Whether used to evaluate performance in an enterprise, against competitors, or across industries, benchmarking can be invaluable for highlighting competitive advantages and uncovering gaps in processes. But obtaining a report can be a labor-intensive process involving outside consultants and time-consuming data manipulation.
As one of the largest integrated not-for-profit healthcare providers in the US, serving more than 10 million members across 7 regions, Kaiser Permanente has a very real need for apples-to-apples comparisons that shed light on performance and best practices. According to a case study published by the TBM Council, the IT team at Kaiser uses a model in its TBM system to automate the benchmarking process. This allows the team to leverage an agnostic industry taxonomy and best practices to more easily compare infrastructure costs to other IT organizations like theirs and better evaluate the efficiency of their operations.
Interestingly, benchmarking has become an important tool not only for comparison against other companies in the healthcare industry but also between regions and business units within the enterprise. For example, the case study illustrates that by adding their own calculations through the healthcare lens of cost per member, the Kaiser team has leveled comparisons to show unique differences between regions that have hospitals and those that don't. Analysis of this type of data drives questions about costs and utilization the IT team might not previously have known to ask. As TBM consultant Adi Israel explains, “I had wanted to add cost-per-member to our model ever since I joined Kaiser Permanente. I was finally able to get access to a repeatable source for membership quantities that I could automate. Once I had it, it took me less than an hour to add the data, configure the model and add it to our reports.”
Perhaps the most interesting benefit cited in the study is the impact the model has on executive communications. When Kaiser’s IT team automated benchmarking, they were able to better describe efforts to address inefficiencies, which changed their conversations with their CFO.
“Our infrastructure benchmarking was very influential with our CFO. We were able to show her that the cost of running our infrastructure is in line with the industry and that we were benchmarking ourselves against the top quartile. In many areas, we were doing well and in other areas, we could do better. But we had a plan on how to improve in those areas. And that changed the discussion with the CFO from, ‘We're just spending money,’ to, ‘We really are managing what we're doing.’”
- Steve Adams, Executive Director of IT Finance at Kaiser Permanente
Read the entire Kaiser Permanente TBM Awards case study to learn more about how Kaiser uses TBM to manage an always-growing healthcare demand on technology.