Three Examples of How Data Can Change Industries Right Before Our Eyes

by Dave Hannon

January 9, 2013

By Dave Hannon

If you think only the largest companies are getting on the data-driven decision train, think again. Increasingly, smaller companies and even end customers are clamoring for more data to help them make their decisions. In fact, three recent examples of this have really driven this trend home for me and they come from very different industries (consumer banking, healthcare, and transportation).

This morning, for example, I read about a banking startup called Simple, which allows users to better search for and analyze their own financial data. According to the New York Times article, each transaction is tagged with detailed information that allows customers to search their accounts and find transactions and identify trends more easily.

"Banks throw out a lot of data,” says Simple founder Josh Reich. “There are 80 fields of data per transaction, and banks only show you a few: the dollar amount, the place and the date. We can use much more than that to let people have real-time financial data.”

Intriguing example of an application that's simply exposing existing data in new ways so users can leverage it to make better decisions. Data into intelligence. Check.

Here's another example: In the latest issue of insiderPROFILES we write about a division of healthcare giant McKesson which is using SAP BusinessObjects technology to help its customers -- physician practices and other healthcare providers -- view and analyze their own business data to improve their practice.

Users at these practices -- who are administrators, not IT professionals for the most part -- can "come into a secure portal and download more than 100 best-practice reports, or view their performance in areas such as denial codes or physician productivity in intuitive dashboards," says Gabe Orthous, Director of Business Analytics and Product Management at McKesson RMS. "In addition, users can change the reports if they want, so we’re not just creating and providing reports in a printed format."

Lastly, I came across another example of a company (in the fleet management industry) doing something similar -- providing its customers streamlined and real-time access to data already being collected to help them make more informed business decisions. Data collecting dust in the database becomes business intelligence. 

But to hear more about that company's story, you're going to have to wait until the next issue of insiderPROFILES (tease!)

In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes peeled for these interesting and "less enterprise" examples of how turning data into business intelligence is changing the value chain in companies and industries. And of course, if you have your own examples, feel free to post them here in on the Insider Learning Network for the rest of us to enjoy.

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