Ford illustrates beneficial application of analytics

Those who have remained skeptical or on the fence regarding the use of analytics and business intelligence are effectively doing so in the wake of overwhelming evidence of its benefits. The basic applications of business intelligence – namely, the collection and cataloging of data – only scratch the surface of its advantages. Although that data is the baseline for everything else, the end results of successful BI use can bring companies and organizations an impressively wide variety of gains.

According to Small Business Trends, a recent book compiled and edited by analytics and big data expert Thomas Davenport, "Enterprise Analytics: Optimize Performance, Process, and Decisions Through Big Data," makes this perfectly clear. It calls out the mistaken thinking behind the idea that data is only applicable for relatively small purposes like quantifying web traffic and uses examples from businesses of all sizes that have found many purposes for BI and analytics software tools.

Another truly notable example of using analytics to their fullest potential comes from the Ford Motor Company. Environmental Leader reported that the auto manufacturer is applying the data gathered with BI platforms to focus on sustainability. Given the fact that more consumers are looking for the businesses they patronize to offer products and services that address environmental concerns in a positive way, this can be viewed as a prudent move for the automaker.

According to the news source, Ford put its analytics tools to use in a number of initiatives. One of these is called the Ford Fleet Purchase Planner, which is designed for customers buying large fleets of Ford vehicles who wish to choose a group of models that can be as fuel efficient as possible. It provides individual recommendations based on data culled from the vehicles' technical specifications.

The company has spent a great deal of time developing mathematical analysis models to predict carbon dioxide emissions from its vehicles over time and use that data to design hybrid systems, biodiesel technologies and its EcoBoost engines, as well as models for potential future vehicles. Finally, Ford also developed and released the AutoStop technology based on analytics-facilitated research. This system is designed to economize fuel use whenever a car is standing or running idle with the engine on.

New Ford vehicles are also being designed to generate live data that feeds back to Ford's network, to power future analytics projects.

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