Esri Adds GIS to Business Intelligence, Promotes “Location Analytics”
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play a critical role in a host of business operations, including retail site selection, supply chain management, customer relationship management, workforce management, financial performance, and marketing. As an example, Killick says prospective homebuyers don’t focus solely on the floor plan, square footage, or the number of bedrooms. They also take a variety of local characteristics into consideration, such as the school district, neighborhood crime rates, school district, nearby shopping, and scenic views. So Esri has sought to pull a variety of geographic sources into its GIS products for business intelligence applications.
At the Esri business summit, Killick discussed what he calls the four imperatives of mapping in business systems.
—Go Beyond Basic Mapping. In cases where there is a lot of data, Killick says a map can become so densely laden with pushpins that it becomes increasingly difficult to visualize relevant information. But there are methods for aggregating data into clusters or hot spots that make it easier to display the proportional relevance. Customer sales, for example, can be aggregated by zip code, cities, counties, or townships, or within other administrative boundaries, such as sales territories.
—Enriching Data. Esri enables users to overlay relevant information from a variety of sources, including demographics and population growth trends, consumer spending patterns, traffic, and occupation and household income. “We’re building everything we do on top of the ArcGIS platform, so we’re providing not just software, but content.” Killick says.
—Map Analytics. Using GIS data enables users to drill down into a specific region or neighborhood to run geo-statistical analyses. In retail, for example, Killick says location analytics is used to predict current and future sales, and to identify sites for new stores. Location analytics can be used to identify key sales, such as weather or traffic, and to identify and compare the factors affecting profitability in different cities and regions. Users also can outline a neighborhood or region hit be a tornado or flooding and calculate the total insured value of customers within the zone.
—Collaboration. The underlying concept of Esri’s platform enables users to create online maps that are interactive, and to share the maps throughout a company or among business partners. “Sharing information is important because it really helps people break down the silos within their own organizations,” Killick says.