US transport authority leans on BI to save $100 million

System allows TSA to cut costly screener overtime; savings shifted to security programs

The US federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) estimates that it will have saved an estimated US$100 million over a two year period by using business intelligence software to more effectively manage its workers.

The agency is estimating that its Performance Information Management System (PIMS) that's powered by BI reporting and analytics tools from MicroStrategy will save the funds from the October 2006 installation date through October 2008, said TSA spokesman Greg Soule on Wednesday.

TSA has been able to reallocate the saved funds to boost its security programs, including the training of explosive experts, Soule added.

PIMS collects, analyzes and reports passenger and baggage screening data and provides operational performance metrics like passenger wait times at checkpoints, the types and amount of unauthorized items collected from passengers during screening and the use of screening equipment, he said.

PIMS is also used to analyze payroll data, TSA staff utilization, and passenger complaints and compliments. The tool can be used to drill down to data related to individual checkpoints at an airport, he added.

"The TSA is a metrics-based organization," Soule noted. "We use metrics every day to drive our decision making and quantify security effectiveness, operational efficiency and workforce management."

By using BI to monitor performance, TSA has been able to avoid costly overtime expenses with its security employees, he added.

"The money that we saved in avoiding those overtime expenses can be shifted into valuable security related programs such as behavior detection, documents verification, employee screening and training explosive experts."

TSA, which has been using the MicroStrategy software since November 2004, uses PIMS to run one million reports per year for 12,000 users at the agency.

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