Best of BI Editor's Choice Awards 2012

These 10 honorees were selected for their ability to make better business decisions using BI and predictive analytics tools.

For a charitable organization, boosting donations is the holy grail. For a trucking company, the goal is to increase driver productivity without sacrificing safety. And at a cancer treatment center, improving patient health is the top priority. But whatever the goal, the 10 organizations spotlighted in Computerworld's first-ever Best of BI Editor's Choice Awards have learned how to get the valuable insights they need from their data using business intelligence and analytics tools.

Chosen by a panel of Computerworld editors, these organizations are making better business decisions and, in some cases, generating new revenue streams and tapping into new markets. Read on to find out how they're taking BI to the next level.

Beeline zeroes in on new data-driven avenue for sales

Beeline bills itself as a provider of intelligent workforce solutions, offering software and services to help other companies manage their contingent and project-based labor needs.

Given Beeline's mission, technical product manager Martin J. Matula says it's only logical that the Jacksonville, Fla., company would use BI tools to enhance what it can offer its clients.

"We kind of 'productized' our data -- that's a simple way of saying it," he explains.

Matula says the company had long had the idea that it could use its vast volume of data to better serve clients. But it wasn't until 2008, when it created its BI analysis tool on the Tibco Spotfire platform, that the concept really took off.

"That's when we were really able to get into analytics and beyond reporting, so we could combine data sets from all our clients and try to standardize the data. That's when we really stepped up our game as far as business intelligence goes," Matula says.

Now, instead of just producing reports that focus on what has happened, Matula says Beeline analyzes data to offer insight about what will happen.

Its showcase tool, SmartRate, uses billing rates to make predictions on rates paid to contractors, he explains. Clients use the analysis to make informed decisions on what they should pay their contractors.

"We always had the ability to report, but the visualization tools we now have allow us to go in and look at large sets of data and slice and dice so you can pull insight out of the data in real time," Matula explains.

Not only is the ability to produce this information beneficial to Beeline's clients, but it's also critical to Beeline, because it helps the company differentiate itself and retain clients and generate revenue by offering a new line of data-driven services, Matula says.

John Hagerty, an analyst at Gartner, says few companies are adopting a model like Beeline's, noting that only those with sophisticated capabilities can drive revenue in that way.

Matula says the goal now is to produce and sell more predictive information.

"We want to be consultative to clients," he says. "We want to have the insight to go to clients and say, 'This is what's happening.'"

Next: Booz Allen's $50 million BI investments pays dividends

Mary K. Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at marykpratt@verizon.net.

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