Do you remember card catalogs at the library and looking through little drawers for hours to find all the books you needed to complete one assignment? That is what business data can look like: multiple systems cobbled together that contain different sets of data you need to make important business decisions.
For Fox, this spurred us to reimagine what data visualization could bring to our customers and to our key stakeholders. We understood the outcome we wanted, identified the right data visualization platform, and launched a customer pilot. With a successful proof of concept in hand, our initial vision of building our enterprise data warehouse became reality. With each new data feed and data source integrated, we can show consistent and visually rich, intelligent information that both benefits our internal operations and travel managers.
Your data, and thus, your ability to make important decisions can sit in so many unconnected places. See how Fox tackled the project to ensure our customers would have what they needed, when they needed it with real-time dashboards and data visualization.
1. Understood the data needs
We approached our process with the understanding that this would be an ongoing progression, allowing us to continually deliver on the evolving requirements of our customers. For Fox, the initial goal for a data warehouse was driven by a need to go beyond the typical static delivery used in customer business reviews. We knew we would need to bring all the data sets that we use in our business review process into real-time data feeds. By doing this, it allowed us to create visual, easy to digest dashboards that our travel managers needed to proactively manage their program.
THE LOOKOUT: For those who have a data driven project that needs attention, it is important to take the time to organize the data before integrating it. For Fox, our goal is to get our clients the data they need the way they need it so that our clients get the most out of their travel program data. This meant truly understanding the data needs, where it fed from and how the result needed to be presented. Investing the upfront time to organize the data is a crucial point in the success of any data project.
2. Gained control of the data
As a travel manager, you inevitably work with multiple sources of data, and those may not always be stored in the exact way you need. For Fox, we partner with our award-winning technology innovation team to build our own internal platforms as well as custom platforms for our customers. This means taking disparate, unconnected data and creating a single data source through a custom designed platform. We help our customers build for future flexibility through structured data that can reach virtually any platform including cloud platforms, legacy systems, and third-party vendors. In some places we physically move data into a data warehouse, while in others we use a programming interface to join the specific data you need.
What this all means: travel managers are no longer constrained by the format the data is in or where it is located.
THE LOOKOUT: Historical data in a data warehouse environment grows significantly every year, and this can become a costly endeavor to maintain. If embarking on a data project of your own, ensure you have processes identified to adjust for different tools and that your process is built to evolve with changing functionality and features.
3. Committed to the vision
Data management has been a constant evolution and progression at Fox. “Our approach allows us to be nimble with data and refine our strategy along the way,” said Sam Hilgendorf, Chief Information Officer at Fox. “While we always had grand visions and a master strategy for our data, we have gained new perspectives through our progress and developed new insights beyond our original predictions of how we’d be using our platform today. We’ll continue to rely on our flexible architecture giving us the ability to adapt to new data sources and our customers’ business needs.”
THE WIN: Each incremental improvement we make to our data warehouse brings more value to your organization. The agility of centralized data allows Fox to create reporting for our customers they never thought possible. One example has been the ability to track and manage UATP (Universal Air Travel Plan) card usage to ensure our customers are using their unused ticket inventory, saving them thousands of dollars in expiring tickets.
The process of designing and implementing a connected data strategy involves a great deal of planning, collaboration, and coordination of resources. For Fox, our inspiration was the promise of what data visualization could bring to our customers. Connected data can significantly increase your team’s efficiency and drive value in business intelligence, as you see reports and visual, real-time data before you make decisions. Ask us how.
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