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From the Editors: Real-time BI’s benefits, challenges

There’s a lot of upside to real-time business intelligence but challenges, too. Read about the potential benefits of real-time BI and obstacles that can occur in a real-time BI project.

At TDWI's BI Executive Summit in Las Vegas last month, one of the speakers was Timothy Leonard, chief technology officer and vice president of information management at trucking company U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. The title of his presentation included the phrase “converting BI into ROI,” and a key vehicle (sorry) for making that happen at U.S. Xpress is real-time business intelligence.

Leonard detailed a real-time BI project that is helping the company reduce “idle costs” – the price of fuel consumed while trucks are idling in parking lots. Idle costs can't be avoided; drivers need heat or AC while sleeping in their cabs, for example. But some drivers might crank the AC higher than others. The real-time BI system captures 900-plus data elements from trucks and provides updates to fleet managers every 13 minutes via a dashboard that flags things such as excess idling. Deployed last summer, the system is saving U.S. Xpress $3 million per quarter, Leonard said.

Real-time BI can be a complicated undertaking, though, and it may not be right for everyone. To help you decide if it's a good fit your organization, we're publishing a series of articles on evaluating and deploying real-time BI technologies. The series began with an overview of issues to consider when weighing a real-time BI project.

It continued with a look at real-time BI's potential benefits and complexities, and more articles will follow. Is your organization using or considering real-time BI? Feel free to email me with your thoughts and coverage suggestions on it or other topics.

There's also still time to take part in our annual reader survey, which seeks input on your organization's BI and analytics priorities and the challenges you're facing in those areas. Four lucky respondents will receive an Amazon gift card for completing the survey, which helps us create content targeted to your information needs. You could be a winner, as they say.


Twitter: @BizAnalytics_TT


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