Smarter Strategy

Smarter Strategy

BI is also letting Parkway, itself, get smarter at overall business strategy. What's the best mix of monthly, valet, daily and weekly parking in a particular city? Check the BI system. Want to acquire a new lot similar to one that used to be a moneymaker at Parkway, but then failed? Check the BI system to help determine whether to draw up a more favorable contract or business plan. Workers' comp claims on the rise? Analyze which sites and employees have the most claims over a period of time, then see if new management rules or design changes are required in particular sites.

But most significant to Parkway is being able to know who its most profitable customers are. That knowledge, says Bryer, gives Parkway an opportunity to retain good customers, either through special prices, loyalty programs or other means. Parkway, in a pilot of its new customer Web site, is offering, for example, some top customers access to data from the warehouse—namely, up-to-the-minute reports on which lots are full, which lots have the best prices at any given time of day and maps helping to show customers how to get to them. In addition, some monthly customers can visit the site to get their personal account data, as well. "Say I'm going to be in the West End of the city later this week. What's the best lot I can go to? The whole point of this Web site is to provide Parkway with a way to boost its profitability and add revenues," says Anil Dilawri of Cognos Inc., the company that has been working with Bryer to set up his Web initiative. "Being able to offer extra services to its customers, Parkway can help to do that."

To be sure, one big complaint about data warehousing and business intelligence in general has been that few companies have yet to figure out how to put their executives in front of this data, directly—and, by extension, in front of customers. But managers at lots both owned and managed by Parkway also have access to their own Web site and can track progress on earnings or strategy goals and compare the cost of operations at a particular garage with similar locations around the city or in another city altogether.

This article was originally published on 02-14-2003
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