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From October 12th to 15th of this week, SAP and the Indiana Department of Corrections worked together to provide a unique business challenge project to MBA Students at the University of Notre Dame.  Twenty-One MBA students participated in the exercise.

The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame is a premier Catholic business school that fosters academic excellence, professional effectiveness and personal accountability in a context that strives to be faithful to the ideals of community, human development and individual integrity.  A leader in values-based education with the message of Ask More of Business™, the College offers innovative coursework that integrates real-life case studies, a faculty renowned for teaching and research, international study opportunities, and interactions with some of the foremost business thought leaders.  One of the college’s innovation offerings is its Interterm Intensive sessions.

These classes provide learning opportunities that are not easily available in the standard course format. Some workshop-style classes focus on specific capabilities students can add to their business “tool kits.” Others, such as the deep-dive corporate opportunities, give students hands-on opportunities to apply, test, and extend what they have learned in previous courses. In other courses, students expand their learning by using their time and talents to assist a not-for-profit organization.  All of the courses develop skills and perspectives that will be beneficial in summer internships and full-time jobs.  All courses require a high degree of student participation and involvement.  The courses offered to MBA students provide opportunities to extend and apply skills and knowledge learned in the core and elective classes. They provide direct, practical experience using simulations, projects, or live problems. The classes add to students’ experience base, helping prepare them for a strong start as they begin their full-time jobs following graduation.

Thanks to the unique partnership between SAP and the State of Indiana, we able to provide a unique first-time Interterm offering this week as described here.

Using Data Analytics to Develop Strategies to Increase Efficiency: the case of the State of Indiana Department of Correction

Indiana is the 38th largest state by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816.  Before becoming a territory, varying cultures of indigenous peoples and historic Native Americans inhabited Indiana for thousands of years. Since its founding as a territory, settlement patterns in Indiana have reflected regional cultural segmentation present in the Eastern United States; the state's northernmost tier was settled primarily by people from New England and New York, Central Indiana by migrants from the Mid-Atlantic states and from adjacent Ohio, and Southern Indiana by settlers from the Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee. Indiana has a diverse economy with a gross state product of $298 billion in 2012.  Indiana has several metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000 and a number of smaller industrial cities and towns. Indiana is home to several major sports teams and athletic events including the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, the NASL's Indy Eleven, the NBA's Indiana Pacers, the WNBA's Indiana Fever, and the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 motorsports races.

The Challenge:  Developing strategies to increase efficiency and safety of transportation for IDOC

The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) advances public safety and successful re-entry through dynamic supervision, programming, and partnerships.  As the model of public safety, the Indiana Department of Correction returns productive citizens to our communities and supports a culture of inspiration, collaboration, and achievement.  The Indiana Department of Correction is the largest agency in the State of Indiana employing more than 6,400 Hoosiers, supervises almost 10,000 parolees in communities across the state and is responsible for the safety and security of more than 28,000 adults and 450 juveniles inside correctional facilities.  The IDOC currently operates 20 adult facilities, 5 juvenile facilities and 10 parole districts. Even though the reach is far and wide, each small part of the IDOC is committed to the main tenets of their mission: to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

Transportation of prisoners is a major cost and safety issue for IDOC. Prisoners are transported between facilities as needed for a variety of reasons,  transported for extradition purposes outside the State of Indiana, transported for medical reasons including medical emergencies and medical appointments, and transported for work related activities. Currently IDOC utilizes buses, vans, and police units to transport along with the occasional commercial flight for extradited offenders.  Developing strategies to increase efficiency and safety of transportation for IDOC should focus on cost savings and increased public safety.

Students were provided with data sets representing the IDOC current transportation statistics including routes, fleet, facilities and one year of actual trips.  They then had two days to work in teams and produce a set of recommendations with supporting analytics to the state officials in attendance with the focus being on making improvements in transportation.  We were pleased to observe five terrific presentations and had the privilege of picking a winning team that represented some of the best ideas for the week.