On: 12/01/2012 10:21 In: Experts Corner
Organisations have been utilising geographical information for many years now, but as the business environment continues to evolve and as innovation continues apace, the strategic role of focused geographical technologies is also ever-changing. It seems they have the potential to show businesses where they really are.
Vehicle tracking for example is not new; it has been an important component within the telematics and asset management industry for decades. But gone are the days when vehicle tracking is just a 'big brother' spying mechanism. Now intuitive, sophisticated and easy-to-use tracking systems - along with many other related technologies - are becoming increasingly recognised as modern-day management tools due to the holistic information they can harness.
The prolonged economic turbulence has proven difficult for many organisations to bear, but those that have survived and indeed flourished are those that are continually striving to increase efficiencies and reduce costs without compromising customer service. There is therefore a need to look inwardly at business processes, not only to streamline operations, but to analyse the scope for new opportunities and potential challenges too. And it's surprising what can be gleaned from geographical concepts that have been under our noses all along.
Such technologies do not need to be 'all singing, all dancing'. It is the provision of value-adding, strategic data and insight that is crucial.
Overcomplicated systems, or those that heighten the administrative burden, simply deter companies from investing in them. But the beauty of modern day technology is that powerful functionality can be delivered via incredibly simple interfaces, which translates into intelligent systems that are at the same time easy to use. Moreover, they can offer a level of proactivity that saves time carrying out manual processes, whilst promoting new ideas and highlighting opportunities for greater efficiencies.
Innovation is nothing without true industry understanding and empathy for real customer requirements though. Technology introduced for technology's sake will not engage the user nor will it successfully address the issues faced, whereas features that actively solve real challenges can make a demonstrable impact from day one.
It follows the age-old saying that knowledge is power. Geographical information that can be utilised and reported upon with only a few simple clicks has a powerful role to play in making business-wide decisions. The multi-faceted benefits resulting from the use of vehicle tracking technology for example include reduced fuel costs, more efficient planning and resource allocation, increased productivity, greater customer service, enhanced environmental credentials, streamlined administration and ultimately a positive impact on the bottom line.
Any resource investment needs to be justifiable, especially when many organisations' external expenditure remains under great scrutiny. Yet as awareness and confidence in geographical information products grows, so too will the deserved acknowledgement that such technologies can be value-adding management tools. When considering the extent to which proactive geographical systems can help organisations work increasingly smarter, it's clear to see that the benefits permeate throughout all business functions and even into the boardroom.
Chris McClellan, managing director of Remote Asset Management. www.remoteassetmanagement.co.uk