Clifford Hallam Healthcare (CH2) is Australia’s largest healthcare products distributor serving hospitals, Primary Care providers, and Aged and Community Care customers. It joins 400 supplies with 1,300 hospitals and medical centres nationally, as well as delivering to 45,000 community customers.
The Business Challenge
As a wholesale distributor, CH2 helps maximise efficiency by providing suppliers with greater visibility into their supply chains. CH2 developed the CH2 Gateway, an online portal designed to give suppliers direct access to sales and inventory data. The CH2 Gateway had replaced manually-generated reports. However, the performance of the of the portal was sluggish and slow.
CH2’s data volume was impacting its ability to deliver timely information. Specifically, CH2 was unable to archive its data warehouse tables, which meant that its portal was referencing a database with over six years of information – far more than was required by suppliers.
CH2’s Chief Information Officer, Ged Halstead, recognised that rectifying the archiving problem was the key to solving CH2’s challenges, and given the sheer volume of data in their data warehouse, he also knew this required the expertise of a data management specialist.
CH2 were introduced to EC Integrators (ECI), an IBM Premium Business Partner with a proven track record in information management and data archiving. The ECI team began by reviewing CH2’s data warehouse to pinpoint the cause of the archiving issues, soon attributed to the removal of a temporary clone of the production database used for testing, which had resulted in the loss of archiving policies and rules.
After diagnosing the problem, the team then worked with CH2 to set the performance expectations for the portal and its reporting functionality. To deliver to these, they agreed on a data retention policy. Only after these key elements were agreed did ECI recommend a solution. This solution entailed re-architecting and upgrading of CH2’s archiving solution – Infosphere® Optim™ Data Growth Solution.
ECI first tested this solution on CH2’s biggest table, to assess its effectiveness. The test confirmed that archiving was possible and resulted in significant improvement in database performance. ECI subsequently applied this solution to the rest of the data warehouse.
The entire process took less than two months. The project was delivered on budget and five days ahead of schedule.
The Business Results
Since re-architecting CH2’s archiving solution and trimming its dataset, ECI has helped to boost the performance of CH2’s portal dramatically. The significant reduction in response times included cutting the running time for a major supplier’s half-yearly report from 20 minutes to less than 10 seconds.
ECI’s solution has also helped to optimise the functionality of the portal. Complex requests are no longer problematic, and tasks previously thought to be impossible – such as the retrieval of purged historical data – could now be completed within a matter of minutes.
Overall, the faster portal has helped to improve operational efficiency within the business and make life easier for CH2’s staff. The portal has also been widely embraced by suppliers.
Of ECI’s service, Ged says “ECI have been a source of expertise to help and guide us from the outset. They put a program in place to make sure that we stayed on track, and that our solutions stayed optimised.”