Entrepreneurship

Stevens Senior Design Project Helps Analytics Teams at Fortune 50 Healthcare Company

Lindsay Stone, Edward McGrath and Neda Ameri
Stevens Seniors Lindsay Stone (left), Edward McGrath (center) and Neda Ameri (right)

Examining large volumes of data, finding patterns in data typically hidden from view and gaining valuable insights immediately empowers decision-making: this is the value of data analytics. Done effectively, data analytics can help deliver business benefits such as smarter workflows, efficient operations, better ROI and improved business performance.

Inside a Fortune 50 healthcare company, business units have the advantage of turning to internal teams for help with their data analytics initiatives. While these data analytics teams are armed with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver results, they keep losing business to more expensive, external consulting firms.

Enter a team of engineering management undergraduate students from Stevens to help find out why and develop a solution. Seniors Neda Ameri, Edward McGrath and Lindsay Stone got to work to understand the issues plaguing their client, the data analytics teams at a Fortune 50 healthcare company, and analyze the effectiveness of processes in place.

 “This project, which came to being through an alumnus of our engineering management program and who is now advancing the discipline as a part time PhD student here, is a great example of how a senior design project can benefit everyone involved,” said Eirik Hole, professor of engineering management at the School of Systems and Enterprises (SSE) and faculty team advisor.

The team of Stevens seniors worked with their client to uncover major disconnects in workflow processes and in their interactions with prospective customers. Additionally, they discovered that each team worked in silos without sharing knowledge or resources, creating redundancies and inefficiencies.

The team developed an automated web-based platform that facilitates prospective client interactions, streamlines pre-sales and preliminary workflow processes, simplifies user interaction and enables them to effectively manage project requests.

“We created a standardized workflow, taking an arduous manual process and defining a consistent set of steps to be followed every time,” said McGrath, the team’s technical lead. “The solution allows prospective business partners to explore services offered by the analytics teams via an educational website, which enables partners to see how these data analytics services can potentially apply to their business problem or how they were used on a project elsewhere in the enterprise.”

Another component, the standardized and automated project intake mechanism, helps to ensure a project is presented to the appropriate subject matter expert for analysis and estimating prior to creating a statement of work.  

“Through this project, the client gets to work with talented engineering management students on a solution to help improve an internal business process that has been on their ‘when we get to it’ list for some time,” said Hole. “As a side benefit, they get to interact with talented students in an area they are hiring.”

Thanks to this group of senior engineering management students at Stevens, the data analytics team at a Fortune 50 healthcare company now has a more streamlined process to win over their prospective clients and deliver results.

“This opportunity has enabled these students to solve a real problem in a real business environment and gain real-world insights and mentoring from a leading healthcare company  – and who knows, maybe some of them will be offered a job,” said Hole.

The project will be displayed on the Stevens campus on April 27, 2016 during the Stevens Innovation Expo, an annual, one-day, campus-wide event, which displays the extensive research and innovation accomplishments of faculty and students.