Chances are you are sitting on a goldmine, an untapped resource that could lead to long-term sustainable growth for your organisation. Almost every business these days, yours included no doubt, collects and has access to vast amounts of data. This information is amassed in every department including Finance, Operations, Sales and Marketing, HR, Customer Service, R&D, Manufacturing, Logistics . . . the list goes on. However, the data itself is not the goldmine. The hidden value is the link you make between your strategy and the insights you can derive from your data.
Realising the value of data is a process. The very first step in the process is to determine, clarify, and articulate your strategy. What is it your organisation is ultimately trying to accomplish? And for what purpose? If you are in the local government sector you may be working to create a safe and healthy community. Utilities may be working towards stewardship and sustainability. Whatever your strategy, if everyone in your organisation knows and understands their contribution, you are one step closer to deriving value from your data.
Realising the value of data is a process
The next step in the process is to think about what you, in your role, need to know to make decisions. How might you use data to better understand what’s going on, and where any strategy blockers may exist? Figure out what you want to know, and why, before you start hunting through screeds of reports. Determining up front what you want to know will make your data research and analysis much easier.
Before moving on, it is helpful to understand the power of data. Why is data so important? For a start, it eliminates the questionable practice of decision making by gut instinct. Using data also reduces the chance of introducing a bias to your decision rationale. And finally, research shows that data-driven organisations perform better. According to an Economist survey from 2012, organisations that rely on data more than their competitors, outperform them financially.
So now we understand how data can help, consider which of the following scenarios applied to decision making in your role:
- Data to confirm or disprove a hypothesis. For example, you might suspect a correlation between driver behaviour trends and days of the week or seasons.
- Data to be used as a benchmark. Benchmarks can be useful as a before and after measurement, for when you are trying to change or improve something or reach a stated goal or KPI.
- Data to uncover a problem or an opportunity. You may want to find efficiency in your business processes, find ways to take costs out of your business, or uncover opportunities for innovation.
Now consider how you might apply data-based decision making to your fleet, safety, mobility, and field force management activities.
- Which vehicles are being used, and which are sitting idle and unproductive?
- Do I have the right number and types of vehicles for the jobs we do?
- Usage and availability of non-powered assets – are they in the right place when needed, and are they easy to locate?
Health & Safety:
- Are drivers staying safe on the roads?
- Do driving trends highlight any risks?
- Is there a correlation between situational context and accidents or incidents?
- Where are our employees going, how often, at what cost to the business?
- What information are staff using to choose smart transportation modes?
- What data do administrators need to make decisions about costs and workflow optimisation?
Field force management:
- Are field operations running smoothly and optimised for maximum efficiency?
- Is information getting back to the office from the field in a timely manner?
- Do field-based staff have the information, tools, and training they need to perform their jobs?
Once you know what you are looking for, you can now determine the best approach to analysing your data. You may have an IT department that can interrogate the data based on your research brief. You may decide to outsource a project. Or, you may choose to work with your suppliers to access data via APIs, reports, or data models.
Unlocking the hidden value of data starts with defining and clarifying your strategy. Aligning your goals to your organisation’s strategy helps you outline what you need to know. And, understanding the value of data and potential use cases provides a framework for prioritising data analysis.
Smartrak welcomes the opportunity to work with you on this, and determine how data could help answer your questions and support your strategy. Contact us to begin the conversation.