Share2010 Keynote: John Michael Simpson from MDOT on "Microsoft SharePoint Saves Lives: Utilizing SharePoint Business Intelligence to Reduce Traffic Fatalities"

John Michael Simpson, the CIO from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, talked about how they are using SharePoint to reduce traffic fatalities. John talked – no PowerPoint – here are some key points:

  • Line of business applications and data are largely in place. The next challenge is “animating the knowledge worker.” John sees this as the tipping point.
  • Can’t talk to business leaders about “business intelligence.” Need to come up with an “a-ha moment” – what’s the power of business intelligence in our work?
  • John wanted to see whether he could use SharePoint business intelligence to see what was going on with traffic fatalities. By looking at the data over a four year
    period, he found a big decrease in right lane departures, on rural roads. The reason? Construction teams had been installing rumble strips on rural roads. Huge correlation between construction work and the decrease in right lane departures.
  • The implication? Have sign-off for increasing rumble strips from 20% of roads to 80% of roadway. The can trace the correlation.
  • Going forward, can look at the type of roads that certain contractors are particularly good at, or especially bad at. Can then make relevant decisions about what types of projects you give to contractors.
  • Not so keen on My Sites as a social networking tool. Took a different approach – intersect the time sheet and incorporates the project work (via the project code) to build a historical picture of what people have been doing. Creates a searchable space of expertise.
  • Why Microsoft? They already have a large footprint in the enterprise – the structured data, the unstructured data (email), the Office suite.
  • To make BI work, you need to drive accessibility to BI down. The people in the organization know the context that central people don’t know.
  • Collaboration story – about mowers and reducing costs per mowing acre. 82 maintenance supervisors – have access to all mowing data across MDOT. Can see average cost per acre, and who has lower costs. Can then start people working together – to understand base reasons (different mower, lower maintenance costs, etc.). Can then try more widely, and use as input into purchasing decisions.
  • What John would love at MDOT is complete transparency at MDOT, with a set of indicators they can be held accountable for, and the goal for reducing overall labor costs. If MDOT meets them, there would be performance payments to MDOT staff. Would help create energy and enthusiasm at work. (Aligning intent and incentives).
  • Key metric for success: when the system goes down, people call to complain very quickly. This shows deep adoption. John believes BI is going in this way – like where email is today.
  • ROI for manual forms, to electronic forms. Takes 2 hours to get a manual form from where they are generated into the system (2 hours of hands-on time) – from generation, to routing, to input, to classification.. With one of MDOT’s a new electronic form, it takes 12 minutes of hands-on time.

For a self-described “non-professional speaker,” John was fantastic. The audience was listening intently, they loved his jokes, and were with him all the way. Well done John.

Aside: when I first saw the brochure, I saw the name “John Michael Simpson” on the list. Given that I’m “Michael John Sampson,” I did a double take, thinking the brochure people had got my name mixed up.

Questions
1. What about the security around My Sites? Governance is critical, around policies and so on. But equally, you just have to go for it. Many people will raise red flags, but ultimately they are wrong. We need to get it out there.

2. For BI informing policy, do you see this being adopted by other government departments? Not yet. Are trying to spread the gospel about SharePoint BI – believes it will spread virally. If you can prove the value, others will jump on it. These systems are different from mandated systems – people don’t have to use them.

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