Seeing the full picture with Reporting-as-a-Service.

We recently produced a solution for NATO. It's an interesting example to demonstrate how Reporting-as-a-Service functions in the real world and what value it brings.

First, some background on NATO and the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise.

NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) originated as 12 nations in 1949. Today it has evolved to become an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 independent North American and European countries uniting and agreeing to a collective and mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

A large part of NATO’s activity includes conducting drills. The most recent, “Exercise Trident Juncture 2018” ran from 25 October  – 7 November, and was the largest since the Cold war ended in the 80s.

Exercise Trident Juncture’s purpose was to test the NATO Response Force’s ability to train and operate together receiving and handling large amounts of troops and equipment with an estimated 50,000 participants from NATO and partner countries, 250 aircraft, 65 vessels, and 10,000 vehicles taking part. Along with testing operations, the exercise was conducted in difficult terrain and cold weather conditions within central and eastern Norway and in the airspace of Sweden and Finland, as well as surrounding areas in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea.

The brief:

"To report the worldwide media coverage associated with the Trident Juncture Exercise 2018."

NATO obviously sees news and PR coverage as important due to its influence, immediacy and reach. Their brief asked for insights to be provided on the impact and sentiment of coverage of the exercise within the media over the period it was conducted. The goal was to understand how messaging associated with the exercise was being broadcast.

In order to see how news relating to Trident Juncture was being distributed, the kind of data each report needed to present included:

  • the number of articles published globally - per hour within the 24 hour period,
  • the category of the communicating news channel (was it Owned, Earned, or Hostile?),
  • segmenting article content into themes,
  • grouping most frequent and important words or topics used in articles per theme,
  • qualifying positive or negative sentiment,
  • communicating the distribution nation of the article. Priority audiences were grouped: Norway being the host nation; major contributing nations to the exercise such as Canada, Germany, Italy, UK & USA; significant contributors such as Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain and Iceland; neighbouring nations Finland and Sweden; and Russian audiences.

The output:

Together with our partner Klarrio, a system was set up to track 30,000 news sites around the world every hour to filter articles with Trident Juncture content. The data was then analysed, segmented and used to auto-create a daily report that was distributed to NATO generals in the field so that they can easily monitor and follow up communication operations.

As you can see from the list above, gathering these data points every day from approximately 30,000 news sites meant A LOT of data!

Starting with NATO’s end goal in mind, we worked back to determine how the data needed to be collected and analysed, formulating a process to get the raw data distilled into a something useful. Priority was given to design and layout to ensure the report delivered information in a way that was focussed, clear and quickly understood by the NATO generals in the field and NATO analysts at the Brussels HQ.

The benefits:

Reporting as a Service, along with any form of data visualization, brings with it a range of benefits.

Of course laying the data out visually allowing for faster and easier comprehension is a huge gain, but there is also additional value that tailored reporting can deliver.

By building a solution that brings decentralized data sources together, a report allows for a complete picture to be provided to its readers, breaking down data silos and enhancing collaboration.

With predefined goals and a solid understanding of what data is accessible and valuable, the best story can be told for the intended purpose.

The pre-defined report structure also allows for faster dissemination and reporting on demand, ensuring that the selected audience – even in different and remote locations – have access to the information when they need it.

Increased visibility means that management and operations are empowered to make smarter decisions, as they can get answers from across the whole process.

Operating in this manner is also cost effective, as little maintenance is required once the report is set up, reducing the burden of departments such as IT.

Final thoughts:

I hope this has offered some food for thought on Reporting-as-a-Service, a little-known term and often overlooked as a powerful information sharing solution, particularly in modern business where large amounts of data and an increase in remote teams are entwined into the fabric of daily operations.

In setting up a solution with a clear end goal in mind, Reporting-as-a-Service ensures the right information gets to the right people in order to help them make more informed decisions. This sounds to a lot to me like the human side of data!

The Trident Juncture solution is a great demonstration of data transparency, something we are very passionate about here at Datylon. It gets us thinking about how a solution like this could assist with global warming commentary – something we have already started investigating and which we will keep you posted!

As well as thinking big with these kinds of global matters, we also know how we can help businesses of any shape or size with their own data reporting and visibility needs.

It may get you thinking of how such a solution could work within your own organisation, whether that be in industry, finance, media, healthcare – every organisation has potential to unlock more value in their data by breaking down data silos and allowing teams and departments to communicate and collaborate more with your data.

If this sounds interesting then we’d love to talk more about how setting up a reporting service within your organisation can help boost. Drop a line to: info@datylon.com and we'll be back in touch! 

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