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Cerner Corporation: The Importance of a Single Source of Truth

Headshot of article author Lauren Faber

“We are going in the direction of retiring Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) reporting, our choice is to replace it with Power BI.” -David Dvorak: Lead Technology Architect

Cerner is an IT company that delivers healthcare software to customers around the world. Maintaining accurate, reliable, and current systems information is central to delivering value to its more than 27,500 contracted provider facilities worldwide.

About three years ago, Cerner faced a breaking-point with many of the challenges large organizations commonly struggle to solve: critical business operations like hardware asset management, capacity management, and vulnerability management didn’t have a single source of truth.

Cerner knew it wanted to adopt cloud solutions to take advantage of the low-cost and high- automation benefits. Leaders at Cerner wanted employees to spend time developing solutions, writing code, and innovating rather than performing tasks that could be done through the cloud.

A single source of truth

Cerner built Beacon, a system that integrates data analysis, storage, and security to create a single source of truth and reduce time data fidelity verification. Cerner chose Power BI as its front-end data visualization technology because it naturally integrates with Data Lake Storage, Azure SQL Database, and Apache Spark. While the connection points were simple and complete, Power BI also offered features that were responsive and reactive to consumers diving deeper into Beacon data. Because of Power BI drill through capabilities, employees can now get answers to questions quickly without waiting for additional reports. Offers such as Q&A also make data consumption easier for less technical consumers.

When selecting a data visualization tool, the Beacon team discovered that Power BI was the only option that had a connector to allow consumers to perform more complex queries with data directly from the data lake. Therefore, Power BI is used when data is taken directly from Data Lake Storage, but also as the primary tool for consumers who are using data from SQL Database. Power BI is the primary tool because of its ease of connection to data sources and its advanced visualization capabilities.

Read the case study for more on Cerner’s Beacon system.