Written by Jared Hillam
The Transportation Agency Problem
Working with transit systems across the world, we’ve come to realize that some of the biggest challenges that transit agencies of all sizes face is a lack of alignment on what success looks like and a dynamic, at-a-glance way to track and report on only those metrics most critical to agency success.
In football, it’s clear where the end zone is. In transit, it’s often the loudest constituency – whether customers, elected officials, media, or other stakeholders – that are setting where the goal post is.
At TransPro, we work with agencies to create an environment where everyone from the Board to the Management Team to customers and other stakeholders, has a clear understanding of what the agency’s ultimate goals are and whether they’re on track to achieve them. Our collaborative process brings together and prioritizes goals across key strategic areas of focus identified by the agency, such as Financial Stability, Customer Experience, Safety, Employee Performance, and Community Value.
Transit agencies are typically swimming in data from numerous sources, making it difficult to have a comprehensive view of the health of the agency. The transit industry also lacks a meaningful, standardized, timely way to compare agency performance in key performance areas beyond the usual basic operating statistics.
Benchmarking to Become Best-in-Class
Recognizing this challenge, we founded the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG), a consortium of about two dozen mid-sized transit agencies that provides a forum for comparison across a variety of performance metrics. By enabling transit agencies to compare their performance against their peers, each member agency benefits by being able to identify where their performance gaps are and what practices their peers are putting into action in order to achieve positive results.
The Next Generation
Since founding ABBG, we have gone on to work with transit agencies of all sizes nationwide who lack an easy way to benchmark their performance against peers. Partnering with Intricity, our vision is to empower agencies to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aligned around success for their agency and then funnel that into a powerful digital dashboard updated in real-time that allows each agency to keep tabs on their own progress and see how they stack up against their peers. We call this solution transDASH.
transDASH ushers in a new generation of analytical capabilities to help you run your agency. The solution is in the cloud, and leverages what we have learned from ABBG for helping agencies measure their effectiveness.
The transDASH Solution in Detail
Using the Intricity Information Factory as a Service, transDASH includes all the best practice deployment aspects of Data Integration and Business Intelligence into a single package. This cloud analytics architecture takes technical headache out of onboarding best of breed analytics, and puts it in the hands of data management leaders.
This also means that you get an enterprise class analytics backbone which can be deployed agency wide.
Sample transDASH Solution Architecture
The final IFaaS solution architecture will include a more specific set of architected components specific to your agency requirements. However Intricity will leverage the foundational Information Factory as a Service.
Intricity manages the connectors to each source of data in the solution architecture. Some of these sources might require a validation routine. As the various vendors provide updates and changes to source data systems, Intricity adjusts the environment to stay current with these changes
Intricity provides the orchestration to ensure that data is acquired when it is needed/available for a refresh. This orchestration also takes into account the logic necessary to trigger events for data acquisition at the appropriate times. Sometimes this means live orchestration as part of a data onboarding process.
Intricity provides a persistent stage of the desired data in the cloud, complete with an archiving strategy. This staged data can be queried in its raw form, but more importantly it ensures that the processed data is gracefully extensible, thus if the source systems change the dashboards and analytics can remain untouched.
Intricity’s vast experience in providing measures with enabling attributes, delivers the essential building blocks for meaningful cross functional analytics. The conformed data attributes provide consistent building blocks which any Business Intelligence tool can leverage. Thus, enabling the BI layer to truly focus on visualizing results and not the heavy lifting data logic. This results in faster query times, consistent answers regardless of the BI tool being used, and high scalability of the data footprint.These Data Marts are delivered in a scalable cloud based Data Warehousing solution thus are highly scalable and extensible.
BI Semantic Layer
A well-defined Semantic Layer provides a fertile ground for report developers to focus on report design and not the SQL code. This layer abstracts the logic which would normally be nested inside reports and places them into a single location so report logic can be propagated from a single source of truth. Thus enabling the BI itself to be highly governed and secured. For example, multiple user accounts can be part of a single metadata query, which will restrict the results based on their user credentials.
The same is true for other points of logic, like formatting logic, equations, names for data columns, and a whole host of other logical controls which need to be governed.
REST Web Services is at the heart of the entire Information Factory. The purpose of REST is to ensure that the solution can satisfy both internal applications as well as external data requests with relative ease. By allowing the IFaaS services to be called as REST services, the solution can be programmatically connected and interacted with as an extension of other functions.
Intricity’s IFaaS solution also includes the production of Governed BI Content. These represent the reports and analytics which the organization would like to publish as sanctioned content. Intricity will build and maintain this content. Additional content can be requested as business needs change. The Data Marts produced by Intricity can be leveraged outside of the sanctioned reporting system as the logic for the data is centralized in those Data Marts.
Should your agency desire more BI variety beyond what is provided in the IFaaS, sandboxes for BI can be created from the trusted Data Marts allowing for R&D outside the governed BI system which Intricity manages. These sandbox environments are billed separately based on the compute requirements.
Intricity leverages an end to end encrypted analytics solution trusted by some of the most stringent Government and Private Sector institutions. Additionally, Intricity delivers a methodology for managing keys which ensures their safe keeping and tracking.
Intricity checks in all its work into a secured Git repository which your agency will have full access to audit at any time. This ensures that your organization can get visibility into the components being built and the logic being used to integrate and present the data.
The process starts with a strategy engagement driven by the TransPro team of transportation industry experts. TransPro facilitates management teams, staff, and stakeholders through a series of collaborative sessions that aim to define and align the entire organization around the definition of success and metrics for measuring progress. After first defining the Mission, Vision, and Values, we work to identify the top outcomes, what we call “Success Moments,” that the agency aims to achieve in the next year or two. With success defined, we then work to develop and prioritize meaningful metrics that will become part of the performance scorecard.
Transforming Goals into Analytics
While the strategy is being conducted, Intricity conducts sessions to develop a matrix which outlines the correlation between the attributes your agency wants to analyze and the process owners requesting those attributes. This enables all parties to see what the data needs are across processes within your agency.
This ultimately leads us to being able to refine our transportation model to best fit your agency’s analytics needs.
Transforming Leaders. Transforming Organizations. Producing Breakthrough Results.Through strategy development, performance-based management, meeting alignment, results analytics, process improvement, customer satisfaction measurement devices and the construction of industry leading information systems, TransPro has helped management teams create the culture for double digit improvements in efficiency and quality.Our collaborative process gives our clients actionable tools that allow them to drive measurable change. Constructing high performance organizations is possible – and we work with our public sector client base to create an environment for improved, measurable and sustainable performance.
Who is Intricity?
Intricity is a specialized selection of over 100 Data Management Professionals, with offices located across the USA and Headquarters in New York City. Our team of experts has implemented in a variety of Industries including, Healthcare, Insurance, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Media, Pharmaceutical, Retail, and others. Intricity is uniquely positioned as a partner to the business that deeply understands what makes the data tick. This joint knowledge and acumen has positioned Intricity to beat out its Big 4 competitors time and time again. Intricity’s area of expertise spans the entirety of the information lifecycle. This means when you’re problem involves data; Intricity will be a trusted partner. Intricity's services cover a broad range of data-to-information engineering needs:
What Makes Intricity Different?
While Intricity conducts highly intricate and complex data management projects, Intricity is first a foremost a Business User Centric consulting company. Our internal slogan is to Simplify Complexity. This means that we take complex data management challenges and not only make them understandable to the business but also make them easier to operate. Intricity does this through using tools and techniques that are familiar to business people but adapted for IT content.
Intricity authors a highly sought after Data Management Video Series targeted towards Business Stakeholders at https://www.intricity.com/videos. These videos are used in universities across the world. Here is a small set of universities leveraging Intricity’s videos as a teaching tool:
Talk With a Specialist
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