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2007 Best Practices Award Winner: Ingenix
The consolidation of various data silos has saved the company several million dollars, and has produced ongoing cost savings, eliminated redundancies, and dramatically increased the efficiency of integrating new data sources.

Category: Enterprise Data Warehousing
Solution Sponsor: IBM Corporation

Ingenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (UHG), is a global healthcare information company founded in 1996 to develop, acquire, and integrate best-in-class healthcare information capabilities.

At the heart of all BI activity at Ingenix/UHG is the Galaxy enterprise data warehouse (DW). Galaxy is an atomic DW with transformations, integrating subject areas across various UGH platforms. Prior to Galaxy, data silos and inconsistencies across these platforms hindered processes and decisions. Ingenix focused on data availability, performance, and information quality to develop Galaxy. The result: Galaxy is now the company’s single source of truth for many applications. Technologies and techniques developed for UHG are also sold to other healthcare companies, making Ingenix both an in-house analytics and IT group and a commercial solutions provider.

A centralized program management office coordinated the transition to Galaxy from two legacy DWs and legacy systems. Requirements gathering began in 1998, and Galaxy went into production in 2001. Its database was 2.5TB, growing to 18TB today. About 50 business analysts, data modelers, DBAs and software engineers worked mostly in-house, with the exception of IBM data modeling assistance.

The consolidation saved the company several million dollars, and has produced ongoing cost savings, eliminated redundancies, and dramatically increased the efficiency of integrating new data sources. Information quality is the foremost objective for Galaxy. Ingenix has three information quality goals:
• Ensure the company meets business-defined quality standards and goals. Galaxy “must always be valid” to a Six Sigma level of verifiable quality.
• Monitor information quality continuously to save operational maintenance costs.
• Continuously improve Galaxy’s overall quality to ensure UHG’s overall health.

Feeding Galaxy are 350 source input files from more than 25 distinct internal and external sources. Galaxy’s industry-differentiating characteristic is its value-added transformations, which derive information from multiple sources—the heart and soul of the information quality management program. These value-added transformations enable difficult processes, such as finding patients to invite to drug trials. Galaxy’s value to this process is in its completeness and breadth, its quantity of information, and its trustworthiness.

Galaxy’s success is due to Ingenix and UHG’s comprehensive and continuous focus on information quality, their organizational commitment to Galaxy across all aspects of the business, and their built-in industry-differentiating complex value-added transformations.