Big data can improve business

Big data is very much in focus right now. But can it actually help business and support the customers?  “Absolutely,” says Robert Valton who works at the unit Volvo Group Telematics at Volvo IT, and explains how.


Today an enormous amount of data is generated and stored every second of every day, for example data about the vehicle, driver behaviour, road conditions, traffic information etcetera. Big data is considered as one of seven mega trends identified by Tech Watch & Business Innovation, Volvo IT’s global skill centre for future IT areas.

“I view Big data as both internal and external data that can provide business insight and create business value. It makes it possible for us to be our customers’ closest business partner and to capture profitable growth opportunities,” says Robert Valton, project manager at Volvo Group Telematics.

Business case enabler
He has made a business case with the help of real data and connected vehicles together with Anders Edenholm, director Used Trucks in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Through this we have identified the business value. For example; we can identify how many drivers the vehicle has had, how it has been driven and the service history,” says Robert Valton.

Volvo and Chalmers joined forces to investigate the challenges and possibilities with Big data in this business case. The focus was on how to get insight in future business by analyzing existing internal and external data and thereby predicting the future. Together they addressed data from two angels – from a business and operational point of view managed by Volvo together with a sense making and adoption point of view managed by Chalmers represented by Pawel Woźniak from the Department of Applied IT.

Data to help predict and prevent
Data can be capitalized already today. However, the approach tends to be reactive, for instance asking why the truck broke down. With better insight, there’s a possibility for another approach; to predict and prevent unplanned stops by pinpointing the trucks that need service or by being transparent to the next owner.

“The potential is strongly connected to our work to be a customer focused company. A better possibility to match the right truck with the right customer on the right market is a key enabler for us. The Big data capabilities can also help improve risk management which is an important success parameter for our business,” says Anders Edenholm.

Moving forward there’s all possibilities to continue regarding data as an asset. In the future one answer can be a new role of a data scientist – people with analytic, statistic and mathematical skills that can address the data from a data mining point of view.

“But the most important thing of all is our mind-set about a customer driven approach where data is an asset in the complete organization and process. In the end we need science and business to come together to create value for our customers,” says Anders Edenholm.

More facts
Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target, as of 2012 ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.


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