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Replacing Excel as a BI tool

Locala is an independent Community Interest Company providing NHS community services to over 400,000 people in Kirklees and beyond. 

Most of their care and support is provided at home and in clinics, schools and health centres by their team of health visitors, district nurses, therapists and health promotion experts. They have in the region of 1000 staff.

Why Locala required a performance tool?

  • The performance team within Locala provide information management services for the whole organisation

  • The demand for information was growing and vital for monitoring activity and effective utilisation of resources, the need to record and evidence clinical outcomes was increasing at an exceptional rate

  • The ability to access, analyse and interpret information is fundamental to identifying service improvement opportunities and highlighting areas of concern and evidence good practice

Monthly processes to produce information were time consuming, which resulted in the following risks and issues:

  • Minimal time for the team to work with managers to assist with analysis and interpretation to support service improvement

  • limited capacity to support the development of new measures and the required data collection processes

  • Some areas/individuals cannot access the information which means that data was emailed separately

  • Staff required excel skills to apply filters or aggregate data

  • There was the risk that files would be deleted or amended without the performance team knowing, despite security being applied to the files to prevent deletion of data and formulas, where this was possible

  • Excel as a BI Tool

    • Constant requests for different views of data

    • Clinicians had no excel knowledge

    • Often lose files/ delete files

    • Overwrite the data in the excel file

    • Limited access – (read only)

    • Clinicians not receiving the data

The Clearview solution

Both Clearview’s Business intelligence and reporting suite and Clearview’s performance scorecard module were installed on Locala servers in February 2012 and the Performance Team received training on the applications in May 2012. Services comprised installation and basic training to Locala staff, with the training achieved within 6 weeks elapsed.

This resulted in the following immediate business benefits:

  • Self service reporting- saving time;

  • Without permissions users cannot amend/delete the data source;

  • Web based therefore everyone can access easily;

  • Security settings mean we no longer have to password protect the files;

  • No need for Excel expertise;

  • Site wide licence, bringing the power of data insight to the whole organisation- multiple users; and

  • The “whys” answered instantaneously- as we drill through to the underlying information.

The TPP SystmOne patient data application is in use within the organisation and has proven to be a challenge to access directly. Data is currently extracted from this system to a schedule into a set of CSV files and a “data warehouse” database. This data is then imported into the Clearview BI and reporting suite to a schedule for subsequent analysis.

Next steps for Locala…

Their next steps are to create more Business Unit based dashboards to support the monthly Business Unit meetings and then go paper light/ no more printed reports!


Locala comment directly:

“We are on the cusp of achieving something really powerful. We have one place that we go to for full information. It’s crucial to understanding outcomes and how to improve them. We have created a ‘digital dashboard’ for the organisation.

Internal demand is there for Clearview reporting as they can see what is available so are coming for new information and further dashboards. This enables us to be transparent and open with commissioners who are able to see and discuss what to do. This sets us apart when we are reinforcing or gaining the confidence and trust of commissioners and others, by being able to forecast more powerfully than others, and by linking real activity to cost and value for money.”

By way of an example of the difference the system has made:

“Previously we could see, for example, that meeting response times was off track but could not see the reason until some considerable elapsed time afterwards. Now, in just a few minutes of identifying a problem like that, we have a view of where we are at.”