This week marks the second installment in our blog series on big data, and for this article we sat down with Joel Waithman, a Senior Channel Manager here at BSM, a Geotab Company, to get an expert’s perspective on big data, and how he’s seeing it being used by BSM customers.
BSM Blog Crew (BBC): Thanks for the time today, Joel. We know big data isn’t a new concept, but it’s gained in popularity over the past few years. How have you personally experienced the shift in big data — specific to telematics — over the years?
JW: You’re 100% right. Ten years ago, it was very rudimentary; “where’s my vehicle on the map?” types of data that we were collecting. Since then, especially in the last two years, I’ve seen it shift to the point where we’re collecting almost overwhelming amounts of data. And companies need it! They’re looking for vehicle history, performance, and operational data, and that comes in countless data sets.
BBC: Do you think using the data to drive organizational decisions is more critical than it was 10 or 20 years ago? If so, how do you see companies using big data to make these decisions?
JW: My short answer would be yes. Why? Because 20 years ago the data was super limited. And ten years ago people didn’t believe in it because they couldn’t validate it. But the world has changed and the amount of data that people base every decision on every day — not just in business but their daily lives is monumental. When used in the right context the data validates their choices and can have a significant impact on their business.
BBC: Would you say that every company or organization you come across is using big data to drive their decisions?
JW: Specific to BSM, every one of our customers is using big data in some capacity because telematics solutions immediately start collecting the data specific to their fleet, rail yard, or construction site.
BBC: Is there an industry or even specific customer that has leveraged big data to drive their decision-making process?
JW: I’ve seen some great ROI coming from our customers.
BBC: I’m guessing you can’t name anyone specifically for this interview, but could you share some of their wins with us?
JW: One customer in particular, a national telecom service provider, was scheduling their calls on blind information before they implemented our optimization tools. They would schedule one appointment per technician every 4 hours, which meant that each technician was only getting scheduled for two appointments each day. Even if the first call took just 30 minutes, there was no way to add another service call from the queue to their daily route.
BBC: That seems so inefficient!
JW: It was. But once they started working with BSM, our route optimization software matched the skill set of each technician to the types of appointments coming in, so they could maximize the number of customers they could serve in a day. They went from a 4-hour service window to a 2-hour window, effectively doubling the number of appointments their technicians could schedule in a day. They also increased on-time performance and capacity, while decreasing the number of technicians needed for specific calls
BBC: That’s incredible. I’m curious, do you have any financial ROI you can share?
JW: You beat me to it! Once they started using the data to drive the decisions I mentioned above, they saved upwards of $20 million a year, just by collecting and listening to the data!
BBC: That’s huge, and that’s just one customer! Thanks, Joel for your time today. I know I’ve learned a lot about using big data to drive decisions, and I’m sure you’ve convinced our readers to do the same!
You might also be interested in the following post: Big Data: What it is and Why it Matters