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Mount Sinai’s Enterprise Data Blueprint for Success

Based out of New York City, Mount Sinai is an academic medical center with several hospitals, a medical school, and a substantial research center, employing close to 50,000 professionals. Mount Sinai has pivoted its processes — undergoing a transformation to become more data-driven to create more holistic methods which enable lasting results and life-long, positive impacts in patients’ lives. At the core of this transformation? Dataiku.
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An Uncharted Challenge and Opportunity Ahead 

The pandemic presented a set of new challenges and problems to address in uncharted territory, and the urgency of providing new solutions supported by data intensified. The first step for Mount Sinai was to identify areas for improvement, account for possible risks, and navigate potential revenue changes by turning to the analytics team. The problem was that a high-performing analytics and data strategy was yet to exist at Mount Sinai. 

So, to begin, Mount Sinai identified three main areas for requisite changes: 

  • Data platform
  • Literacy and upskilling initiatives
  • Analytics as a service 

Unique Needs Demand a Robust Data Platform 

Ultimately, Dataiku emerged as the clear choice for Mount Sinai as their foundational, core data platform from which to democratize data. 

Mount Sinai was looking to provide data access to users of varying technical capabilities, across numerous touchpoints of the organization while maintaining control and quality. The governance capabilities of Dataiku were a key determinant factor in Mount Sinai’s platform choice. The platform is the springboard that has allowed Mount Sinai to source, enrich, model, and govern data effectively and efficiently throughout entire project lifecycles. 

“I can't say enough about data governance. Data quality is absolutely the most important part of all of this. So, you have all this technology you invest in. You build this great process. But if you don't invest in producing high-quality data throughout the end-to-end process, then, at the end of the day, you're just sort of producing wasted value.” Michael Berger Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Mount Sinai

Upskilling Talent Along the Touchpoints

To achieve their transformation goals, Mount Sinai has realized that curating capable talent is an effort that has to continue well after hiring. Hiring the right people matters, but so does the commitment to invest in the upskilling of new as well as existing talent.

Mount Sinai noticed that professionals rarely used data to inform their decisions but actually instead used the insights as a checkpoint for already fleshed-out processes, inhibiting innovation. Utilizing data as an intrinsic driver for decision making rather than as a decision-confirmation tool requires more advanced levels of data literacy.

For this reason, Mount Sinai has now launched a sophisticated data literacy program to upskill thousands of decision makers, across all different levels of the organization, who interact with data on a daily basis. These professionals learn how to articulate key analytics, translating data insights into actionable points for valuable change and better-informed decisions, starting at stage one.

“Tools like Dataiku are huge accelerants. They can take somebody who maybe has some light coding experience and it gives them a platform which allows them to spend most of their time learning the domain. And that's really where the value is.” Michael Berger Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Mount Sinai

Spreading the Analytics Love: Analytics as a Service  

Part center of excellence, part consultants, part centralized services — the centralized data and analytics group at Mount Sinai can be whatever the business units (from patient care to supply chain management to human resources and more) need them to be. This way, they can provide value no matter the analytics maturity level of the particular business unit at hand.

For example, a business unit with less analytics maturity might leverage the centralized team for more full-fledged analytics as a service, partnering with them to scope out their project and determine what kinds of solutions are available. However, others might simply leverage the infrastructure of that centralized team as a “data front door” to help address data quality, but they have the resources to self-serve and work on analytics projects on their own.

“We're building essentially a data front door, so you can come in, you can see our catalog. Essentially all the analytics that we've built — Tableau dashboards, reports, machine learning models, here's an entire inventory with some metadata, maybe some rankings and feedback about which is being used and how people like it to try to allow people to sort of self-serve.” Michael Berger Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Mount Sinai

Building Prowess for an Everyday Evolution  

Moving from a traditional approach to a data-driven culture presents a new set of challenges, and it calls for skills, particularly in the area of adept communication. Getting everyone on the same page is a paramount part of the process that Mount Sinai had to undergo. It’s easy to narrate the flashy high-value, high-level use cases, but many traditionally minded executives are wary of the feasibility of these instances. Being able to articulate how the diffusion of data into everyday processes generates countless revenue-generating opportunities is the way that data’s value becomes evident. 

Not everything is glamorous, and Mount Sinai actually found that breaking down the basics and nitty-gritty is where it was easy to show exactly how the inherent value and power of data remedy the cost of investment — the proof of profitability that hesitant adopters need. 

This is where Dataiku’s concept of Everyday AI has candidly inspired the transformation at Mount Sinai. It’s through the integration of Dataiku into daily decisions that ultimately the analytics team has been able to show a change in core business problems and, as a result, a positive, lasting influence in patient care with life-long solutions. 

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