Business analytics is one word which I started hearing from 2005 or so. This is much more jazzier form of the plain Management Information System of the early years of the computer. In simple terms, it means getting an insight from the customers dealings in the past and coming up with better alternatives and ideas to meet the customer needs. While this is being pursued by the private commercial organizations, there is a lot that government or public organizations need to do to provide a better experience for the customer. i will illustrate the same with a real life example of reserving a berth on Indian Railways.
Recently I was to travel to from Bangalore to Hyderabad and utilized the online reservation system of Railways to book a seat. While I have got the confirmed reservation for my onward journey, the status for my return journey was WL 119/WL92. So I had to make a decision on whether I should continue with my reservation for return journey or find alternate modes of travel. I had no means of knowing the chance of confirming a seat or a berth with the status that I was presented. As Railways has multitude of quotas including Tatkal and categories of reservation, I doubt whether it would be possible for even Railway officers to give any probability of confirmation. The only useful information is the final reservation charts for the train on the same day of week/month in the recent past. But these are not made available on the internet. If an analytics application is developed utilizing the past history of final train reservation charts for the same day of the previous week/month/year and the availability of total seats, it will help provide guidance to the travellers when they have to book a ticket.
Referring back to my case, I just went ahead with reservation with a prayer on my lips.I tracked the status regularly, and few days before the status got changed to RAC and then finally I was alloted a berth in the train after the TTE found few vacant berths after the train had commenced its journey.
Text: CC by SA 3.0
Image: From Wiki Commons :Indian_metre_gauge_Train.jpg
Posted by Arjun at Saturday, August 15, 2009 comments (0)