Leveraging Digital Data Streams and Analytics

By Madeline Weiss Print this article Print

Learn how to harness real-time digital data streams to increase revenues and profits, gain operational efficiency and achieve competitive advantage.


The firm uses one or more digital data streams to provide additional or improved services to consumers. INRIX provides traffic predictions, and MyCityWay.com aggregates hundreds of datasets and DDS (originating from other entitles, such as government sources and the restaurant intermediary OpenTable) to provide consumers with a convenient menu of real-time services available nearby. Similarly, mytaxi.net provides its reservation and taxi services mainly by collecting the GPS coordinates of both taxis and customers through a mobile app.

JetBlue monitored Twitter streams that mentioned JetBlue during the 2010 holiday season when "Snowpocalypse" hit New York. Axel Murillo was trying to get to Austin and couldn't get through to JetBlue phone lines due to the heavy phone traffic. He tweeted about it, mostly to complain about his bad luck. On Twitter, a Jet Blue representative asked him to direct message his confirmation number. Eighteen minutes later, the agent replied via direct mail that he had been rebooked.

When that flight was cancelled the next day, Murillo went straight to Twitter and received a similar response from another representative. It happened a third time, with the same result. A few days after Murillo's return to New York, he received the following email from a Jet Blue officer: "As a token of our appreciation for your patience during last week's snowstorm when we cancelled your flight, please accept 10,000 TrueBlue points, which you can apply toward future travel to any JetBlue destination."


Digital data streams are used to optimize internal operations or track business performance. One example is ruter.no, which was developed for Oslo, Norway, to gather real-time information on the overall state of the city's public transportation system, while also providing a convenient source of public transport information.

The transit authority also uses this traffic information to optimize the traffic signal priority system, thereby improving travel times, reducing the number of vehicles and lowering the costs of transportation. The company estimates that the average driving time of buses on some of the heaviest bus lines was reduced by up to 20 percent.


The firm uses DDS to develop superior insight or knowledge in order to enable better decision making. Predictive analytics is at the heart of INRIX's offering.  

Mint.com, now owned by Intuit, provides its seven million customers with convenient visual tools to examine the status of their expenses and investments. The data comes from customers' bank, credit and investment accounts. Mint.com also offers recommendations for meeting financial goals, such as cutting down on rent, gas, clothes and latte expenses.

Based on Piccoli's and Pigni's broad survey of CIOs, they concluded that opportunities to exploit DDS are large and mostly untapped. Currently used for monitoring the business, DDS and predictive analytics also have the potential to transform customer service.

The greatest challenges in reaping such benefits are integrating DDS, recruiting staff with skills in data science and analytics, and working across organizational silos to change the way people think and behave.

Madeline Weiss is the director of the Advanced Practices Council at the Society for Information Management (www.simnet.org/).

This article was originally published on 2012-12-18
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