Why Metrics Matter

Geoff Aucoin Tech

Much has been made about the importance of data. And, for good reason: leveraging your data can lead to untold operational efficiencies, reduced overall cost, and a myriad of other benefits that come with a digital transformation. But, many companies are still in the dark in terms of what this transformation could look like; what companies are often missing are tangible examples of what data can do for them, and why their metrics matter.

So let’s take a minute to examine what this kind of digital transformation looks like in the real world by looking at a client of ours who went from no data to data-driven in a matter of months.

The Tier-1 auto supplier had a problem: their next-gen car head-units had zero analytics, making real-time troubleshooting and upgrades impossible. They had little to no visibility into unit faults or user preferences – and in an industry where real-time diagnostics and personalized experiences are becoming the norm, this was a major roadblock. Any error logs had to be pulled manually via USB sticks, requiring technicians to find the physical unit in order to gain any visibility at all in terms of faults or diagnostics. This involved a 1-2 hour round trip per car to locate the unit, walk to the location, and copy the files.

They knew the importance of becoming data-driven, but had no clear path to help them get there. To this end, they had begun to implement an IoT ecosystem to replace their last-gen head units, but they lacked the bandwidth or data-driven know how to set up data pipelines, migrate to the cloud, and realize the full potential of this solution. They needed a hand to accelerate their digital transformation, and that’s where we came in. To jumpstart the customer’s data-journey, we offered a two-phased solution:

Phase 1: Architecture and Design

This phase was all about setting them up for success and building a strong data pipeline to complement and enhance their IoT setup. With the help of the client, we created a highly collaborative environment, participating in development activities, embedding in the client’s team, and working with individuals from all levels to dig down and understand their goals and pain points. This included setting up the platform, requiring initial creation and maintenance. Giving the client the ability to provision new data ingestion points as necessary, and replace or configure existing ingestion points was an integral part of the project, as was allowing the system to yield telemetric data, near real-time insights, and historical searching.

This culminated in the creation of three separate data analytics pipelines which fed into a cloud-based platform; one to allow visualization of all head unit IoT data, funneled into custom viz dashboards; one to enable both connected and USB-only head units to feed crash logs and other data into their IoT ecosystem; and a third to pipe data to the cloud and map it for third-party partners.

Phase 2: Data and Analytics

This phase was all about empowering their customer through data and insights. Working closely with their team, we focused on health, usage & system interactions, to ensure optimal performance, quality control, and customer satisfaction. We began mining real-world data and reporting interesting findings, made possible by the data pipelines we set up in phase 1. We also developed visualizations for different perspectives and audiences, allowing technicians and decision makers to view their data from multiple angles and arrive at the best action plan possible.

The digital transformation ended up saving millions of dollars per year, or about 5% overall savings for the business unit. The organization went from having no data and no solution, to digitally transformed and data-driven, saving a good amount of money in operational cost as a result.

That’s why metrics matter. Even tightly-run operations can benefit from improvements and efficiency finding. But, if you don’t have any metrics, that path is unclear. Even if you have a roadmap in mind, examining, aggregating, and putting your data to use can reshape it, revealing aspects about your business you hadn’t considered. The simple fact is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Migrating your metrics to the cloud and applying a data solution removes one of those variables and gives you enhanced visibility into your operations, allowing for information to be viewed from many angles and presented for different audiences.

Metrics matter because they are your business. They can be the pulse of your overall business health; a window into defects, pain points, and opportunities for improvements; a chance to better understand your customers and provide the optimal experience. Digital transformation in the real world can be a daunting prospect – but with the right partner, funneling your IoT data through a solid pipeline to the cloud will always be worthwhile, and could reveal untold aspects of your business. Metrics matter because there’s always valuable information in your data, and leveraging this often underserved facet of your company can only make you stronger.

If you want to learn more about how your metrics can accelerate your company, or how your IoT setup can be enhanced, drop us a line at data@lixar.com. Want to talk to us in person? Join us at Future of Operations in Calgary, on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019. Discover the latest trends in the application of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. See the lessons learned from successful project implementations and understand the path you can take to implement analytics in your own environment.