"See"EO: Chief Executive Officer, George Lazenby, Sees All in Emdeon's Infrastructure

A look inside the organization Take a peek behind the technology that makes innovative system monitoring possible

From his office in Nashville, Tennessee, Emdeon CEO, George Lazenby, always has a clear view. This fact has nothing to do with what he can see outside his window. Instead it refers to what he can see inside his organization. With an innovative in-office infrastructure monitoring system, Lazenby can watch all aspects of Emdeon business and service performance—in real-time, at any time. He has unobstructed visibility of every level of the company’s infrastructure, and he watches intently with the goal to better serve customers.

Even the smallest details are within view with this real-time infrastructure monitoring system. Lazenby can see how long it takes for every customer service call to be answered. He’s able to keep a watchful eye on Emdeon’s two data centers and all activities, from billing and reporting to product functions and service. If it takes more than 30 seconds for a customer service call to be answered or there’s even a slight glitch at any point in the process, he’s able to know it—and address it—immediately. And, if he’s not in front of his in-office infrastructure monitoring system, email alerts are sent directly to him should anything merit immediate attention. The monitoring is so thorough that Lazenby can drill down to any point in the vast corporate infrastructure to identify who on his team is responsible for anything he observes. And because monitoring is only valuable if the company is able to respond to issues as they are revealed, Emdeon’s infrastructure is built to provide inherent tactical responsiveness. The company can not only identify problems, but track patterns and take fast action to implement solutions.

According to Lazenby, this level of monitoring and response is the fruit of a continued concentrated focus on improving service levels across the board. The company’s IT division has successfully consolidated operations so that communications are tight, technological functions run efficiently and reliability is consistent. Of course, with the CEO constantly a click away from “seeing all,” accountability comes from the C-suite out—positively affecting performance company-wide. “Urgency is increased when the good people who work here realize addressing service and performance issues are so important that I have a monitor in my office that tracks everything up to the second,” Lazenby explains. “A proactive process emerges from this level of visibility.”

Additionally, this comprehensive monitoring has enabled Emdeon to identify and improve many things that were previously under the radar. Correlations are identified between various aspects of operations and service and can be addressed effectively. By drilling down to find issues that affect interdependent functions, Emdeon is able to eliminate causes of down time and improve reliability. “What we do is critical to what our customers do,” states Lazenby. “That’s why we invest in things like this.”

Lazenby’s in-office infrastructure monitoring system is a quick, comprehensive reference tool created expressly for the CEO. However, the goal is to one day provide customers access to similar information. That’s how confident and committed Lazenby and the team at Emdeon are regarding the integrity and transparency of service. Though sharing the infrastructure monitoring system with customers is likely a few years out, the high quality, real-time data, stats and reporting are already in place and in use—to the customers’ benefit.

As a matter of fact, Emdeon’s extensive monitoring system is the manifestation of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve its core infrastructure. Highly complex and multi-layered, Emdeon’s technology is constantly being honed to ensure near-flawless performance between divisions and disciplines. Ironically, this complexity ultimately provides transparency and simplicity for customers who enjoy such reliable service that they rarely need to think about what’s going on behind the curtain.

A peek behind the curtain reveals the vast complexities of all that goes into Lazenby’s seemingly simple, clear view. Emdeon is ceaselessly engaged in improving its technologies and service. In an infrastructure that runs deep and wide, every aspect of operations is interdependent on the other and it takes a skilled and committed team to navigate the challenges and opportunities that technology brings. “Of course, customers have no need to worry about all that,” Lazenby summarizes, “with this, they know we’re on the case...providing integrity of service.”

With that kind of viewpoint, it’s quite clear. Emdeon is committed to simplifying the business of healthcare no matter how complicated that process may be.

A look inside the organization
Overall Technology Strategy: Emdeon has long been committed to quality management in IT with the goal of 100% reliable performance and efficiency of operations. Already, the company has achieved near Six Sigma levels of sustained performance/service while containing costs. This strategy is a core differentiator for Emdeon with its customers.

Data Center Consolidation: Emdeon now operates two world-class data centers (rather than several locations), geographically distant from one another and equipped with the highest levels of security and functionality possible with today’s technology. These facilities are fortified to sustain operations even in the most extreme scenarios (i.e. - natural disasters).

Solutions Availability Reporting: With an unwavering goal of 100% uptime, Emdeon tracks and reports uptime for the company’s core infrastructure. This valuable information is used company-wide to influence strategies and tactics focused on reliability.

Business Activity Monitoring through Technology: As previously described, Emdeon has advanced its monitoring capabilities to not only watch and respond to issues by division; the company now monitors company-wide interdependencies, in total view and in real-time. In addition to constant assessment of IT infrastructure, Emdeon has added Call Center monitoring to ensure impeccable frontline service.

Use of Ticketing: To achieve uninterrupted uptime, it is essential to do more than trouble shoot. Emdeon utilizes a ticketing system to denote and resolve issues while creating a reference for historical resolution. This approach helps to identify patterns and root causes and institute long term solutions.

IT Service Management (ITSM): Emdeon has implemented ITSM to proactively lead the company to new heights in technological service. With a goal to earn ISO certification and implementation of a comprehensive information security framework by end of year 2010, Emdeon’s ISTM team is focused on integrating procedures that intrinsically improve IT operations, maximizes internal resources and ultimately provides the best service for customers.