- Created on Friday, 20 May 2011 03:22
- Written by Business Travel News
- Category: Business Travel
Chicago - By altering her approach to data, Accenture senior director of global travel and events Mary Bastrentaz helped develop a reporting system to better identify within her company unnecessary travel and excessive travel spending. Speaking here this month at the Business Travel Media Group's Tech Talk 2011 conference, Bastrentaz championed
Chicago - By altering her approach to data, Accenture senior director of global travel and events Mary Bastrentaz helped develop a reporting system to better identify within her company unnecessary travel and excessive travel spending. Speaking here this month at the Business Travel Media Group's Tech Talk 2011 conference, Bastrentaz championed what she called "data minimalism." Much like an eager spouse who suddenly gets on a cleaning kick in the garage and basement, buyers often need to take stock of the massive amounts of data they receive and figure out how to boil it down to what is actionable, she said.
"What we're talking about is a data evolution journey," she said. "Instead of going data-crazy, what we're trying to do is narrow things down, be that minimalist to specific objectives and business needs rather than just throwing a lot of things out."
Bastrentaz and her team during the past few years consolidated into a single agency and technology platform Accenture's formerly fragmented travel program. As a result, she's been able to get raw data in a more timely manner than before. The agency, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, acts as a data consolidator and can provide within two days 94 percent of spending data, she said.
Her team also helped to create an automated, web-based reporting tool to analyze the data. "We wanted to go to pull instead of push," Bastrentaz said.
One key use of that data has been enhancing Accenture's reports on the activities of its highest-spending travelers. Under the old system, those reports came almost two months after the end of a quarter, so the information already was outdated. By partnering with suppliers and Accenture's information services resources, Bastrentaz now produces those reports a few days after the end of each month.
"Business units can find those trips where there's 10 people going to Hong Kong at the same time and find out why they're doing it," Bastrentaz said. "They can find people who are spending tremendous amounts throughout the year and maybe spot patterns."
The reports have become "the darling of the organization and top leadership," Bastrentaz said. The company's COO has used them to directly contact the top 200 travelers.
Bastrentaz also uses the data to produce traveler dashboards with reports similar to a credit card statement in which travelers can see the total time they've spent on airplanes, the miles they've flown and their carbon emissions. In the next phase, travelers will be able to compare their patterns to other travelers, she added.
"We're trying to build a cost-conscious culture from the bottom up," Bastrentaz said. "Often travelers have no idea what they're spending. They know what they're spending for a particular trip, but on a broad level, they don't know."
What becomes of the data that doesn't fit into these reports or provide other actionable information? "It goes into the Dumpster," Bastrentaz said.
Other buyers at the conference echoed her "data minimalism" approach. Oracle senior North America travel manager Rita Visser said her organization focuses on examining data that can identify specific problems or goals, such as revealing when travelers book fewer than seven days in advance to get bonus frequent flyer miles.
"We use it to show ways we can meet the needs of some of our global initiatives, such as total cost of ownership and corporate social responsibility," Visser said. "We also can point out to the organizations the things that they're doing right and how they're helping to support Oracle’s processes."