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Using Data To Prevent Crime & Capture Contracts

July 16, 2012

By Craig Guarente, CEO, Palisade Consulting Group

Predictive analytics is all the rage. Whether it’s gigantic software companies snapping up smaller specialty firms, or cities across the country using data to predict crime, the true power of harnessing the right data is making headlines.  Just this week there was news detailing how cities in California have been beta testing new software that can predict where the next crime is going to happen.  (See article) It’s pretty amazing stuff and sure beats waiting for the crime to happen.   This is a police force being a true crime prevention force, rather than just crime responders.

At Palisade Consulting Group we’ve been using data in a very similar way to help companies predict where the contract requests are coming, when they will occur, what potential problems are likely to occur, the list goes on and on.    Using data to make decisions and drive behavior is nothing new.  However, doing it effectively in the contracts space is new, and presents some unique challenges.

One major problem is how the contracts function and the entire contracting process is decentralized and fragmented.  You can’t gather data if there is no form to it.  Another major problem, and I say this with all due respect to my legal eagle friends, is the general aversion lawyers have with numbers and putting their work in boxes to be measured and analyzed.   The hardest part about using data is getting people to accept the numbers.  That’s why it takes process work, software work,  cross team collaboration work, and experience to pull all the parties together to make effective use of data.

Traditional contract organizations are built to have their clients wait.  It doesn’t matter how fast you go as a contracts professional, the person who is looking for the contract is going to wait.  It may be a month, a week, or an hour, but there is still a waiting process.   You need to change that conversation.  Instead of a request coming to you and there being a wait time, how about you go to your internal customer and say something like, “I know 100 requests are coming in this week.  Where are they?”  That type of dialogue is empowering and enables for faster more effective interactions.    You can lower your costs and reduce your risks by only working on “real deals.”

I could go on and on with how using predictive analytics can improve your corporate contracting processes, decision making, and bottom line.  If you want to know more about how computers and data are used in crime prevention just do a search on “NYC Compstat”.  There is some good stuff out there.

2 Comments
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