Helping Drivers Navigate Safely and Efficiently

As Chief Technology Officer for Rand McNally, Yusuf Ozturk leads the development of innovative products for the commercial transportation and travel industries.

Rand McNally IT is able to help drivers be safer and more productive.

Rand McNally has a rich history of helping guide drivers and teach students about geography through its use of detailed maps and its iconic atlas. The company has been producing its road atlas since the early 1920s, though the company's history actually dates back to the 1850s. 

While the company is often associated with its physical print products, Rand McNally today is a leading provider of fleet management, logistics, navigation, safety, and entertainment products for the commercial transportation and travel markets. Its goal is to enhance everyone’s road travel experience, and its products range from after-market tablets to fleet management software that helps transportation companies track their assets and monitor driver performance.

"Rand McNally tablets, wireless headsets, and dashcams help drivers drive and communicate safely and effectively," said Yusuf Ozturk, chief technology officer of Rand McNally and a member of Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) Industry Advisory Board (IAB). "Rand McNally fleet management and logistics products enable fleets to manage their operations, negotiate prices with shippers, comply with federal and state rules, track and trace vehicles and assets, navigate safely on legal routes, maintain their vehicles, communicate with drivers, and manage workflows."

As CTO, Ozturk leads the development of innovative products for the commercial transportation and travel industries. He also manages the company's IT infrastructure and operations.

Rand McNally IT is responsible for the distribution of and providing access to products online and on mobile devices, as well as the integration of products with clients' corporate systems such as financials. The team also manages secure and scalable product platforms, including the Rand McNally web store.

Thanks to its technology, Rand McNally is able to help drivers be safer and more productive. For example:

  • The company's navigation product makes sure a driver's route is the fastest or shortest, but it also ensures it is legal and safe based on the vehicle type, load type, road preferences, as well as the current weather and traffic.
  • Fleet products ensure a driver is compliant with the federal and state rules of the road, record and share previously manual activities automatically, and allow drivers to communicate with the fleet managers and dispatchers efficiently.
  • Rand McNally's logistics product enables shippers and carriers to negotiate the price of freight based on road conditions, vehicle type, trailer size, and load type.

"IT needs to support an environment that is secure, scalable, always on, and serves a customer base and a workforce that is more mobile, remote and global," Ozturk said.

To do that, Ozturk thinks the IT industry will see an acceleration in IT infrastructure migration from on-premises storage to the cloud. This is likely particularly since automating certain IT activities in a cloud environment makes it possible to manage the IT infrastructure with a relatively small team. He also said there will be an added focus on security and privacy, further processing and analysis of big data for strategic and tactical decisions.

Through his role on the MSIT IAB, Ozturk is helping to ensure that the MSIT program prepares students for this reality by giving them the foundational knowledge to manage this acceleration now and in the future. 

"MSIT provides a good mix of technology and business strategies," Ozturk said. "MSIT covers the current and future IT technology needs in big data, cybersecurity, law, and network infrastructure and integration.

"Solving a business challenge requires a combination of technology knowledge, business acumen, collaboration, and communication skills. MSIT provides the technical, business, and communication tools for IT leaders to apply in their careers."

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