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Thursday, March 28, 2013

New data analytics tool gives Postal Service IG head start on cases

Investigators and auditors in the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General didn't jump at the chance to use new tools for analyzing data. They were unsure and skeptical the new approach would really make a difference or if it would just waste their time.

But once the Counter Measures and Performance Evaluation (CAPE) team in the OIG developed the first dashboard to help investigators visualize the data more easily, they overcame that initial resistance.
Bryan Jones, the director of the CAPE team, said the IG's office had to understand the mind of an investigator and what would be compelling to them.

"It's a web-based interface, a map of the U.S. with hot spots," Jones said. "These are all hyperlinks ... If you are an investigator responsible for a certain area, your eyes are drawn to that area, there are circles that are red or green, depending on what's going on there; there are hyperlinks so you can drill into the details. Once you get behind the map, then the power of the analytics is right in front of you. You have a link analysis tool. It may link one contractor with another contractor. There are copies of invoices. There's risk scores that are assigned to whatever it is we are measuring. We are able to model every single contract or every single transaction or every single whatever it is that's being investigated. In the past, you'd have to do a statistical sample or you may have to wait until someone calls to look for something. It puts a lot of information in front of the investigator."

- Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com

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