Data Management at McLaren Racing



Stephen Rose
08/15/2012

Stephen Rose, Solutions Architect for McLaren Supply Technologies gives an overview of the data management solution McLaren built to manage data around racing and how they can distil a huge volume of data down into a single dashboard in the recently pulished Laboratory Informatics: Current Trends and Predictions for 2015 Report.  

“We were facing a number of challenges at McLaren. One of them was having engineers being able to find data when they needed it, knowing exactly where the data was and being able to compare that to any other data sets that they were interested in. 

McLaren has a headquarters, a track site and a number of different sites and we needed to be able to compare and contrast data sets from all of these different sites. We wanted only one true version of the truth, so that if we were looking at a piece of data we would know that it was the latest piece of data and correct.This was a challenge we were trying to overcome when producing our system; making sure there was only ever one source for any piece of data and you know that was the latest.

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We’ve really focused on understanding the information any user wants to see from a dashboard and try very hard to find ways to translate any data into information which can then be used to make a decision. When we’re designing dashboards and creating systems we’re always very focused on the decisions and understanding users need to get from any given dashboard so that they don’t have to do any processing in their heads, they only have to look up one particular display in order to get enough information to be able to make a decision or get the understanding they need. 

Finally, we  try really hard to bring everything together in the most concise way possible and we also focus very heavily on visualisation and how best to display that data so that it transmits the most accurate and factual representation of the data.

We often also try and make the extra step from estimable information to really descriptive information so wherever possible we can actually suggest the action that should be taken based on the data, which particularly helps in times when you need to make a quick decision, but does also help to remove some of the ambiguities that can be created when decisions are made. 

Business rules and anything else that’s being taken into consideration when a decision is being made can also be pushed into the dashboard and into the system and it helps consistency and the business understand what’s behind any decision that there. We always have the ability to drill down into any aggregated number or data set that you see, but we always try at the highest level to present the minimum amount of information that’s needed for somebody to make a decision.

My advice to organisations using laboratory informatics is to make sure you’re getting the most out of the data you do have. There’s a lot of data around, lots of people have data, and not just in pharmaceuticals but in all the industries we see. But, actually extracting value from that data is a step that we don’t see many people taking, instead of focusing necessarily on collecting more data and getting more data integrated into one system. I think extracting the maximum value from the data you do have is a very good first step and something I’d like to see a lot more people doing.”

Download the rest of the report: Laboratory Informatics: Current Trends & Predictions for 2015