BIG DATA: What is it's role in Emergency Response?
Many managers rely on gut instinct to make important decisions, which often leads to poor results. On the contrary, when managers insist on incorporating logic and evidence, they make better choices, benefiting their communities and the response teams serving them.
Big Data is an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process. Today, thanks to developments in technology, extremely large data sets may be analysed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to risks and response activity.
Unstructured data would have previously been considered 'dead' and of no value, but with Big Data it can be collected and analysed in order to benefit organisations. Organizations of all sizes are beginning to reap the benefits of data analytics technology. So how can Big Data benefit Response Organizations?
Focusing on the Bigger Picture
Statistical analysis of multiple responses, from a number of response teams, across a broad time frame, is a fast way of using data to see the response trends of an organization. The statistics can afford leadership an unbiased outlook of the risks faced. This allows them to mitigate and put preparation in place that is not based on uncorroborated presuppositions
Backing Judgements. Data can back up assertions
Leaders can find themselves backed into a corner when persuading people to move in a direction or take a risk based on unsubstantiated opinions. Data can provide objective goals, with stand-alone figures, as well as hard evidence to substantiate positions.
Connecting Risks to Mitigation Needs
Data can point out relationships. A careful review of data can reveal links between two variables, such as specific training and risk of incident (e.g Hazmat training and crude oil on rail incident). Using software solutions to delve into data further, can provide more specific theories about the connections to test. This will lead to more control over ensuring that teams are prepared for the most likely scenarios.
Proving Organizational Budget Needs
Response teams face a variety of fiscal issues. Sound data can often be the key to unlocking the budget you need. Achieving the maximum possible budget allocation can often only be achieved by proving the worth in your operational activities. The best way to prepare for any budget conversation is to know what’s going on in your organization today and to have the data to prove it.
Emergencies are typically complex problems with serious consequences that must be solved in a limited amount of time to reduce any possible damage. Big Data analysis leads to more confident decision making and better decisions can mean greater operational efficiencies, cost reductions and reduced risk.