Despite the term, big data has more benefits than just volume of information. It represents an opportunity to manage, in real-time, situations that have arisen as highlighted by data accumulation. In a service environment, this can be with regards to a company’s staff, customers and operations.
However, before an organisation can begin to digest any information, the significant reasons for why, how and what data is sourced and collated needs to be addressed. For many service-based organisations, this collection of data is still largely restricted to in-vehicle location-based services (LBS), providing information on where a worker’s vehicle is located.
As is common, when a worker is in their vehicle, updates can be transmitted via GPS, allowing real-time tracking of that worker. These updates are regular as locations can change quickly when travelling and can be beneficial to ensure that not only the worker is heading where they are meant to be heading but is driving in a safe and economical manner and using sensible routing options. These services can also help in traffic incidents, to find the best route.
Collecting such a rich set of data requires stepping away from in-vehicle GPS to use the handheld PDA/smartphone or tablet as the source of data. A correctly configured device can provide a vast richness of data as every action can be logged, transmitted to a data warehouse and made available for analysis. This can then be overlaid with time and location information generated automatically on the device to provide the rich big data picture.
This collation of data starts to be very powerful for service teams, but only once it is correlated against other information. For example:
- An organisation can identify geographic clusters where SLAs have been missed
- It is possible to identify key trends and patterns such as those concerning the worker responsible for the job, or the type of job carried out
- Journey issues can also be identified
There are of course those who are unhappy about being tracked by GPS, but in an age where unhappy customers will share their poor customer service experiences online, reaching a vast audience, it becomes all the more important to be certain every element of the service chain is running like clockwork.