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Data Driven Decisions

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By Nicholas Byrne, on June 14, 2013

SAS plays an integral role in today’s world of “Big Data” enabling the use of analytics to aid organizations in managing information, forecasting and analyzing trends, and making better-informed decisions. Particularly, SAS’ slate of  data analysis tools extends to supporting government in key functional areas such as fighting crime and fraud, managing natural resources, supervising benefits administration, and enabling higher degrees of accountability through streamlined reporting.

Data points: using data collection to account for fire extinguisher inventory and placement compliance.
Data Points: Using data analysis to collect, manage, and improve processes. Here, identifying critical resources and placement can be critical in responding to an emergency.

 Operationally, I’ve seen firsthand the emphasis placed on data collection at the departmental level within my work group.  Security & Safety uses various tools (mostly proprietary software solutions) to collect data, and then presents it in ways aimed at improving compliance with rules and regulations and improving security and general day-to-day life at SAS campus. I have worked with our security analysts to learn more about key performance indicators within the department. These KPIs enable staff and management to develop a snapshot of the department’s effectiveness in monitoring everything from the mundane (e.g., on-campus parking, alarm calls, fire extinguisher/AED placement) to everything but (e.g., global threats and emergency response). The data and resulting KPIs are collected and reported on quarterly and aid the department in better “telling its story” which, in turn, facilitates effective lobbying and advocacy efforts directed at executive management for resources and also results in campaigns to educate employees about important safety measures and procedures.

In my short time here, I’ve witnessed the “life cycle” of data in real-time and experienced some of its implications. Based on my experiences, the process of collecting and using data is a meaningful and value-add proposition when done right. However, data doesn’t always paint a full picture of a situational problem, particularly in an emergency management context, where the importance of relationships, values-based considerations, and responding without delay may demand placing less emphasis on data and performance measures. Nonetheless, my dive into data collection and management thus far has been an education and an area I will continue to learn more about.

Tags: Big Data, key performance indicators | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments
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