Analyze this

The growing niche of business analytics gives public agencies new insights

The Air Force's F-16 aircraft have a lot of moving parts, many of which must be maintained or replaced regularly to keep the complex machines flying. Gyroscopes, key components for flight safety, wear out inconsistently, but predicting their lifespan helps keep pilots safe.

For help, Air Force officials turned to the Knowledge Services program, a 3 terabyte enterprise data warehouse with advanced business analytics tools, to study gyroscopes and develop replacement schedules.

After custom mathematical models sorted through past and real-time data, they came up with an important finding: Gyroscopes wear out quicker from November through February than in other months, possibly because of colder weather. Now, in addition to paying closer attention to these components during those four months, maintenance personnel stock extra gyroscopes in September and October.

The Air Force now gets more planes in the air thanks to the maintenance insights gathered from business analytics software from vendor Business Objects SA, said John Rusnak, a civilian employee of Mitre Corp. who acts as chief architect for the Air Force Knowledge Services in Dayton, Ohio.

The three-year Knowledge Services program relies heavily on tools within the traditional business intelligence arsenal, including data warehouse and query and reporting applications for searching historical data for hidden trends.

More recently, the program has taken advantage of less widely used, more sophisticated business analytics tools that can expand the boundaries of business intelligence. At their best, these tools use mathematical models tailored for specific analyses. They integrate with the existing business intelligence infrastructures and are anything but black-box technology: Business analytics models require tailoring, customization and people skilled at using them.

But as the payoff for this complexity, business analytics tools can run the gamut of data collected by an organization, from historical statistics and constituent information held in relational databases to real-time unstructured information gleaned from e-mail messages and Web documents. Business intelligence's forté is helping managers understand past behavior, while business analytics' promise is predicting new behaviors.

Business analytics analysts and vendors say the technology is becoming more widely used in the intelligence community for identifying terrorists by sifting through text and broadcasts as well as government health care organizations looking for new ways to contain costs and manage diseases.

Growth market

"With [business intelligence], you have an idea of which records or fields in the database you need to focus your queries and analyses on," said Jay Desai, federal practice leader and co-founder of Knightsbridge Solutions LLC, a Chicago-based systems integrator. "With [business analytics], you're looking for patterns in the entire data store."

Business analytics "uses prebuilt data models to solve specific problems like, 'How do I optimize inventory in my supply chain?' or 'How do I achieve compliance with a specific regulation?' " said Michael Beckley, vice president of product strategy for Appian Corp., a systems engineering and software vendor in McLean, Va.

By expanding analyses beyond historical information, business analytics increases predictive capabilities, said Larry Northington, vice president for strategic planning and corporate development at Teksouth Corp., a systems integrator doing business analytics work for the Defense Department. "You can take corrective action at the front end of the problem and fix it when it is a mole hill and not a mountain."

This potential is helping the business analytics market grow, said Henry Morris, group vice president for analytics at market researcher IDC and the person often credited with coining the term seven years ago.

Overall, more money is still spent on query and reporting tools

NEXT STORY: DOD hires ManTech for telecom work

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.