Putting data to work

Putting data to work

Summary: It is not new technology, but business intelligence platforms are now understood well enough by customers to drive real business change. David Braue catches up with some BI trend-setters.


From upstart to cornerstone
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Towards the future
10 ways to better BI
Case study: NT Police put on the map

Case study: NT Police put on the map

Getting better business information is one thing, but without context, that information can often lose much of its impact. For the Northern Territory Police Fire and Emergency Services (NTPFES), overlaying information about crime trends onto geographical maps has proved invaluable in better understanding local trends in crime across the territory.

The service previously implemented Crystal Reports to generate regular reports from its central case management system (CMS), but last year upgraded to the Hyperion Intelligence BI tool. The addition of BI made it much easier to track individual types of crimes, or individual offenders, and to correlate factors such as a known offender's modus operandi to assist with generating potential leads on suspects.

"The goal was to try and do a bit more with the data and provide it in a more user friendly manner," says John Weippert, director of ICT with NTPFES. "Intelligence-led policing is enabling us to use the intelligence we have to do better policing, target offenders, target crime hotspots, and to look at how our strategies are affecting crime."

Although Hyperion Intelligence improved analysis of information from the CMS, something was still missing: trends were apparent, but it was hard to relate them to the real-world issues that the police faced every day on the streets.

The service found the answer in Integeo's Map Intelligence product, which sucks data from BI platforms and automatically overlays that information on geographical maps. A concentration of crimes around a particular shopping centre, for example, becomes blatantly obvious when geographical information is added.

Links with other external systems, such as the NT Department of Justice's Justice Information System, provide further context: for example, the system might pinpoint a particular known offender as a possible suspect, but that offender would be excluded if he was known by the Department of Justice to have been incarcerated at the time.

The ease with which Map Intelligence integrated with the BI system led it to quickly gain popularity at all levels. More than 200 of the NTPFES's 1000 officers are using the system regularly -- including high-level tasking and co-ordination groups, which use it daily to identify which areas have been experiencing higher rates of particular crimes, then shape their strategic responses accordingly.

Strong success within the police branch of the NTPFES has driven Weippert to talk with fire authorities about how the geographical BI system might help their own operations improve their strategies. NTPFES is also looking into building a central data warehouse that would enable aggregation of even more data.

"People are using the system more extensively now, and we're getting more and more information," says Weippert. "People are wanting more out of it, and it's become an essential tool for us. We could never go back now."

This article was first published in Technology & Business magazine.
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Topics: Big Data, Enterprise Software


Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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