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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
February 21, 2004

Sometimes there are huge gaps in expectations of where you should be with in the user communty and where you actually are in the stage of business maturity.

First Consulting Group has outlined the Stages of Internet Business Maturity.

<--- Snipped from First Report --->
Internet Business Maturity

These stages provide a clear and concise way to strategically move from the publish, interacting stages to actually being able to transact, integrate, and transform the business main systems to a web environment. The main idea is that you need to know when to jump, and where you want to land. Also to establish a set of guidelines to appraise new endeavors. The guidelines recommended in the article are the five rights.

<--- Snipped from First Report --->

  • Right Process: Not all processes need to be accessible via the Web. High- volume transactions that require minimal health plan analyst intervention are most successful. The prioritization of processes is key to maximizing the benefits for both the end-user and the plan.
    Examples of high-value processes to tackle include membership registration,
    PCP selection, claims tracking, and claims submission.

  • Right Customers: For the selected process, design must address several “rights” about the customer such as what role they play in the business environment on their end, the communication modes that are feasible (are all physician office billing specialists online?), and how the function can be shaped to fit into the customer’s routine workflow. Truly understanding the customer to be sure that if we build it, they will come!

  • Right Time: Not all transactions need to be completed in real time. Some functions such as requests for information can be emailed back to the end-user. Others require real-time responses reflecting all of the business logic in the legacy application, with immediate updates to the database.

  • Right Technology: Matching the timing, selected processes and end-user needs will affect the technology choices for development and integration tools. Technology component choices for the project also need to be examined in the context of the entire integration plan to avoid duplication and/or replacement as the organization moves further towards the desired level of Web to legacy integration. For example, buying advanced Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) functionality for one project can make sense if it is used to support more complex technology requirements for another project. This type of planning becomes key, for example, as organizations are moving towards HIPAA compliance, where the initial EAI investment may focus only on transaction compliance. However, the same EAI infrastructure can be leveraged for other Web-based business transactions outside the scope of the HIPAA regulations.

  • Right Outcome: Setting objectives and understanding the actual impact of the solution on process and people is a critical step to attaining real value. Realistic expectations should be identified and agreed upon with all of the involved business units. Once the solution is online, the outcomes should be measured and compared with expectations. Adjustments to process and/or technology are often needed to attain desired benefits. Conversely, unexpected benefits may be uncovered in post-implementation monitoring. An added plus that is worth knowing!

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