With the advent of big data analytics in the world of information and communications technology (ICT), Tabung Haji (TH) has each year harnessed the value of big data for operational tracking and efficiency.
According to its Information Technology Division operations director, Za'aba Arpan, TH has already been utilising big data analytics in terms of transport, health, finance and welfare management of the pilgrims.
He said with more data being collected from the various systems, the decision-makers, management and staff could analyse information immediately and make decisions based on what they have learned.
"The required data are displayed to make prompt decisions, while data obtained at the end of the haj season would be taken to higher management level for future planning," he said in an interview with Bernama.
This year’s haj season saw 30,200 Malaysian pilgrims performing the fifth pillar of Islam assisted by 640 TH officials.
Big data describes a large volume of data that can be analysed for insights to enable companies to plan for better and effective organisational decision-making and strategies.
Za'aba said ICT had been the backbone in streamlining haj operations as all information from Madinah Jeddah could be channelled to officials for effective management of pilgrims.
He said every operation sector has its own system application such as the health information system involving the medical team, the integrated system which provides pilgrim statistics for operational needs and mobility system to keep track of the pilgrims' movements.
“We are constantly updating the system applications to improve the overall management of haj pilgrims,” he said adding that a month after their return from the holy land, haj officials would be called for a post mortem meeting to gather feedback and work on future improvements.
Elaborating Za'aba said to establish an improvement plan, three factors would have to be considered namely process, human resource and technology and based on his experience, process improvement initiative is most crucial in ensuring efficient haj operation.
"We have to work according to consumers’ needs. If we want to introduce new processes changes will have to be made in our ICT utilisation,” he said.
“In any case, we will need to discuss with various parties, especially the Haj Division on the way forward,” said Zaaba who has been involved in the ICT developments since 1988.