Moving from Big Data to Actionable Data

actionable data

Today’s operators have access to a wealth of data powered through access management systems, mobile software, apps and the Internet of Things (IoT); however, moving from big data to actionable data can be a challenge. In the past, it took weeks, if not months, to gather data from a variety of paper and manual sources. This was a process that was typically handed down to that lucky intern that probably still suffers from Excel PTSD. Today, we are inundated with data that is automatically filling our inboxes or available through interactive dashboards, but how do you turn that data into action that improves your operations?

At NIRSA Triventure, the initial results of a research project conducted by CORE Unlimited and Sasaki were released during the presentation, “Metrics that Matter.” Duke University, Elon University, University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University all participated in this research study and shared how they have been actively utilizing the real time count data that they receive:

Adjusting Staffing

“It has helped us communicate capacity numbers in multi-purpose rooms. Additionally, our staff can focus attention on our heavier use areas during peak times.” – Meghan Weiseman, Duke University

Creating New Positions

“We used the data to develop a building manager position, and further used the data to help the building managers strategize where to focus their attention during various times during the day, when to allocate administrative work to them, etc.” – Larry Mellinger, Elon University

Managing Rental Requests

“We do use it to determine if we can support rentals at a given time.” – Katherine Gold, University of Pennsylvania

Facility Scheduling

“The best example of using this data is when we have adjusted our informal recreation times for open play on our turf field.” – Brian Calio, Rowan University

Marketing Opportunities

“When looking at how to effectively market our programs, we are able to see where and when we have the most traffic and strategically place our tabling events.” – Scott Lehmann, Towson University

In addition to effectively moving from “big data” to actionable data, these schools also actively engaged their staff in the process to help them better understand how their effort to take counts each hour has a direct impact their facilities and programs. One of the most rewarding outcomes of embracing the big data movement is seeing when information turns into insights and insights turn into action.


Jennifer Jacobs is the owner of Connect2Concepts. Reach her at or by calling 336.770.2641. Tamara Jarrett is the president of CORE Unlimited. Reach her at Bill Massey is a leader at Sasaki Sports Practice. Reach him at or by calling 617.923.7385.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *