Leasing Professionals

Ashley Sowerby warns that too much data, without any strategic purpose, is being collected by UK fleets

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The possibilities presented by emerging “big data” seem overwhelming for fleets and fleet managers tend to think that a use can be found for almost all of it.

You might find this in an area like telematics. Your supplier might say to you that they can tell you when a van load door is opened and that you can geo-fence.

Now, for some fleets, those options are genuinely useful but many others will tick those boxes just because it is something that is on offer and simply sounds as though it should managerially be useful.

Switching off

But we are aware of fleets who have taken sophisticated telematics packages and turned off the data feed after a fortnight because they were being swamped by data for which they had no purpose.

This was not limited to telematics but could be seen in many kinds of areas where new technology meant that the amount of data available to fleets was beginning to rise exponentially.

The flood of data can leave fleet managers confused. We can see it in fleets that take large amounts of maintenance data, for example, and this something that is only going to get more acute with the rise of the connected car.

It might be impressive for you to glance at your screen and know that the engine of a vehicle 200 miles away is turning over a 1,800 rpm – but does it really help you to manage your fleet more effectively?

Before committing to take data, fleets needed to ensure that it would help them to meet their strategic aims.

We work with some fleets where there might be 15 different data feeds and they all have a purpose but others have four and only use two of them. It is all about what works most effectively for your organisation.

Recently, much of the work that we have undertaken has been aimed at producing software that helps fleets to make sense of big data, for example, creating reports that have a genuine and specific use.

Ashley Sowerby is managing director at Chevin