As consumers, we are inundated by maps as they increasingly becoming an intrinsic part of everyday life. From web based services for driving directions and portals such as Microsoft’s Live Local, Virtual Earth and Google Earth to consumer applications such as GPS watches and in-vehicle navigation, we are exposed to a wealth of location-based or geospatial information. This growing consumer awareness is beginning to stimulate commercial interest in the application of geospatial data for business use.
The location intelligent enterprise
- Location is a critical component in almost every business transaction
Although more than 80% of enterprise data has a location dimension, whether it is customers, stores, warehouses or other assets, this information is rarely exploited in traditional business intelligence analysis
- Location intelligence is critical to fully exploiting the business intelligence (BI) process
New and more valuable insights can be gained by adding the location dimension to data. Adding location capabilities to existing BI platforms can help leverage existing investments. Many business intelligence vendors are now providing location intelligence capabilities through partnerships.
- Optimising the use of external data sources is the foundation for successful location intelligence
For deeper insights into the environments external to the business, location intelligence enhances data by combining internal business information with external sources such as those regarding roads, rivers, rail networks, power lines, competitors or populations (from census information). This enables businesses to more accurately target marketing, develop personalised services, plan store locations and determine risk exposure.
- Location intelligence is no longer exclusively the domain of Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) users
The growing consumer experience of mapping information is driving business awareness of location exploitation for commercial purposes. As a result, today's location intelligence solutions offer more flexibility and ease of use than traditional GIS. This enables more users to access location intelligence within the framework of their daily applications.
- Location intelligence is more than desktop mapping
Whilst free or inexpensive mapping tools such as Google Maps and Google Earth, Microsoft Live Local or MapQuest are becoming more widespread, enterprise location intelligence offers far greater business value. When geographic visualisation is combined with predictive analytics, organisations gain an insight into the impact that location has on future business performance.
Businesses continue to be challenged with gaining intelligence from the huge volumes of data they capture and manage. Those that have added location intelligence tools to their BI platform are reaping the benefits through optimisation of their operations by analysing and targeting products or services more effectively. The opportunity for location intelligence centres on capitalising on the location-specific information that is already available within this data, and now is the time for organisations that are yet to make the move to seriously consider the opportunity that location intelligence presents.