The Big Deal About Healthcare IT

Irfan Khan

The U.S. healthcare industry is arguably the world’s largest, most inefficient information enterprise, but interoperable EHRs may help trim up to $371 billion annually.

Among all industries, healthcare stands to benefit the most from better use of IT. For one thing, I’m aware of no other market in the world plagued with such staggering amounts of wasteful spending. According to a chart published in The Economist, in 2009 unnecessary healthcare expenditures in the U.S. alone ran between $600-800 billion dollars. Given that in 2009 U.S. healthcare spending reached$2.5 trillion, roughly one in four healthcare dollars in the United States went down the drain that year.

Source: IntelFreePress/Flickr

It’s a perfect opportunity for IT.

Looking at just one area, electronic health records (EHR), the benefits in the U.S. alone are impressive. EHRs promise to cut waste through such basic IT concepts as digitizing paper documents, eliminating the need to hunt down records in storerooms filled with overflowing file cabinets.

According to a Rand study, by implementing interoperable EHRs, savings to the nation will be between $141 to $371 billion annually. The key word there is interoperable. International standards bodies, such as HL7, are working on a layered approach to EHRs along the lines of the exceptionally successful International Standards Organization seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection networking model. In its annual report, HL7 outlines its progress, such as certification of health professionals around the globe.

On a smaller scale, Michigan State University studied real-world EHR environments, where even a small practice of four doctors saved more than $60,000 a year per practitioner. The detailed MSU research showed that the four-physician practice was able to reduce its support staff by 1.4 in labor hours and also reduce costs for transcription services by $53,900 each year.

Once health records are digitized, additional gains will come from applying basic IT best practices to them. That is, identifying business processes, using automated tools where possible, then collecting and analyzing the data to identify more processes where efficiency can be improved.

But the greatest promise of IT benefit to healthcare transcends the undoubted efficiency EHRs and streamlined processes. It will be found in more precise diagnoses and better treatments with the aid of big data and predictive analytics. I will evaluate some of those possibilities in my next post.


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Marketing Strategy and Planning: How To Avoid Marketing Budget Disasters

Michael Brenner

Keep Right road sign2 300x194 Marketing Strategy and Planning: How To Avoid Marketing Budget DisastersIt’s that time of year again and I have to ask the only question that matters for those of us involved in marketing strategy and planning:

Do you know which marketing programs have worked and which ones didn’t? And what was the return on the investments you made?

I am always completely amazed at how few of us can answer this question.

And I understand this is hard. Accountability is tough on B2B Marketing organizations. We are complex beasts with many forces at work. But is this really an excuse as you lead into your 2013 budget and planning process?

Marketing leaders have to stop throwing good money after bad, based on assumptions that are never validated. Based on decisions that are never revisited. Based on politics and business cases that have no numbers in them. It’s just math! And we all know the nerds will win.

So get ready to take a new approach to planning…

What Is A Marketing Strategy?

trans Marketing Strategy and Planning: How To Avoid Marketing Budget DisastersIt’s the approach you take to achieve your marketing objectives. It should be followed by a business plan. If you want funding: write a business plan. If you want to pitch a new idea: write a business plan.

Instead, we look at last year’s budget and add or subtract a few percentage points. Or maybe we look at which Sales VP is barking the loudest lately and throw him a few bones.

Here’s an idea: Zero-based planning. Take all your old assumptions and throw them out. Fund nothing without a business plan. Question every dollar and require that good old fashion business plan. Then, make sure you re-visit the assumptions and projections so your team knows they cannot just make up the numbers.

One of my greatest work-life lessons: is to never lack a strategy. Just as important: be able to articulate it. And if you really want to get something done, have a plan for it.

Do you fund teams and projects simply because they exist. With no strategic business plan, you will quickly start producing content and campaigns no one wants and spending money that is ineffective.

How to Build a Business Case For Your Budget

Imagine a world where your strategy is aligned to your customer’s buying process and then your business outcomes. Data drives the decisions. You have a clear marketing objective. And you know how you are helping your company to get there.

In that ideal world, you don’t spend money to justify jobs. You seek to get results that prove your worth.

So don’t wait! It’s never too early to start planning for 2013!

5 Steps to Avoid a Marketing Strategy and Planning Disaster:

  • Identify your business goals and evaluate them in context with the latest marketplace realities and customer research. Start with the customer problems you can solve and take their perspective.
  • Ruthlessly evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the past. Pick winners and prune the losing tactics, techniques and processes. Shift people to where they are needed most.
  • Model the appropriate marketing mix in order to achieve a higher return on marketing spend.
  • Define an always-on, inbound marketing approach that produces more efficient and effective marketing outcomes.

What do you think? Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow the conversation on Twitter,  LinkedInFacebook or Google+.


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Dodd-Frank And The Global Culture Change

Derek Klobucher

“The impact of Dodd-Frank for foreign banks is going to be widespread and long-lasting,” according to a recent report by Boston-based research and consulting firm Celent. “The new rules would alter the trading strategies and operations of most of the large swap trading firms globally.”

U.S. firms would see less international business if those foreign banks dodge new compliance costs by curtailing their American trading activities. Celent released its report last week, as foreign regulators warned the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that its proposed new derivatives rules could brutalize global markets.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a complex beast, and its potential impact on international transactions made it the hottest topic at last week’s Sibos Osaka 2012, according to Ruth Wandhöfer of Citi’s Global Transaction Services. Yet much of Dodd-Frank is behind schedule, with the bulk of it still unwritten.

The ever-nebulous implications of such a far-reaching regulatory scheme is a source of concern for many financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Beyond the Sea

Regulation in Europe is running late too, as many of the 28 too-big-to-fail Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions (GSIFIs) will not finish their living wills — instructions for avoiding systemic calamity if the bank fails — by the year’s end, according to The Financial Times. Meanwhile, only about one-third of Basel Committee on Banking Supervision member nations are likely to enact Basel III reforms by the intended deadline in January.

“There is more to be done,” said Wayne Byres, general secretary of the Basel committee. “We have not yet completed the full set of policy reforms.”

Reforms include more than tripling capital surcharges — cash that banks keep on hand to help weather another financial crisis. Chinese banks may go even farther than Basel III rule changes, though the China Banking Regulatory Commission offers a longer transition period — up to 10 years.

Risky Business

But Dodd-Frank’s Volcker rule will likely have the greatest impact on trading systems, reining in banks’ risky behavior via special rules for large traders and market access.

“These rules require that trade transactions be monitored, certain calculations be moved closer into the trade order generation process, and more transaction level details be retained for audit reasons,” SAP’s Sinan Baskan told Markets Media. “New applications that consume detailed data will be developed and executed at trading time, and the data retention needs will add to the data warehousing capacity requirements.”

Culture Shock

Complying with those requirements will be expensive for many firms, making the Volcker rule a thorn in the industry’s side. But Dodd-Frank is even more popular in the U.S. than President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, according to a Gallup poll, diminishing the likelihood that lobbyists can seriously limit — let alone scuttle — financial reform.

“With the advancing regulatory legislation, financial institutions are beginning to recognize the weight near-real time and accurate risk infrastructure holds within the front office,” SAP’s Stuart Grant told Markets Media. “Allowing the trading desk to employ risk controls that are industry and regulatory compliant will require investments in technology, risk strategy, innovation and culture change.”

Indeed, there should be a culture change that embraces simpler financial instruments and tighter compliance. Responsible regulation would make the industry safer for everyone in the 21st Century.


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Top Ten Business Innovation Posts of the Week [December 3, 2012]

Lindsey Nelson

On the Business Innovation site, we deliver the top blogs, news  and  featured content on business innovation for professionals looking to  grow and  gain a competitive  business advantage. We cover hot topics and thought  leadership on mobile applications, cloud computing, big data, real-time analytics and the top challenges facing  executives and leaders in sales & marketing, finance, human resources and much, much more.

Each week, we curate and publish the top 10 posts of the week on  business  innovation from across our content categories. We hope you find  these articles  valuable, informative, and interesting. Enjoy!

Is The Cloud Ready For Data Warehousing?

Cloud – By Lindsey Nelson, @LindseyNNelson

You may be contemplating the cloud, and if you are thinking of how it will help advance your business intelligence analytics, here are 4 reasons how.

Mobile Marketing – The Elephant In The Room For Marketers

Sales & Marketing – By Steve Olenski, @steveolenski

This is (the fourth) year for mobile, but it’s time for marketers to talk about the elephant in the room and get on board.

Analytics Could Save Social Networks As Marketing Tool

Analytics – By Irfan Khan

For a long time, especially in the Mad Men era, marketers and advertisers alike used their guts. Now with a more informed customer, analytics is outsmarting intuition and showing how you can leverage your social media data to reach your audience.

‘Bring Your Own Network’: More Security Risks Than BYOD?

Cloud – By Eric Lai, @ericylai

Eric brings to our attention the dangers of the network, as well as a new acronym we can add to our already lengthy list.

The Most Toxic Words In Marketing

Sales & MarketingMichael Brenner, @BrennerMichael

It’s all about how you say it, and if your content isn’t good enough to be behind that registration form it won’t help you sell stuff.

The Emerging Social Enterprise: Catering to the Net Generation

Sales & Marketing – By Michael Brenner

The possibilities for success as a Social Enterprise are endless – as long as you listen to what the Net Generation is saying.

Myths In Risk Management — Exposing The Flaws Of Risk Heat Maps

Finance – By Bruce McCuaig

Bruce asks and answers how useful the frequently used heat maps actually are.

The Walmart Effect: 4 Best Practices For Dealing With That First Huge Order

Industries – By Christopher Koch, @Ckochster

So you’re a small company who sells lollipops and Wal-Mart just called – they want 200,000 lollipops by Friday morning. What do you do with that big first deal?

Forrester: Top Marks For Windows 8

Mobile – By Sebastian Nikoloff

Sebastian gives us a quick once-over on the new Windows we’ve been waiting for.

5 Things Every Business Needs

Business Innovation – By Todd Wilms, @toddmwilms

It’s not a broken record, big data is the biggest game changer for your company. With it you can reach a previously undiscovered level of engagement with your customer, especially if you have these five things.


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Blogging 101: How To Blog In 5 Easy Steps

Gerry Moran

I am fresh off of a trip from IKEA where we purchased a selection of put-it-together-yourself furniture! Many of my friends and other shoppers avoid IKEA for the simple reason of not knowing how to put their product line together!

Full disclosure, I ran IKEA’s direct, loyalty, catalog and email marketing for the US for a few years. However, it’s not as if we all received furniture assembly on-boarding training.

I embraced the simple instructions that are included with each piece of furniture to the point where I can now put together many pieces of furniture with my eyes shut!

So, how does this relate to blogging? Well, I just received a tweet from an SAP colleague who noted that he had a hard time making time to blog! I maintain that blogging is easy if you have a simple way in … a play, if you will. I have 3 of them that make it very easy to blog. I’d like to share these with you to make it easy for you to show the world the expert that you are and what is on your mind!

First, the average reader consumes content is short bursts, so we want to aim for a 2-minute read, which is typically 500 words or so. So, my blueprint for your blogging process is a 5-step, 500-word blog.

1.) Set Story up in first 100 words. You want to start to tell your story in the first 100 words. Set up your story within a story. I typically do not jump right into the “business”. Rather, I find my angle and then set up the “lesson.”

2.) Explain your idea in next 100 words. Take the time to articulate your ONE IDEA in this section. You want to explain why this blog is about.

3.) Blog relevance in next 100 words. Explain why this idea that you articulated is relevant to the reader. This is the WIIFM moment!

4.) Offer your advice in 3 or 5 bullets in penultimate 100 words. Bullets are the best way to clearly community your advice, key take-aways, etc.

5.) Recap blog in last 100 words. Take these last 100 words to recap your idea, the benefits of your advice and include the call to action!

So, blogging really is as easy assembling IKEA furniture if you follow the instructions. Once you get started, you will be able to get started and finish in no time!

Gerry Moran


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