The need for organizations to gather business intelligence has changed the face of risk management for many businesses and continues to be a growing trend. Some companies in the Asia Pacific region, however, are utilizing both physical data and IT data to enhance risk management options and gather a complete view of any given situation.
Business intelligence, by definition, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. Often referred to as BI, it is a discipline made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting. In the risk management world, BI hinges on gathering information about a given incident, using sources such as video surveillance, transactional information, time-stamped information and much more to build a complete picture of a specific incident.
Unstructured Data and Learning
Throughout the world, retail business, critical infrastructure, educational institutions, hospitals and many other organizations already gather video data to secure valuable assets, ensure the safety of customers and protect high-level technology. Much of the data being collected, however, can be interpreted in a different way.
“What we try to provide is actionable intelligence,” said Kevin Wine, Vice President of Marketing, Verint® Video and Situation Intelligence Solutions™. Verint’s Situation Management Center™ gathers data from areas that are a little bit unstructured in content – that is, video surveillance, audio recordings from customer service call centers or 911 recordings. “When we look at business intelligence broadly, we look for ways to add structure to these non-structured data sets,” he said.
“Using a variety of approaches, software platforms look for other known events that are happening at the same time to track in parallel or related systems in the same context or through various forms of analytics – patterns happening in video, behaviors that are happening, and speech patterns to identify specific words,” Wine said. Using all of this information together, businesses can work toward mitigating risk.
Situation Management and Incident Reporting
One way that businesses can leverage the use of multiple sources of business intelligence to address risk management is through the use of situation management or security management software. These comprehensive platforms use data gathered from multiple systems to help streamline operations and enhance safety. Operators can view several points of interest on one interface and identify incidents before they impact business operation. New levels of situational awareness are realized by combining multiple data sources including maps, security sensors, traffic reports, intelligence alerts, emergency communications among others. This unified view helps filter false alarms and automatically identify incidents, such as a security breach, false claims of injury, and security or safety risks.
For example, financial institutions can use these advanced platforms to detect fraudulent activity at an ATM by pulling from various sources — video surveillance for license plate detection or facial recognition, time stamps on the ATM receipts or video, and proof of activity from a teller or witness to the activity. Using all of these sources, a bank can pinpoint specific details of an incident to provide adequate information to authorities.
Not only do situation management platforms allow multiple information channels to be used and assessed for risk management purposes, these solutions help users institute standard operating procedures when an incident occurs. In many countries, campuses that receive federal financial aid programs are required to adhere to specific regulations and provide an annual security report, crime log, issue timely warnings and provide crime statistics for campus incidents. To adhere to this rule, campuses must gather information about incidents as they occur and do so by establishing standard procedures for handling incidents.
“When we look at the challenges of trying to collect information about what has happened, standardizing responses to calls coming in to a public safety office is paramount,” Wine said. “Situation management software platforms provide that standardization – whoever is taking the call has a structured format at their fingertips to address the incident and they know exactly what is expected of them. Operators are prompted to ask anything they need to ask, certain entities can be made aware and dispatched to investigate and if it’s related to a data breach, the IT department can begin an immediate investigation into the incident.”
Gathering Retail Intelligence
Another trend in business intelligence is the use of IT and physical data in the retail sector, not only to help mitigate risk but to guide best practices for retail sales.
“In retail, the typical use of video surveillance is for loss prevention,” Wine said. “It’s grown to a point now where we’re not only providing information management for security loss prevention, but our peers in marketing and merchandising are using video data in the positioning of products on the retail floor, and analyzing the success and failure of certain retail campaigns.”
Retail entities are using the information gathered to analyze traffic patterns in a store — answering questions such as how many people pass by a specific product display per hour, where people walk, what they stop to look at and where they spend their time. This data can be used to optimize display placement and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
“The retail sector is always looking for ways to optimize revenue streams,” Wine said. Take, for example, a busy grocery store. Seeing long lines at the checkout counters may deter customers from spending time in the store perusing aisles, causing the store to lose revenue. Using business intelligence, stores can now count the number of customers in the store and anticipate the time it will take these customers to choose their items and head toward the checkout counter. Using this information, stores can make sure their checkout counters are adequately staffed to mitigate any lost revenue as a result of customers leaving.
“These stores may start their day with only one or two people manning the check out, but store managers can anticipate how many more cashiers they will need by the end of the day based on this business intelligence gathered over time,” Wine said. “It comes down to forward thinking and assessing how these retailers can reuse an investment they’ve already made — video surveillance — and apply it to maximize business opportunity.”
An ‘Intelligence’ Strategy
Strategic business intelligence gathering also can be provided through the use of global positioning systems (GPS), providing a location-based approach for security outside of the boundaries that are typically covered.
“Being able to connect a known location with additional information about what is happening at that time has become a prevalent tool with security and for use in wider business implications,” Wine said. This brand of business intelligence allows companies to track the movement of employees or assets that may need to move to another location — that is, vehicles or valuable equipment. Sending this information back in regards to the security of the assets, in the event of an incident in a specific area, security or patrol officers within range of the incident can be dispatched using the data gathered through GPS and other avenues for information gathering.
“Coupling GPS and mobile capabilities in the event of an emergency when you’re trying to protect people and assets gives a business additional value out of the information being gathered,” Wine said.
Future of Business Intelligence in Risk Management
Businesses are constantly finding new ways to use this information to better serve their customers, shareholders and vertical markets. Using business intelligence to assess risk management is taking hold as more and more companies adopt a wider view of situation management — utilizing data from both IT and physical sources to build a clear picture of how to better protect their staff, customers and assets. This growing trend will continue to find ways to better use existing infrastructure to serve the goals of companies, whether related to security, retail and business strategy, or public safety concerns.