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Benefits of business intelligence come in saving lives for one organization

Business intelligence may save lives at the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Editor's note: The original version of this story has been retracted by the customer.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is in the nascent stages of its Business Objects implementation.

The organization chose the business intelligence (BI) software because of its presentation capabilities. UNOS is still evaluating and doing some testing of the Business Objects software, and hasn't rolled the tools out into production yet, according to its IT director Blaine Hess.

"Our primary goal is to see whether BI allows us to present information in different ways than we did before," Hess said. "It may be able to allow (users) to find a pattern they didn't see, but there is a fair amount of information that is already being seen."

UNOS manages the country's Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, through which data on potential recipients is collected to facilitate matches. They're hoping to use Business Objects in that process, Hess said.

Business Objects was purchased as a way to help the organization out in the financial arena and to find different ways of looking at data, he said.

Many employees already have access to reports through SAS software, a Business Objects competitor in the BI marketplace.

"It appeared easier to produce some of the specialized dashboards through Business Objects than SAS," Hess said. "But I'm not sure we can say that yet."

Hess said there are no plans at this time to roll out Business Objects software across the organization.

There was a two- to three-week period during which UNOS had rolled out a dashboard into production, but that had to be pulled back because some of the end-users couldn't get into it properly, Hess said.

"We're not even through the test stage of these tools," Hess said.

UNOS is using mostly Web Intelligence, Data Integrator and xCelsius.

Their primary goal is to see whether BI allows them to see information in different ways than before.

One of the best parts of the project was the BI work group established to help business and IT come together on the project and develop requirements, according to Andrea McLester, business intelligence manager. A member of the business end is also working with the development team, she said.

It's one of the most important takeaways from their BI project.

"Involve your business users," McLester said. "That made all the difference in the world."

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