Travel 24th April 2018 - 3 min read

Digital assistants start the conversation with travel data

By Joni Lindes

Companies harnessing the benefits of big data are encountering a major problem- how do we share this data in a meaningful way? Social media enterprises like Twitter and Facebook have capitalised on the “share” button- introducing sharing information as a valuable tool for transformation. If this is correct, why not take the sharing approach to a corporate setting? An added benefit is we can do this with data-driven insight.

Cue the next trend in data analytics- data socialisation– an upcoming new discipline determining methods of sharing insight gained from data. PredictX is preparing for the future with a data socialisation solution that is infinitely more social. We are making deep data analysis talk- through a digital assistant. Data might be the language of mathematicians and scientists yet words and language are universally understood amongst all human beings. Team members can interact with their data platform in the same way they would when chatting to a colleague over lunch.

Digital assistants will become the new Travel Advisers

We all know digital assistants as the handy new products being introduced to your home. Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are used to play music and hear new recipes yet, in business, they have yet to become a mainstream product.

This is surprising as they add infinite value to any business model. Digital assistants use artificial intelligence to comb through scores of data at a rate no human can. Add natural language processing and we have a new, and perhaps, most valued, addition to the team.

“Open up Travel Adviser,” is what you can say to gain access into PredictX’s advanced data analysis platform combining TMC, Card and Expense data along with company hierarchies. Not only can they gain access, the digital assistant will navigate complicated dashboards to spew out tailor-made results.

“Welcome, I can provide you an overview about the information of your company. Try to start asking me what’s my total spend,” says the assistant.

The assistant will not only give you the numbers but will also be able to email you a detailed report. Metrics can be compared and flagged issues can be examined. For example, users can ask who the non-compliant travellers in a programme are.

Digital assistants are also there for you from a Duty of Care perspective. The device draws insight in real-time and can locate any problems or mishaps among travellers. All you have to do is ask. The assistant goes one step further and, upon your request, can take positive action. For example, if V.I.P travellers miss their flight, the assistant will book them into a hotel.

Maximum impact at minimum cost and effort is what data plans to accomplish in the first place. Digital assistants accomplish this in a manner everybody can access. You can hear all the relevant information, just like you would in a casual chat with a colleague. It certainly beats combing through complicated data analysis results.

Digital assistants break down company silos to achieve transformation.

The rigid company silos and hierarchies existing in many companies with an in-house travel department are being systematically dismantled. The largest barrier to achieving data-driven transformation is the “no-man’s land” between data-interacting personnel, like I.T and Travel, and the key decision-makers within the company.

Often these decision-makers have the power to use insight to inform practice, yet are unable to understand the complex navigation needed to interact with data analytics tools. Data scientists, I.T and, in some cases, travel managers may understand this data yet are unable to communicate it to decision makers in a way which engages them. No engagement often means little understanding of the complexities the data discovers.

It is not surprising that data democratisation, and, in broader terms, socialisation is becoming a prominent area of concern. New ideas are being formulated so team members can share data across a company instead of leaving it trapped within the I.T department.

Digital assistants have the unique ability to be thorough data analysis experts as well as engage with any team member within a company. At the very minimum, travel managers and data scientists can breathe a sigh of relief as the onus of transforming complicated data-driven insight into knowledge understood throughout the company will no longer fall on their shoulders.

Digital assistants bring a level of humanity to the data- fusing both mathematical and narrative language together. With these devices by our side, we hope we can bring about greater change from data. Digital assistants are no longer just for a household setting. They are coming to work for your travel team.

Joni Lindes
By Joni Lindes
3 min read

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