ASPE Training Allscripts Dental Case Study

Allscripts BA Academy: A Cross-Functional BA Perspective

Jose Biggiotorres is an expert Business Analyst working on multiple initiatives at Allscripts. He lends his expertise to different departments, and specializes in financial issues. We spoke to him about the importance of well-trained business analysts in an enterprise environment.

jose-expert-analystWhen we spoke with Jose, he was just finishing up tenure as an expert BA in charge of the financial side of Allscripts’ Homecare solutions product line. He dealt with the accounting side of analysis on products, as well as many aspects of statistical analysis and data. He was preparing to transition to a product line at Allscripts dealing exclusively with finance and accounting related healthcare products.

Overcoming Professional and Enterprise Obstacles

Despite being a business analyst for many years, Jose had never received formal BA training. In fact, like many of the business analysts ASPE trains, it was only recently that they even began calling their work “business analysis.” They had been called product developers, or data analysts, or user experience designers. Of course, all these roles are encompassed by the BA profession, and they all have a common body of knowledge to draw from in performing the wider role of a BA.

One of the major obstacles Jose faced on a daily basis was the fact that the offshore software engineers he worked with simply did not understand the healthcare landscape in the United States. Therefore, they could not really visualize the end user of Allscripts’ products. The BA training gave Jose hard techniques for developing end user personas and ways to communicate holistic user needs that could transcend even the cultural and distance barriers of his different business units.

Jose described another pain point encountered by his teams on a past project before the BA Academy: the need to chart additional business processes and documentation toward the end of projects. This need added dramatically to the communication burden of the teams, just when they needed to be able to focus on really pushing toward the conclusion of the project. Jose told us he learned a variety of tools and techniques during the BA Academy that would have allowed them to take care of much of this closer to the beginning, which would have yielded obvious quality and delivery speed advantages.

Process Skills and People Skills

Even though improvements in these results can be quantified – i.e. time reduced to delivery, defect rate reductions, or revenue increases tied to a product line – Jose told us that many of the tools used to achieve them have more to do with people than numbers. There are certainly a host of business analysis tools that are very analytical…charts, decomposition techniques, modeling, etc. But of equal importance are the tools that help integrate the members of a team with the processes used to build the project – like building the personas Jose described. If Allscripts can appropriately understand their users, they can understand their customers. However, those insights don’t get carried over to the software development teams without proper business analysis methods. The training gave Jose and his team tools for connecting factors like end user demographics and technology skill level to the developers working with the code. As with many of the BAs we speak to, user story techniques played a critical role. Furthermore, simply having uniform methods for defining those user stories, for diagramming and modeling both personas and processes, can be transformative. Jose told us that beginning to use these tools has made a big difference to everyone on the team understanding their jobs – not just as individuals, but as a unified team.

The “Virtual Training” Experience for Remote Teams

Jose was an important training customer because he was part of a group that attended the “virtual” ASPE classes. At the time of his training, he worked in the Ukraine, where Allscripts had a number of development teams. As part of the enterprise training solution ASPE delivered, it was important to train both the remote BA staff as well as the in-person classroom training delivered at Allscripts headquarters.  

Just as many customers are, Jose was skeptical at first about attending training in a virtual environment which relies so heavily upon peer interaction and group exercises. But he told us that by the end of his first class, he was a believer. He told us that the customized Webex classroom environment did not hamper his ability to get to know colleagues, to exchange ideas and practices, and to collaborate on group work as they got to know each other. He interacted and formed relationships with Allscripts colleagues he had never met. In Jose’s words, “You would think you want to do this type of training in person. But the way it was handled and presented, it was as if we were in the same room. The experience was fantastic.” In fact, despite beginning as a skeptic, Jose was very specific about that fact that he would like his future training to be virtual as well.

Strategic Benefit and Proficient Enterprise BA Teams

The last point Jose left us with was less about any specific expertise taught in class, and more about the strategic value of this type of training to the enterprise. Training like this is not necessarily cheap, but his perspective echoed several of his colleagues:

“You need to invest in your human assets and have them grow in order to achieve your business goals. How many times have we heard that [a product team] was not able to finish by the date that we wanted to announce, so we’re going to have to extend it?

Well, the BAs are doing a good job. The project starts with the BA work. But if we do not have the tools to be able to achieve that design in a timely fashion and in a way that everybody will understand, then the business goal is not going to be achieved. So, you may have a group of BAs that are doing a fantastic job, but are they doing it to the level that the business needs? The investment in time and money to be able to bring that group of BAs to that next level is the best investment a company can make to ensure the company’s goals are met. If you do not, sales might not be as high. Client satisfaction may not be as good.”

It would be difficult to sum it up much better. In Jose’s case, he is an expert business analyst traveling across project environments and locations. His job role contributes to multiple product lines according to need. Those contributions are closely tied to product success and profitability.

Click a section to explore the Allscripts Business Analysis Training Program:

  • Read an Executive Summary
    Get a high-level snapshot of the challenges Allscripts faced with their business analysis practices and how enterprise training helped overcome them.

  • Debbie: Senior Manager
    Debbie is a senior manager responsible for user experience on the HomeCare product line at Allscripts. She manages a team of business analysts who work together on product development.

  • Donna: Clinical Analyst
    Donna is a healthcare practitioner who lends clinical expertise to BA activities. She was new to the profession of Business Analysis until participating in the BA Academy.

  • Ken: Practicing Business Analyst
    Ken works on EHR products, researches regulatory requirements, and coordinates software solutions.

This case study is a deep dive into the business analysis training solution ASPE built for Allscripts, which they refer to as the “BA Academy”. Our software and business analysis experts helped them perform organizational process assessments. We also delivered many granular personal assessments for their teams. Once process gaps and skills gaps were pinpointed, a training program was built and delivered that left them with fully functioning business analysis teams. Key departments and leaders also earned industry-standard certifications that guaranteed the most current, up to date skills in this important and constantly evolving software development role.