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11/17/2016 4:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Finding the Right Data in ‘Big Data’

This story appears in the November 14 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Joe Howard

There is a lot of talk about how trucking can maximize the value of “big data,” but sometimes lost in the discussion is how to ensure fleets are using the right data.

“In the industry today, there is lots of data,” said Michael Riemer, vice president of product management and partner marketing at Decisiv, a provider of maintenance software. “That doesn’t mean it is very well-structured, reliable, real time or consistent — it is just lots of data.”

How fleets can take all of that information and turn it into actionable intelligence was the focus of a presentation, titled “Ensuring Data Quality,” at the annual joint meeting of the Information Technology & Logistics Council and the National Accounting & Finance Council of American Trucking Associations, held Oct. 1-4 in Las Vegas.

The first step, Riemer said, is establishing a goal.

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“What is it you actually want to answer?” Riemer asked. “It’s amazing how many times people come to us and say, ‘I want a graph that does this,’ but a graph doesn’t actually solve a business problem. A report doesn’t solve a business problem. So, what is the business problem that you’re trying to solve?” Just as vital, he said, is buy-in from involved parties. “Make sure everybody agrees on what you’re trying to solve,” he said.

Clarity on how to analyze the result is equally important, so ensuring that the right data elements are included in the process is vital, Riemer added.

“If you want to measure [something] and the process doesn’t capture the data required to report on it after the fact, there is no way you can report it,” he said. “Once you define the problem and define success, you have to make sure that you have all of the information you need to answer that question.”

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By Joe Howard
Information Manager, ITLC

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