Dignity Health

Decommissions applications using InfoSphere Optim to save millions of dollars annually

Published on 03-Feb-2014

"Our Decommissioning Program, using InfoSphere Optim, is going to save our company millions of dollars and provide the business with standardized access to the data from hundreds of applications." - Jon Massey, Senior Director, Application Optimization, Dignity Health

Dignity Health


Deployment country:
United States

Information Governance, Information Management Foundation

IBM Business Partner:
Concord, Inc.


As one of the nation’s five largest health systems, Dignity Health has 56,000 caregivers and staff serving diverse communities across a 21-state network. Patient-centered care is also provided at 380 urgent and occupational care centers, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Hundreds of disparate clinical and business applications support daily business activities.

Business need:
Dignity Health IT staff wanted to support information governance, compliance and electronic health records management, while reducing operational and application costs.

Using IBM® InfoSphere® Optim™ software, Dignity Health initiated an enterprise-wide Decommissioning Program to retire costly applications and support test data management requirements.

Retired 24 of 120 targeted applications to date and delivered ROI in one year; recovered 2.4 TB of storage and decommissioned 390 servers; realized hard dollar savings of USD 2 million to date.

Case Study

As one of the nation’s five largest health systems, Dignity Health has 56,000 caregivers and staff serving diverse communities across a 21-state network. Patient-centered care is also provided at 380 urgent and occupational care centers, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Hundreds of disparate clinical and business applications support daily business activities.

“Our operating environment includes many client server and mid-range systems and databases; DB2, Informix, Oracle and SQL,” says Jon Massey, senior director of Application Optimization at Dignity Health. “We also run hundreds of custom and legacy applications, which over 20 years, have accumulated terabytes of data, and since we acquired many of our hospitals over time, non-standard application deployments have complicated our decommissioning and archiving efforts.”

To simplify its IT environment, Dignity Health decided to standardize on Cerner & Siemens MedSeries4 and wanted to archive data not being migrated in the EHR (electronic health records) Program.

“We knew that as EHR moved in, that it would replace many of our systems,” says Massey. “But we still needed to retain access to the data.”

Supporting business goals with less risk
While the EHR consolidation across 38 locations provided the impetus for action, Massey and his staff wanted a data archiving strategy to support retention policies and control rising storage and maintenance costs. In addition to risk of data loss on older systems, there was also the risk of data breaches and fines on production systems that were no longer used or monitored.

“We had to decide whether to let these systems remain in production or spend money to improve how we were managing them,” says Massey. “We saw that data lifecycle management would help us better understand our data and streamline our production and non-production environments.

Decommissioning delivers ROI
Massey’s team found that retiring applications would mitigate risk and save the company millions of dollars, even after project costs.

“We projected an ROI in less than a year,” says Massey. “The business case was well received by the CIO and senior corporate executives. Since we kicked off the decommissioning project, it has exceeded our goals and objectives.”

“IBM InfoSphere Optim gives us business access to the data in a highly secure, encrypted, archived format and allows us to apply business rules so that we can retain the data based on compliance and business requirements,” Massey adds.

Optimizing the application portfolio yields surprising results

IBM Business Partner, Concord, Inc., provides technical services and support for deploying the InfoSphere Optim solution set. The first step was to review and identify production applications that could be retired.

“Our business users are key to the whole equation,” says Massey. “All these projects have business sponsors and stakeholders and they’re involved every step of the way.”

The application review process revealed that the company was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance fees on systems that were no longer used. Moreover, Massey and his team identified production applications that for usability reasons could be archived and decommissioned, helping to further reduce operational costs. The decommissioning project targeted 120 applications and continues to expand.

“Every month, we find five or ten more applications that can be decommissioned,” Massey says. “Almost weekly, I get calls from someone at a hospital or facility saying, ‘I have an application that I’d like you to retire and archive for me.’ Our decommissioning project is evolving, and we expect the 120 applications to grow into 200 and beyond at some point.”

Supporting information governance
Massey and his team plan to expand their approach with a broader focus on information governance. For example, to support new privacy laws and government regulations, healthcare providers must protect data in non-production (development, test and quality assurance) environments.

“InfoSphere Optim can provide the necessary test data management and data masking functionality for our non-production environments,” says Massey. “It will take a little time, but we’ll roll it out over the next few years until we can mask all PHI (protected health information) and sensitive data in our test systems and have test data management in place for each of our production systems.”

In addition, Massey’s team will be implementing InfoSphere Guardium® software to monitor database activity. “InfoSphere Guardium enhances security and can help us understand how the business is accessing the data so that we can build the right rules in Optim prior to archiving,” says Massey. “We see Guardium and Optim as fitting well together in our environment.”

Measuring success and fostering innovation
Effective program management and measuring incremental success in each business area helps Massey and his team show the evolution of their efforts and how the technology is improving results.

“We’re about two plus years into our Decommissioning Program and gained a return on investment in the first year,” says Massey. “To date, we have decommissioned 24 applications and 390 servers, recovered 2.4TB of storage, and realized over USD 2 million hard dollar savings.”

The savings from this program will help Massey and his team to drive other business initiatives. “Ultimately, we want to develop a zero-budget model, where we can redirect operational cost savings to focus on innovation,” Massey explains. “The IBM solutions and business intelligence in general will help us move in that direction.”

For more information
To learn more about IBM InfoSphere Optim Solutions, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/data/optim

For more information about Concord, Inc., visit: www.concordusa.com

For more information about Dignity Health, visit: www.dignityhealth.org

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management Solution, InfoSphere Optim Archive Enterprise Edition, InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management, InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy

Legal Information

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