Worker’s Compensation Group Boosts Service at Regional Offices with Data Analysis Software
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L & I) is a worker’s compensation organization dedicated to the safety, health, and security of the 3.3 million workers in the state. L & I conducts 5,000 workplace inspections each year to help organizations meet safety and health standards and keep employees safe on the job. The group also provides medical and limited wage-replacement coverage to workers who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses.
L & I serves customers in 19 regional offices throughout the state, conducting assessments of each office to ensure efficient operations. The group wanted to transition from a manual process to more efficiently evaluate the performance of each office. They began using data analysis software to conduct assessments and share results, leading to increased productivity and improved communication.
Leaders at L & I work to better serve their customers. They track specific data, including the types of business calls and front counter visits received, on every regional office to evaluate performance. For example, a person may call to ask about an electrical permit or inquire about workers’ compensation benefits. Having this data readily available allows the regional manager to see how everything performs in an individual office and better allocate resources.
Going beyond spreadsheets
Bryan Huebner, GIS database administrator for Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I)
Collected data was entered, analyzed, and displayed on spreadsheets or basic charts, making data input time-consuming and any subsequent analysis challenging.
ArcGIS Insights allows all regional office locations to be displayed on a map along with details on how each office performs.
ArcGIS Insights has transformed the way L&I analyzes staff allocation, understands customer needs, and empowers others within their organization to perform analysis.
In the past, collected data was entered, analyzed, and displayed on spreadsheets or basic charts, making data input time-consuming and any subsequent analysis challenging for L & I.
According to Bryan Huebner, GIS database administrator, Washington Department of Labor and Industries, “People would produce reports with printed out pages of a spreadsheet [with items like] office locations or city names. I think I saw one report that had 200 columns and 800 rows of data. This made it very difficult to sort through data for analysis.”
The L & I team was in search of a more effective way to gather and analyze data for each regional office as well as a better way to visualize the data, all of which can help senior management more easily make informed decisions.
L & I chose ArcGIS Insights to help digitize the data collection and evaluation process. ArcGIS Insights is analysis software that allows users to directly connect data, perform advanced analytics, and share results.
Winston McKenna, GIS product and application supervisor, Washington Department of Labor and Industries, explains that the initial set up was simple and relatively fast, taking approximately two days with about four working hours from a GIS professional. The solution designed by the L & I GIS team [CP1] allows all regional office locations to be displayed on a map along with details on how each office performs with the different types of business calls and walk-ins they get. A user can simply select the office on the map for more statistics.
According to McKenna, training the staff to use the new solution went very well because it’s easy to understand and for the non-GIS expert, it’s a good introduction to the potential of GIS. Huebner echoes this sentiment, saying ArcGIS Insights is an easy way to convey some concepts and fundamentals of GIS to non-GIS experts and “it opens their eyes to data visualization like they've never seen before.”
“We find that once we provide some training for them, set up their initial workflow, and do a little walk-through on how to upload and manage and format the data they want to use, in general, it does not take that long for a user to learn the basics and some of the more advanced features of ArcGIS Insights,” says Huebner.
Huebner adds, “We are using GIS data to provide more context for the information. Spreadsheets have a lot of information, but we're putting that information within a context. With a little bit of work, you can readily perform spatial analyses with your tabular data and show it in the context of a map."
ArcGIS Insights has allowed L & I to transform the way they view their data, and better assess relationships and patterns. Staff allocation is one of the key reasons for gathering regional office data, and ArcGIS Insights has made it easier for managers to see trends than data on a spreadsheet.
“Now that we can better see trends, it helps with staffing allocation…if some offices are busier than others, you can move an employee over there, or maybe change employee schedules to better fit the needs for the public,” says Huebner.
The context ArcGIS Insights provides also contributes to a deeper understanding of customer needs in a specific area.
“If you add more feature classes to a card, you can see that this county within this region has these certain needs, compared to another county which might be in the same region. So, you compare the two locations,” explains McKenna. “You can add roads. You can add demographic information. You can add other internal information which might help paint a brighter picture.”
Visually displaying data with ArcGIS Insights has also helped L & I better analyze information and ask more advanced questions that users may have. Mckenna believes it’s much easier for people to understand the numbers when they can visualize it and the map helps information be more readily consumed.
“It provides an easier way for an individual and an audience to get the bigger picture of the information when you can display both a map of the data as well as a chart of the data,” says McKenna. “We can display information in ArcGIS Insights…and it shows exactly what we're talking about and where it lives in the context of the other locations.”
Huebner enjoys the interactive nature of ArcGIS Insights, explaining that users can change settings and develop different charts to better communicate with their audience. He explains that because users can interact with the data and see the same information simultaneously, it allows for greater group understanding of the data provided.
“Spatial analysis provides context to data. By placing points and locations in space, it allows users to better get a grasp of the basic understanding of where data lives in regard to population, travel, and where our organization does business.,” says McKenna.
Overall, L & I likes that ArcGIS Insights has empowered users to create their own workbooks and cards to display, manage, and visualize their information, making them stewards of their data.
“[With this new process in ArcGIS Insights,] it takes the questions out of our hands and puts it in theirs so they can start forming and asking their own questions,” says McKenna. “When you allow users to see the state of their information, they instantly become more invested in data management and the maintenance of that information.”
ArcGIS Insights is different than traditional GIS because it's a platform that facilitates users to ask more questions. You can see mapping aspects, chart aspects, and analytical aspects all in one location. The uses of it are only limited to the user's imagination.