Below Finance Monthly hears from Peter Snelling, principal systems engineer at leader in analytics, SAS, who has various ideas on border management that the UK and EU should look to approach.

This, and the more outward looking post-Brexit era we're facing, are just two reasons why I believe a different approach to border management, and indeed many of the activities of the Home Office and Customs, would transform efficiency. With the following capabilities in place, we’ll create a future where the departments can rate and prioritise risks in real-time, as they change, and take pre-emptive action, rather than reactive. As an example, let's apply the following ideas to the challenges of smuggling and trafficking.

The answer’s in the data

One of the major improvements the border agencies can make is to apply advanced, predictive analytics and deploy real-time risk-scoring models. Building them on historical data allows strategists and front-line operatives to apply the models’ learnings to enhance their own experience and strategies.

The alerts raised by these models can then be visualised as networks, timelines and maps – and enhanced with contextual information and intelligence.  Applied in this way resources can be better managed and frontline staff can interdict high risk goods or people promptly.  As importantly, low-risk goods and people can be processed far more swiftly.  To find the needle it's sometimes easiest to reduce the size of the haystack.

Support that capability with what-if scenario testing, and the border agencies within Home Office and HMRC – and indeed other central government organisations – will be able to model different decisions and predict their outcomes against their cost and relative merit.

A winning combination: efficiency, accuracy, affordability

However, with many millions of people and shipments moving in and out of the UK every year, some people will wonder how quickly all this analysis can happen. The answer: In a matter of minutes. Certainly, with SAS. That’s because our analytics engine is made for the big data age and can screen billions of rows of data per second.

If your next question is, "Can the analysis be thorough at speed?" the answer is a resounding yes. Take global banking giant HSBC as an example. You’ll see that SAS anti-fraud analytics screens millions of debit and credit card transactions around the world, every day. Consider the fallout you may have experienced from just one personal experience of card fraud, and you’ll know what an incredibly value-generating capability this is - both on a human level and a financial one.

For the Home Office and Customs to achieve their efficiency targets and improve operational effectiveness, advanced analytics and visualization solutions have become essential.