The Power of Being Informed

Inform iconTransform, Connect, Inform and Protect are the four pillars of Dell Services solutions that define what we do for our customers. In my last post, we explored why seamless, trouble-free connection for an organization’s employees and customers across multiple platforms and devices is so important these days with proven examples of how our Connect strategy has made a real difference for our customers. The next customer imperative by which Dell Services differentiates itself in the marketplace is Inform, which is really all about leveraging technology to uncover meaningful, useful and actionable information for customers.

“Inform” means that we are right there with our customers, listening to them and collaborating to uncover potential gaps in data that could advance their enterprise. We’re all about using business and social media analytics that inform smart, valuable insights and strategies.

A great example of how we’ve helped a customer Inform their strategy is with the American Red Cross. We worked with them to address one of the organization’s most formidable challenges: figuring out how to leverage social media to better inform disaster response. The organization had a social media presence in place, but what it really needed was to figure out how to monitor social networks and use information gathered there to plan and strategically deploy support for those in need.

We worked with them to develop the solution – a Digital Command Center, headquartered in Washington, D.C., that featured large screens with data visualizations of relevant public conversations in real time. As one Red Cross executive stated, the new Dell system gave the organization “an elevated view of the social media conversation so that we can see more of it.” Armed with this information, Red Cross employees could then quickly identify what was happening and where and act accordingly. The new system was designed to be incredibly nimble, and more importantly, to reliably inform decisions that connect people with the information, food, water, shelter, and emotional support they need during a disaster.

In this case, Dell Services’ Inform strategy for the American Red Cross and humanitarian aid paid off. During the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the Digital Command Center enabled the Red Cross to monitor social media conversations and deploy relief efforts much more effectively than in previous disaster responses. Not only that, but because the organization’s social media presence was enhanced and the information from social media was properly filtered, staff members were able to maintain two-way dialogue with Twitter users and use the platform to provide crucial information such as shelter locations and survival tips. It was so successful the American Red Cross recently expanded the solution, opening a new Digital Operations Center in North Texas.

Beyond using social media to obtain and quickly analyze the data, we also work in analytics. Case in point: our work with Denton Independent School District, which serves about 25,000 students in North Texas. The challenge for the district was to make better use of student performance and attendance data that it collected to keep students and teachers on track.

Dell Services implemented an Education Data Management (EDM) solution that helps the district capture, store, and use real-time data in predictive analysis that helps keep students on a path toward success. The results are incredible: a staggering 146,000 hours per year of teaching time has been reclaimed because teachers can conduct more frequent assessments and respond more quickly to analyze what’s working and what’s not in terms of classroom instruction, individual students’ needs and risk levels.

“Our teachers and principals are seeing what real-time data can do to prepare our students. Education data management will soon be an imperative for school districts across the country,” says Dr. Jamie Wilson, Superintendent, Denton Independent School District.

In addition, teacher morale has improved and student attendance and graduation rates are projected to increase. At Denton Independent School District, Dell Services’ Inform imperative has resulted in a win-win for everyone.

Next up in my series on Dell Services strategic solutions for its customers: How we can help you Protect your business. 

About the Author: Suresh Vaswani