How New York Blood Center reduced reporting time from 3-6 months to minutes
Integrated Portal Development

The Customer

A streamlined solution to an unwieldy problem. The New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the largest community-based blood collection and distribution centers in the US. Over a period of fast growth, NYBC had acquired other blood centers – and their incompatible data systems. Left with no choice but to manage disparate data manually, NYBC launched the Enterprise Data Analytics Initiative to standardize platforms and processes. As proof of concept, the initiative produced an internal web app, which was an instant success. Now a scalable version was needed that could do the same for the entire organization – fast and with a lean budget.

About the challenge

NYBC’s challenges were complex, like those of many growing businesses. It needed to simplify reporting silos, created as a legacy of mergers with other blood centers. Because these legacy systems didn’t talk to each other, with distinct methodologies and data definitions, NYBC’s staff were forced to manage critical workflows in Excel, entering data manually. They were risking both data loss and versioning errors, as they could only share files back and forth via email. The organization needed a data system that would allow staff to assign and reassign work tasks, monitor and report on tasks in progress, and automate approvals in a traceable, auditable way. One obvious solution – bringing in an industry-regulated system, implementing it from the top down – was unrealistic due to cost, the time required, and compliance hurdles.

How we helped

Our Integrated Portal Development™ (IPD) program helps organizations build microservice-based solutions incorporating independent business modules, all in a standard portal – perfect for NYBC.

We developed a new web portal with a standardized user experience (UX) across all business functions – accounting services, HR, and legal, for example.

There was a single login for the portal – no need for users to sign in multiple times.

This also allowed for standardized security measures across the organization, with a user’s role automatically determining the data they could access. Staff were granted additional security permissions via the portal administration as needed, providing the organization with the flexibility to control data access based on a dynamic set of rules.

Through the portal, data could flow seamlessly from one module to the next. This automated workflows and made critical steps like approvals and rejections visible and auditable.

We developed a series of widgets, allowing the portal to integrate with a Microsoft PowerBI server and automatically generate interactive data analytics dashboards and reporting. Users don’t need to know how to use PowerBI or an individual license to access it.

We created a data dictionary module, ensuring all disparate sources and definitions of data were integrated. The NYBC data governance team could then manage that data dictionary on an ongoing basis. Because the portal is modular, it meant we could develop one module at a time, with no disruption to NYBC’s operations. This also means that NYBC can maintain modules in parallel, and by different teams, with minimal coordination.

The Results

The portal is now a crucial part of NYBC’s success, helping staff manage the complexity of the current business, saving time and money, and mitigating risks.

  • One single corporate identity across business functions means users only have to sign in once, and IT staff have a single source of secure, authoritative data. It’s easy to add new users to the portal when they join NYBC and revoke access when they leave. The portal allows standard identity management functions (like forgotten password processes) to be addressed consistently.

  • This consistent UX has reduced training costs and enhanced employee mobility within the organization. Even if they move to a new role, users already know how to use the portal.

  • Reporting is significantly less time-consuming and less costly. Previously, generating some reports would take up to 6 months: stakeholders would need to log in to various systems to collect, export, and import data, then analyze it manually. Now, similar reports can be created in a few hours, thanks to streamlined data access and automated, permission-driven workflows.

  • Analytics are now accessible to all business stakeholders. Previously, access to analytics via Microsoft PowerBI was limited to a few staff because individual licenses were a costly and steep learning curve. With a series of standard widgets incorporated into PowerBI, data analysis and dashboards are accessible to all.

  • Risks have been mitigated, with the new portal ensuring an auditable trail for all processes.

Streamlining and simplifying NYBC’s operations today, the portal has also strengthened its ability to deal with the challenges of tomorrow. With a flexible and modular architecture, the portal can incorporate novel use cases and future acquisitions with minimal disruption and cost.

Contact Us

At Polymaths, we have helped a variety of businesses solve complex problems. For New York Blood Center, we created a scalable web app that streamlined operations and helped staff manage the complexities of their growing business. If our illustration of NYBC’s electric transformation into an elite industry competitor has inspired you to find a trusted engineering partner, take the first step forward with Polymaths by clicking here and reaching out.