weekend – Friday we switched everything off in the old environment, Monday, we were live.”
In fact, from inception to go-live the data warehouse migration to Azure took the team at NOW Consulting just 30 days for each brand. It was proof of the Buildability aspect, with NOW’s specialist skills combined with WhereScape RED accelerating the project.
Working with data in the cloud has truly enabled Datability, says Radich. “Being in the cloud is a game changer for us; we’re ahead of the pack. And it was a logical choice to purchase WhereScape RED, which has proved itself invaluable.”
That’s because WhereScape RED largely automates the creation of code, documentation and structures for a data warehouse on the Azure cloud. In fact, it eliminates up to 95 percent of manual coding.
While some of the results of the Datability exercise are commercially sensitive, Radich nevertheless hints at the value which is being created for an organisation with ambitions it is steadily fulfilling.
“We wouldn’t be able to achieve the numbers and growth we do achieve [without it],” he says.
It is, he confirms, largely about anticipating and then accurately meeting and exceeding customer expectations to consistently create a positive customer experience.
The internal benefits are also significant, with customised dashboards for practices and dentists measuring performance against benchmarks and delivering real, usable data to improve the business.
That’s one aspect of the advantages gained by the group. Another is the comparison it can now make in moving from dedicated infrastructure onto public cloud. And that comparison is measured in dollars. “By moving to Azure we’re making real savings and that’s just the initial upgrade; we haven’t even really done optimisation yet,” Radich reveals.
More than that, automation and modern tooling have allowed Abano’s skilled BI team to focus on innovation, not data administration. “It’s freed up the three people who do the analytics at Lumino maybe a week’s worth per month, so now, they are spending that time analysing data [and] identifying who has that propensity to buy,” Radich explains.
He says engaging with a company with a sole focus on data has proven invaluable. “The relationship with NOW Consulting has been really strong. We really do work with them as a trusted partner. And they’ve brought to the party some new ideas and new technologies before we’ve asked.”
And that’s what Datability is all about.
Peter Radich from Abano Healthcare will be speaking at the Datability breakfast in Auckland on 01 Nov. Register now to hear his full story.