The growth of big data is exploding and it’s impacting fleets around the world, and not just at an enterprise level. Estimates are that in just a few years we will be generating 44 times more data than we were back in 2009. Experts are using the word zettabyte (yes, it’s a real word) more often to describe this exponential uptick in data storage.

There don’t appear to be any issues with storing this rapidly growing cyber-mountain. That said, the cracks are beginning to show for those who are called on to make data-driven decisions; they’re often unsure how to make best use of the digital torrent they’re seeing.

One critical piece of the problem is disconnected data, and it’s costing fleets millions of dollars every year in lost productivity, reduced efficiency and overlapping systems.

Before we look at how fleets are meeting the challenge of disconnected data, let’s first understand why it’s not such a positive thing for the industry.

Disconnected data = Poor communication

The best way to understand what we mean by disconnected data is to think of it in terms of communication. Let’s illustrate. Communication, or the lack of it, has been the cause of more than a little friction among married couples. Being booked for two separate social engagements on the same night is not uncommon when disconnected communication is at work.

When different teams within a business do the same thing, it results in a host of problems that affect the bottom line including dispatch mistakes, lost productivity and double-ups. It’s not great for customer service either, with customers kept in the dark (literally if you’re in the utility business).

Part of the problem is that many fleets struggle with the task of collecting and implementing different tools that don’t talk to each other. This creates certain pain points; see if you can identify with any of them:

  • The mother of all reports: This report can take days to assemble. It generally involves logging in to several different systems to create a collection of smaller reports, often with overlapping data. Then the laborious task of merging this disparate data together begins. Time-consuming and often out-of-date by the time it’s finished, this report strikes fear into even the hardiest analyst.
  • Contradicting charts: Guaranteed to confuse most managers, these mashups are often found in office presentations, consisting of charts pulled from separate systems, using different source data that tell different stories. The axiom that the ‘numbers never lie’ has obviously never met one of these brain-bending messes.
  • He said/she said. Call center operators cringe when they get these calls. The customer has been told one thing by a mobile field worker and back office know nothing about it; an embarrassing situation for any company that prides itself on good customer service – it’s the point where egg and face intersect.

So what’s the answer? The solution to disconnected data might appear to be to ‘talk more’ but its not that simple.

Connected data = Less work. More profit.

Talking more could be akin to creating more data. But that doesn’t solve the issues caused by disconnected data. It just creates more noise. What’s needed is a common platform where different data can ‘meet’ on a level footing.

To illustrate, think about the World Wide Web. It’s only because there are agreed-upon standards (as set by the W3C) that millions of computers can connect and enjoy different types of content delivered across thousands of different networks using a common browser. Without those standards there is no way anyone could leverage the truly amazing power that a global library offers.

Telogis understands that in many ways fleets are facing a similar challenge. They often work with a ‘drinking-from-a-firehose’ scenario with data, and we’re not just referring to the GPS tracking data that companies like Telogis process (we processed over 13 billion data points last year alone). The good news is that Telogis is built on an open XML-based architecture that provides its customers with a common, comprehensive, scalable location intelligence platform.

We’ve proved that open standards work to create a more cohesive, connected data platform by continually adding integration features to our telematics solution and partnering with more of the companies you work with than any other provider; from SAP certification to insurance, payroll, HR, vehicle servicing, engine diagnostics and data collected by your mobile workforce.

One thing that makes all this ‘magic’ possible is the extensive research and development that has gone into building Telogis API tools. Today’s modern businesses are using these tools to build bridges between the range of solutions they currently use and connect that with real-time mobile workforce data they collect using Telogis telematics. For example, service firms can use location data to advise customers of a technician’s ETA, courier firms get job confirmations from drivers and automatically send out delivery receipts.

And while Telogis API data tools go a long way to create a more cohesive ecosystem, many companies are beginning to realize that can simplify the equation even further by using Telogis for all their mobile workforce management needs; from route planning and territory assignment to dispatch and daily fleet tracking, navigation and driver compliance.

Is it time to protect your business from the dangers of disconnected data?