Analytics in the real world: Improving roads

The potential value of analytics software is huge, but sometimes it takes a while for leaders to grasp its return on investment. After all, these solutions can be used in a huge number of ways, some of which may not present monetary value until a long time down the road, if at all. However, business intelligence is catching on nonetheless. Organizations that refuse to boost their decision-making through the use of data may soon make up the minority, outpaced by peers that elect to try BI. Now's the time to take the final plunge, inspecting a few solid examples of information at work and seeking out worthy strategies.

Reshaping the roads
A recent Wired post by contributor Wade Rosado explained what business intelligence can do to improve transportation. This is an excellent area to explore the potential triumphs and pitfalls of BI, because just about everyone can relate to traveling by road or public transit and imagine ways in which it could improve. The source noted that to get down to business and gain insights about roads, agencies will have to integrate information from a huge variety of component systems. This is a common refrain for BI users in the big data era, and once it has been accomplished, powerful insights are just around the proverbial corner.

Rosado gave the practical example of San Diego's Metropolitan Transportation System. This organization has a clear goal for its project: to see how people interact with the many elements that make up its network. It has multiple data sources: By Rosado's count, there are five individual systems providing content that could power decision-making. It also has a big future ahead of it: In the MTS' case, this means adopting information from outside of its own network, including unstructured content posted on social media. It is an exemplar of a modern approach to BI.

Uniting business data
Organizations interested in taking a comprehensive approach to using data will likely notice soon that they have plenty of resources both inside and out of their own infrastructure. Dealing with old-fashioned BI processes that only handle structured content in moderate quantities may weaken their efforts to get ahead of rivals. There's no sense working with processes that already seem ready for replacement. It's likely a much safer bet to deal with solutions such as Necto 14, which already include the ability to synthesize results across the company from a multitude of data sources, paving the path to successful analytics and promising results.

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