End-to-end reporting, analysis, planning and simulation: the KOS Group chooses Board to increase its level of quality and service for health and personal care
Leader in the healthcare sector and in advanced technology applied to medicine
KOS is a private group that operates in the health and personal care sector, a field that is undergoing major and sustained changes. Its goal is to be a leading innovator and provider of personalized, high-quality services, including in tandem with public health authorities.
Established in 2002 as a typical start-up business, in the following years the group has become a leader in its field — as well as Italy’s number-one private nursing home operator — with a turnover in excess of 450 million euros. Around 7,000 people work with the group, including over 5,000 employees. Operating throughout Italy, especially in the northern and central regions, as well as in the UK and India, KOS manages a total of over 7,100 beds, 77 facilities (including two hospitals), 22 outpatient centers and 30 service outlets for technological solutions that innovate and optimize health systems.
Specifically, KOS is active in the following areas: social health and residential care for chronic illnesses, rehabilitation and mental health services, advanced technology applied to medicine and acute care medicine. To effectively provide services in these areas, the KOS Group operates through dedicated brands:
- Anni Azzurri, which is involved in the treatment and care of elderly patients through a multi-regional network of high-quality residential services that are not available as home care, and covers around 5,000 beds
- Santo Stefano, which manages around 1,500 beds, is dedicated to functional rehabilitation for problems stemming from various diseases, including severe post-coma brain injuries
- Medipass, the brand through which the KOS Group offers integrated, high-tech healthcare services including diagnosis and therapy, comprehensive management of technology parks and outsourcing of outpatient diagnosis
Business Challenges and Selection Process
Autonomy and flexibility: Board as the decision-making platform that unifies Business Intelligence and Performance Management
Operating from around 120 production sites distributed throughout many different geographic areas, KOS is a business with a very fragmented structure, whose growth is partly built on the acquisition of facilities that the management has had to integrate gradually into the group. Consequently, there was an overwhelming need to ensure stringent control of all processes for each facility within the group, so as to maintain long-term compliance with the fundamental principles of KOS, both from the standpoints of efficiency and quality and with regards the fulfillment of customer needs and ethical principles.
Each production site was tied to its own system of reporting and management commentary, built on Excel spreadsheets with individual logics supported by databases and management software (ERP, as well as HR solutions) that were separate from each other. To more effectively guide value creation inside and outside the group and ensure the increasing quality of the supplied services, the management needed to make decisions with greater awareness and speed, based on reliable, validated information supplied in a timely manner. Within this context, planning and management control have proven increasingly key functions that support the management and directors in their strategic choices. In other words, there was a need to collect a set of fragmented data from different sources within a single structured environment, to gain deep insights and carry out continuous benchmarking (both general and for each production site) that would steer the group's decision-making processes towards growth and efficiency.
The choice of Board as the unified BI and CPM platform was, therefore, a logical consequence of the KOS Group’s business needs.
“In particular,” said Giuseppe Motta, Director of Planning & Management Control, “the two main characteristics that led KOS to opt for Board were the autonomy that the software would offer us, especially regarding the planning and control department, together with the solution’s tremendous flexibility. In fact, with regard to autonomy, the planning and management control staff were able to define the reporting structures in detail, aligning them across the entire group. In particular, Board’s flexibility has enabled KOS to design tailored reports and workflows based precisely on the ideas of the management and directors, without needing to know specific programming languages,” since Board is a platform that allows applications to be created without having to write code.
Board helps the KOS Group to integrate displaced facilities and standardize diverse logics
Through cooperation between Board Italia and its partner Bios Management, and with the support of the internal IT department of KOS, the project initially entailed balancing and aligning the methods of the various people involved, thus ensuring the rapid success of the project activities and their compliance with predefined objectives, including intermediate objectives. The scalability of Board has permitted the solution to be extended easily over time, increasing the number of users from 10 to over 130.
“We started by evaluating the state of existing reporting activities. We then began to use Board in management and operational reports, gradually extending it to other reporting areas until it eventually covered all our reporting needs. We then moved on to building applications for budgeting, planning and forecasting, all on the same platform. Finally, we were able to leverage Board’s vast potential in simulating different scenarios. The solution has supported KOS throughout a period of growth that is still ongoing, fundamentally improving the activities of the Planning & Control department, as well as other critical business departments,” said Mr Motta.
"We started out with a very diverse, fragmented situation consisting of facilities that were distant from one another, both geographically and in terms of the logic they used. Board has made everything much more orderly, because it has allowed us to carry out analysis, planning and simulations within a single environment that has a single consistent logic, based on common algorithms. This lets us manage and compare data in the same way for the whole group. The weekly or monthly report that ends up on the Managing Director’s desk is formulated with the same methods as the report used by the director of each health facility or hospital.”
Collaborating with Board Italia and the Bios Management partner has been fundamental to KOS, not only during the initial deployment stage, but also in subsequent upgrade projects.
“The key factor for the success of the projects was predominantly the tailor-made development characteristic, in other words, the notion of tailored applications,” underlined Mr Motta. “I would definitely recommend Board to other companies and organisations. What’s more, other organizations have visited us to closely understand our experience with Board. If an organization has clear ideas about what it wants to do, where it’s going and in what time frame, then deploying it will certainly be a success,” suggested Mr Motta.
Full awareness and shared information assets thanks to Board
“Before using Board, we worked directly on the various operating systems and then aligned the information using Access and Excel. This procedure and other limitations made it increasingly difficult for us to integrate newly acquired facilities. With Board, however, we were able to take the complete set of reports that we had already defined for the group and apply it to the new acquisitions,” affirmed Mr Motta.
This means both better accessibility of information, which is certified and structured according to unique algorithms, and the ability to share information assets with all of the group’s relevant personnel: from the operational heads of the facilities, to the departmental managers, right up to the Managing Director.
“The deployment of Board has given all levels of the organisation a better and more thorough knowledge of the market and the sectors in which we operate. The group’s information assets have actually increased, becoming a valuable resource for everyone, including in terms of awareness of the business itself,” underlined Mr Motta.
KOS currently has around 130 users working on Board, including around 50 in the areas of administration, finance and control, and the remainder in various departments, from marketing to internal auditing. In addition, budgeting is not limited to economic aspects, but also encompasses property and financial aspects.
“It’s an end-to-end budget that is also more versatile thanks to Board’s complete integration with the Microsoft Office environment (especially Excel),” added Giuseppe. “In addition to formulating reports based on homogeneous workflows, the use of Board at full capacity has allowed us to benefit from increasingly advanced analytics, multi-scenario simulations and continuous cost benchmarking, giving us full control of both the big picture and each individual facility within the group."
Another application of Board that has brought great benefits and improvements to KOS is the Balanced Scorecard, which combines data from different management systems, such as budgetary data for economic and financial tasks to personnel management data for the human resources department:
“Being a group with a workforce in excess of 5,000 employees, it is vital for us to make decisions based on human resource KPIs. Thanks to Board, we are equipped with a screen that includes various dashboards displaying around a dozen indicators, which are designed to monitor and guide the objectives of the individual directors and the operational units scattered throughout the territory,” affirmed Mr Motta.
By generating benefits within the group, Board has created added value for customers and partners of KOS. It provides reliable, validated data in a timely manner, allowing the management of KOS to make informed decisions that improve the quality and standard of services provided:
“Thanks to Board, we have, for example, introduced benchmarks to constantly measure and compare a number of processes in our various rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, in order to derive a summary of best practices and disseminate them to all of the group’s facilities,” concluded Mr Motta.