Vena: Welcome Excel Wizards
March 02, 2019
Vena: Welcome Excel Wizards
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Vena Solutions
Vena Solutions is being used by my company as a business intelligence tool. User representatives from every department participate. In most cases, we only make Vena available to department/site leaders. Although, we have made the tool available to all providers/doctors working for the company. Vena helps us automate the Export Transformation Load (ETL) process associated with aggregating our various source systems into a single cube.
- Degrees of Freedom: Vena is extremely malleable. The majority of reporting/input functionality is orchestrated via MS Excel. If one is fairly well-versed with Excel, they will find Vena to be very powerful.
- Updates: The Vena team always has new features in the hopper. Furthermore, these features seem to be focused on their points of weakness (e.g., addition of web-based dashboards)
- Patrick Gibbs: The integration specialist dedicated to my team, Patrick Gibbs, was extremely helpful. While developing business rules surrounding our ETL process, Patrick was very engaged in the process. At times, I expressed the desire to understand the underlying SQL code and Patrick was happy to walk through things with me. Now, when I want to add new features, I am able to step through the code to better understand what I looking to ask the Vena development team.
- Support: The support team is very responsive.
- Automation: Vena automates processes that would normally take hours to complete manually. I should note, some of the load processes still take a few hours to complete (due to the size of our data set), but we have stored jobs set to run after-hours.
- Web-Based Features: Vena still has room for improvement in proliferating their catalog of web-based features. As I write this, I am slightly worried that there are features available that I am unaware of. More modules like their "Dashboard" module would be helpful. Clicking through tasks -> task forms -> opening MS Excel document is too cumbersome for most busy individuals (doctors, executives, etc.).
- Pricing: For the most part, Vena is much less expensive than most "premier" business intelligence tools on the market. That said, I recently struggled a bit with adding user subscriptions. I was unaware that after we added a certain number of licenses and/or after our initial subscription agreement matured, we would be subject to a SIGNIFICANT price hike. The increase in pricing was steep enough that we are looking currently on the hunt for an alternate solution.
- Scale: This is probably an unreasonable expectation, but it might be worth including. It would be great if Vena offered to help make sure a project scaled well without charging their consultant fees. In other words, once a data set's size has become an issue (load times exceeding 3-4 hours), it would be nice if they helped to optimize the ETL process. I was able to accomplish much of this by restricting the initial data set, but I am far from an expert.
- Vena has had a GREAT return on investment thus far. We have built out fantastic board packets, KPI dashboards, ad hoc dashboards, etc. We understand our business better than we ever have before.
- Part of why Vena's ROI has been so positive is due to the investment being so low. We have 40 users and have integrated with 4 different softwares. Despite the investment being low for the first 3 years, it appears that we will be facing a rate hike in the near future.
- Vena is the FIRST tool that has been successful in teaching our site managers about their department income statement(s). I feel that most of those individuals would agree that this was no easy task (why should it be? These folks are primarily trained to care for patients).
At the end of the day, many of Vena's competitors will offer more web-based capabilities. At the time when we made the decision, we primarily chose Vena due to the steeply discounted price tag. However, over the past couple of years, Vena has added the web-based capabilities that we had been searching for in the past. In order to better compete with some of the industry giants, Vena could roll out some more customizable web-based dashboard/report features.
Vena is well suited for companies that have a population of users that are fairly adept with Microsoft Excel. Ideally, the company would also have an analyst who understands business intelligence, ETL, etc. Without somebody orchestrating the production, I doubt things would run very smoothly. Assuming there is somebody capable of running the software, the tool is awesome. Whenever we discuss investigating new tools, I always say the same thing, "If we switch to another platform, our users may have an easier time. That said, it feels like we can literally do ANYTHING with Vena."