Read any tech or marketing title at the moment and someone is saying something about ‘Big Data‘. There is little doubt that our ability to house and analyse huge amounts of information is transformative, but it would be remiss to forget, big data is no panacea.
Of course, big data can be powerful, but even more so, it’s about having the ‘right data’! Analysing big data can improve your ability to enhance your operations, but that’s really only when you don’t know where to look in the first place; but what if you do know what you’re looking for?
Ask yourself, how much data do you really need to make a more informed decision that has an impact on your bottom line. What is that one, defining piece of information that forms a mirror for you to see around the corner? Once you know what it is you want, it’s much easier to find it.
It could be that big data allows you to cast a wider net, without which you couldn’t attain such insight, but it may well be something different all together. There is a very real case to say that there are certain areas of your business that are just obvious places to focus on – managing your vehicles more effectively being one.
In the GPS Fleet Management business, we are often asked, how many vehicles you’d need to have before you get a solid ROI from one of our solutions. In actuality the word ‘fleet’ lends itself to this assumption, but there is much to gain from just managing one vehicle more effectively. It’s for this reason we work with Telstra, so that our solutions are accessible to anyone – a sole operator or a large enterprise. When delivering insights via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, you could pay as little as three-dollars a day for the solution and ensure you increase your productivity by 20 per cent a day, conservatively.
The alternative to this of course is ‘hope’; hoping you or your staff take the best route, that you drive effectively to conserve fuel and maintenance and that your customers don’t mind inflexibility. The problem with this is you can’t build a business on hope any more than you can manage something without measuring it.
Gartner says big data will grow past its hype towards 2016 to become “just data” as technologies mature and organisations learn how to deal with it. It’s hard to disagree. When you use SaaS from a telco like Telstra, you are in effect making use of the intelligence their network has been able to fashion.
You don’t have to generate it yourself. Regardless of whether you have one vehicle or 1000, you simply apply the learning. It’s about patterns. One driver will still give you plenty of information that can help you manage them more effectively. In fact, you still manage drivers on a case by case basis even if you have 1000 of them in your ‘fleet’. If you don’t do this, you end of compromising other things you care about. Driving isn’t black and white, so you need the intelligence, but you need it at both a macro and micro level.
Companies like Intel are doing a lot of work around this, as are we. It is vital that organisations of all shapes and sizes understand that it is technology applied in the right way that is key. It is an unparalleled competitive leveler when paired with a well-defined USP for a specific market. We have SMB customers and we have enterprise customers, and the commonality is they both know that the devil is in the detail and when you understand you can claw back an hour of productivity a week per vehicle, over the course of the year, you have made a significant difference to your bottom line.
Ian Daniel is Vice President Asia Pacific at Navman Wireless