A large dental service organization adopts sophisticated cloud-based reporting to boost financial performance.
Although many organizations now push the boundaries on big data and analytics, basic business reporting remains a key function and there's no indication that this will change anytime soon. At Aspen Dental Management (ADMI), which manages 535 independently owned practices in 33 states, advanced reporting capabilities are critical to success. "There is a need to make financial and other data available to our user base," explained Chris Duffy, manager of financial reporting.
In the past, the DeWitt, N.Y.-based dental service organization (DSO) relied on legacy reporting tools as well as spreadsheets to manage financial analysis tasks. The systems simply couldn't keep up with current needs. "An older tool was clunky and offered limited functionality. It did not deliver the level of transactional detail or analysis necessary to operate the business efficiently." In addition, it was difficult for users to view information in an understandable or digestible way, Duffy said.
The rapid growth of ADMI contributed to the challenge. The company currently adds more than 60 new practices a year and keeping everyone tuned into financial requirements and performance standards is crucial. "It's important to make their life as easy as possible and provide the information they need to run the office effectively," Duffy said. As a result, the company adopted a reporting solution from cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions provider Host Analytics. The system delivers more than 50 key reports that can be customized for specific information requirements.
ADMI made the decision to switch to the new reporting tool at the end of 2012. After examining a number of vendors and solutions that would work with a Great Plains General Ledger system, it opted to move forward with the host analytics tool in late 2014. The reporting solution went live in January of 2014 and the company hasn't looked back. Duffy said that reports that previously required as long as 45 minutes to generate are now available in less than 30 seconds. In addition, the information is presented in a way that is far more actionable. Templates and summary formats are built directly into the application.
"With 535 dental practices and corporate data there are a lot of ways to slice and dice reporting," Duffy pointed out. The system provides the flexibility needed to view a specific office, a region or the entire company and examine numerous factors. These might range from supply costs to P&Ls. In addition, Duffy said that the organization was also sold on the cloud-based approach, which delivers incremental updates and patches on a regular basis along with a high level of security. ADMI encountered virtually no resistance from its network of dentists ("It was such a big improvement over the previous system that people were highly receptive to it," he said). As it rolled out the solution, the company held a series of meetings and webinars to get everyone up to speed on features and functionality.
Since then, ADMI has expanded the reporting to include budgeting processes and it continues to migrate functionality into the host analytics platform.
"We have added valuable functionality and people are genuinely happy and excited about these reporting capabilities. We're able to run the business in a more agile and flexible way," he said.