Annual Review & Outlook 2013: IBM

Keith DierkxRailroads are no strangers to operational efficiencies or being on the leading edge of new technologies. In 2013, I expect to see railways put more attention on the treasure trove of data they’ve been acquiring, especially from the instrumentation of their assets and infrastructure.

Managing and optimizing rail network infrastructure is a complex process requiring innovative technologies and techniques. Being able to mine data for insight and act on it, whether informed predictions or more prescriptive management of operations, can bring measurable positive results to the bottom line.

The first step is evolving information management strategies, taking inventory of all of the data railroads have and bringing it to together. Putting this “natural resource” of rail data to the most effective use will take time. Just like almost every other industry, it is often far-flung, in silos, structured, unstructured and duplicated in different systems.

Next, it’s important to operationalize the insight and build the capability to deliver the business improvements quickly.

It’s time well spent for the near- and long-term results it can bring. While it may not seem easy to connect together at first glance, companies that do will put themselves on a path to transforming their business. The power of finding and using actionable insight from data could provide a competitive advantage and will certainly mean more operational efficiencies at a minimal investment.

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