The story of a taxi drivers search for meaning

June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

…. (or how to get the management information your business needs)

A taxi driver from New Zealand was recently featured as part of a review of the future of the internet by Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, two of the world’s recognised leaders in the sector. What caught their eye, was not his erudite views on politics or fellow drivers, but his understanding and use of readily available technology to make a real impact on his business.

For a six week period, the taxi driver kept a log of all fares (GPS, weather, passenger and three other variables). He put the data into his computer and did some analysis to work out where he should be at any given point in the day to maximise his take. The outcome? He is making a very nice living with much less work than other taxi drivers.

The ability to draw on multiple sources of information, and combine them to give greater meaning and understanding is one of the key themes for the future of the internet. It is also of significant relevance to business today.

Does your business have the relevant management information (MI) it requires to make key strategic decisions? Are you getting real meaning from your MI?

4 steps to take

1 Understand the information that you need to run the business.

2 Plan how to get this information

3 Combine the information to give meaning

4 Present the key findings

The temptation in a process like this is to deliver a volume of detailed information, at which point the meaning is then lost.

The output should be a review of the key indicators (as noted earlier – around five) with commentary to interpret that information. Making reference to budgets or trends will help reinforce the analysis.

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