Keeping global workforces safe by better managing data

Before implementing iJET's services, it wasn't unusual for iJET customers (large, multinational companies) to have a tough time determining how many employees were located in a region that suddenly turned into a world hot spot – be it from natural disaster, the outbreak of violence or even a terrorist attack.

“Knowing the exact number and location of travelers, expatriates and physical assets relative to potential threats is really important for security and risk management staff at large companies because it helps them understand the actions they need to take to keep their employees safe,’’ explains Rich Murnane, iJET Director of Enterprise Data Operations.

When we had the Arab Spring, or the train bombing in Barcelona or the tsunami and radiation spill in Japan, iJET’s intelligence and data provided clients with the insights they needed to understand the potential threats to their personnel, operational facilities and supply chain.

Richard Murnane
iJET Director of Enterprise Data Operations

So what does a data guy have to do with operational risk management? It turns out the quickest way to count heads is to merge and sort data from disparate data sources. iJET combines the data from human resources and the travel data from reservation systems of the organization’s multiple travel agent partners and automates the process of looking for duplicate and inaccurate information. Now, if HR has Joe Smith listed as working in a hot spot, but the travel agent data shows him on another continent attending a conference, security personnel does not have to worry about reserving a seat on a flight out of the affected country.

Murnane’s team cleanses data that feeds iJET’s operation center with real-time information. The company provides operational risk management services to over 500 multinational companies and government organizations. “During Arab Spring, or the train bombing in Barcelona, or the tsunami and radiation spill in Japan, iJET’s intelligence and data provided clients with the insights they needed to understand the potential threats to their personnel,’’ Murnane explains.

The difficulty of keeping tabs on employees

“Some of these trips may end up being in two or three different places with maybe two or three different reservation IDs,’’ Murnane says. “We need to aggregate that data together and then reduce the duplication to make sure that we really do show the correct number of people in each location.” And knowing that number is critical to deciding on logistics – like how many charter planes to hire for an evacuation. One too many is a huge wasted expense. One too few can threaten someone’s life.

The information is even used proactively. iJET’s staff can see who will be traveling to a specific country in the next five or 10 days. “We can generate these reports in real time,’’ says Murnane, adding they’ve even created a dashboard and notification options that will show customers if more than a certain number of employees are booked on the same flight.

The key to this work is a sophisticated approach to data management using master data management and data governance techniques. Murnane can’t rip and replace the systems that hold and classify client HR and travel data. After all, most of the data is beyond iJET’s control. Instead, he uses data management best practices to control how the information enters iJET’s systems and how it is identified and managed once it gets there.

He also works with companies to improve their data at the source. “Data is the lifeblood of an organization, and we work with our clients to improve their information by working with them on best data policies and practices.”

Keeping track of physical assets

Murnane’s group also doesn’t just use data to keep employees safe – the team uses data to track physical assets such as warehouses, distribution facilities, offices, oil rigs and mines. If a hurricane hits a region, an executive might need to know what operational or physical assets could be impacted. But often there is confusion:

  • An office might be listed with a PO box for an address in one system and with its physical address in another.
  • Two divisions might share a distribution facility, and each lists it under a slightly different address.
  • A property might have been sold, but that information wasn’t shared throughout the company.

Murnane and his team hunt down the right data sources and then use data integration and cleansing to keep an accurate, master record of these resources. In some cases, he works with clients to compare data quality so the organizations get a sense of the additional costs they are incurring because of data problems.

A competitive edge

Companies don’t just use iJET data to keep track of assets and keep employees safe. They’ve quickly figured out that iJET is a source of very clean, very well managed data for:

  • Strategic purchasing decisions. iJET data helps companies understand their travel patterns, allowing clients to better understand their spend with travel agents, hotels, airlines, and travel insurers
  • iJET has even worked with a very large Federal client to manage overall travel expenses. iJET can quickly supply this client with data on global travel costs. “We can tell them if they’ve spent 6 percent more on trips or had 3 percent more staff traveling,” Murnane says.
  • Tracking expatriates and their families and dependents. Global companies often have employees working outside their countries of origin and iJET works closely with clients to manage their data on expatriate assignments in a mature fashion.

Murnane says this type of work can’t be done without automating the process of cleaning and compiling data. “We tried (without it), and it took up to three weeks for some customers.” he explains. “That’s too much effort and too much time to be effective.’’.

Challenge

iJET needed to improve, organize and control data to help keep their clients’ employees and assets safe.

Solution

SAS® Data Management

Benefits

iJET’s intelligence and data-enabled insights helps clients know how many and which employees and operational facilities could be affected by a potential threat.

The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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