Innovation? You already have valuable data in-house!


SMT helps its customers innovate by making smart use of data. Lex Crielaars, CTO at SMT, explains how he approaches that. Data that is already present in the organization is a fruitful starting point, he illustrates with two great practical stories.

“For SMT, innovation is something our customers aspire to improve their market position or service, we support them in this.” says Crielaars. “Every organization has a vision, a greater goal that they pursue. To reach that higher goal, various steps must be taken. The client prefers to go to the top of the mountain in one go. ”But that is not realistic. “You need to take small steps, from basecamp to basecamp.”

He emphasizes that it is important that companies – even if they are still at the bottom of the mountain – take the first steps upwards. “You must ensure that you can deal with the dynamic market and that you can grow into an organization in which your own data is used to move forward. Organizations that do not participate in innovation and digital transformation become dinosaurs, and dinosaurs as we know, are extinct.”

From generic to specific

To take steps towards an innovative organization and to climb the mountain, you need different solutions than before, Crielaars sees. “We used to have one solution that could be copied practically a hundred times. Now we want to implement a solution that is just as dynamic and flexible as the customer himself.

Are the challenges of customers so different? “Broadly speaking, customers still face the same types of challenges, but when you get to the heart of the organization there are differences.” Crielaars sees a shift from generic solutions to solutions that are partly generic, but also partly tailor-made. “We also focus more on how the solution contributes to the vision of the organization.”

Data and more data

Crielaars sees that data is becoming increasingly valuable. “Companies must use data as fuel and analytics as an ignition for the engine of the digital transformation. You need this to continue the digital transformation. ”He sees that more and more organizations are realizing that. “They have to rely on data and make decisions based on facts. Organizations that allow themselves to make data-driven decisions are more efficient and more profitable, according to various studies.”

Value from data

A telecom-customer of SMT is a good example of an organization that is already able to extract value from data. “This provider soon realized that it had very valuable data and the company has found a way to extract value from it”. SMT helped the customer to achieve this.

“Together, we have set up a platform where all data can be stored centrally, regardless of the original source of the data.” The platform is designed so that different types of data can be analyzed and compared. After that the customer started to explore the available data. “They investigated the bottlenecks on the operational side and how the data could support them to remove those bottlenecks.”

One of the bottlenecks was a possibility of fraud with the telephone lines. Hackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the telephone exchanges of their customers. This would give them control over the outgoing telephone lines of that customer. “These could be used to call expensive premium rate numbers in the possession of cybercriminals and the damage could quickly run into thousands of euros.”

They developed and trained a data model to recognize suspicious calling patterns. By using artificial intelligence and machine learning, fraud can be detected earlier or even be prevented. With the help of these technologies they are able to detect (near) real-time fraud. The data model is so accurate that numbers are automatically blocked and put on the fraud list.

The data model saves customers a lot of money and headaches. They can also advise customers to set up their telephone exchange more safely which also leads to fewer concerns about fraud for the provider itself. Crielaars is very satisfied with this solution. “It is a good example of how machine learning can be applied to data and thus help to be innovative. It is a solution that touches the heart of the organization.”

Departure unknown

SMT works together with an airport in the Netherlands, where innovation and customer experience play an important role. They had an interesting challenge in store for SMT: a very small group of travelers indicated that the arrival and departure signs did not show when their aircraft was ready to board. They complained about this. When checking, it always turned out that the flight had gone ahead and that everyone (except that one person) was just on the flight. “It was just too often to be a coincidence, so the customer asked us to sort this out.”

SMT built the data platform and the problem was quickly found with the help of that data. “One of the crew members must press a button manually, so that the status of the flight is adjusted on the signs. If they forget this, the status remains unchanged and there will be no notification for boarding. ” If a crew member forgets this, there is not immediately a problem for all travelers. “Most travelers have a time and a gate on their boarding pass.” But in a very small part of the cases it goes wrong. “Sometimes there is someone who, for example, arrives very early or has a connecting flight. As a result, it may be that there is no gate or time on the boarding pass. If someone then forgets to press the button and the traveler does not look into the app either, the traveler does not know when he can board.

As soon as they knew what the problem was, it was solved. “We have collected and visualized all information about this group of passengers. They talked about it with the airlines involved. Now that they have discussed this with the ground crew, the procedure is being followed properly. And a project has been started to automate this process so that it cannot go wrong at all in the future. This shows exactly what data can do. ”

Both organizations are working with data in an advanced way so that they can improve their market position or excel with their services. They use data that they produce themselves. These actions ensure that they are and remain innovative. We try to achieve these developments at our customers, supporting them at every stage of the process. So that our customers can excel in their field of expertise.


April 2019