NHS Scotland has selected Advanced's business analytics application in a bid to significantly reduce financial reporting times.
The four-year contract is worth £360,000 and will see Advanced deliver the IBM PureData-based application by August 2016.
NHS Scotland has been using Advanced's eFinancials to manage its general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and procurement/stock activities across all of its 22 health boards for three years. Some of the individual boards have been using the system since its launch in the 1990s.
The partnership with Advanced led to NHS Scotland seeking advice from the software provider on business analytics processes.
Advanced built a solution using IBM's PureData technology to provide analysts and accountants with access to real-time data without affecting the live operational database. The application integrates eFinancials, which has around 1,500 regular users, with business intelligence solution Business Objects.
Colin White, national finance systems manager at NHS Scotland, explained that the organisation's database is constantly growing and required a quicker and more efficient reporting solution.
"We explored various ways of doing this, such as designing a datamart that only contained the data needed for reporting, but this would not provide access to real-time data," he said.
"We also looked at pointing our reports at a mirror image [disaster recovery] database which would at least divert the reporting away from our operational database, but this would not provide the necessary level of improved performance that we were looking for. It wasn't until we approached Advanced that we identified a solution to this issue."
White said that NHS Scotland tested the new approach rigorously using Advanced's business analytics application.
"We found that we could generate reports, using any parameters we wanted, significantly quicker. Some reports generated results in seconds rather than hours. Not only that, but the data is being replicated in real time so it is fully up-to-date, with data retrieval time improvements of around 50 to 500 times faster," he said.
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