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Geography and Business Intelligence: How Location Affects BI

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Did you know that 80% of all business data contains an aspect of location? Proper geographic location analysis can go a long way in improving your business’ growth. This will have a positive turnaround on all organization’s processes, including marketing, supply, operations, and chain logistics, among others. 

In the past few years, data-driven organizations have continued to rise due to technological innovations such as big data, IoT, mobile, and business intelligence. However, despite all these advancements in technology, location remains the missing piece of the puzzle in most business intelligence platforms. Read on to understand the integral relationship between BI and area. 

What Is Business Intelligence BI

Business Intelligence (BI), may sound like a whole new term, but it is not. Richard Devens introduced this term in his Cyclopedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes back in the 1950s. Ever since the rise of BI has been a precursor of big data and IoT. 

In general terms, BI refers to a creative process of decision making guided by a given piece of information. This decisional system enables businesses to conceptualize and comprehend their processes and project expected outcomes. 

The knowledge obtained by a business through this intelligent system helps to adopt an innovative solution while also providing multiple opportunities for new ideas. These new ideas form the backbone for better business growth and performance. 

A detailed technical definition as provided by Gartner defines BI as:

“A generalized term that integrates infrastructure, applications, tools, and better practices which enable access and analysis of information to improve and optimize decision making and business performance.”

We are in a competitive business world, and this kind of business environment necessitates smarter approaches to the way we work. What this means is that for improved revenue and profits, you should struggle to achieve a competitive advantage through successful management. This is the general significance of BI in today’s ever-evolving competitive business environment. 

Business Intelligence and Location Intelligence

Location Intelligence (LI) is defined as the derivation of meaningful insights from geospatial data relationships obtained by the help of geographic information systems (GIS). This information should be derived to provide a business solution during the decision-making process in various organization setups. 

LI involves multi-layered data that is set in chronological or spatial order – it is easily referenced on a map. Location Intelligence is widely applied across various organizations, categories, and industries at large.  

The precision of the geospatial information provides critical elements of LI in business-essential processes, particularly policy underwriting insurers, among others. 

Location intelligence and Business Intelligence are paramount components for any business in the current competitive business environment. While the latter is meant to affect the decision-making process through intelligence analytics directly, the former supplements it by ensuring the information used is geographically linked, accurate, and targeted with pinpoint accuracy.

Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer at Forbes Media, says, “Location intelligence can supplement traditional business intelligence to reveal new ways of looking at existing data.”

The overall result of integrating LI into BI platforms being that competitive insights will emerge, which, for instance, can greatly improve customer experience. 

How Does Location Affect Business Intelligence

Today, a technology that enhances business is ubiquitous. From CRM to ERP, and BI, all these can be easily spotted in almost all major business enterprises. The prevailing business environment is a level playing field because every business has similar tools to its competitors. Therefore, to achieve a competitive edge, businesses must work differently. This is where BI has to be supplemented by geography. 

Location is the eureka moment in the utilization of BI to gain a competitive advantage in the current business space. 

Location Adds the Third Dimension in Traditional BI Platforms

IT systems and traditional Business Intelligence systems’ main shortcoming is that they can only offer a 2D framework – they work with rows and columns. This means that the only information they analyze are figures. Numbers can only give you so much as dates, time, rates, and quantities. Geographical location is the missing piece of the puzzle that will make your BI full proof.

With a location in the mix, you can easily unlock the hidden BI treasure chest. And this is because everything that relates to your business operations – be it workforce, resources, assets both fixed and moveable, creditors, suppliers, and even branch offices- has a geographical location. 

When you adequately harness and analyze this geographic location and feed it into your BI system, you will unravel the real power of geographic business intelligence. 

Geographical Information System (GIS)

Unlocking the power of BI requires large businesses to incorporate geographic information systems. GIS is used to manage, analyze, and visualize geographical information. It models the real business world into a layered series within a geodatabase. The ability of GIS to enable related business attributes such as property and revenue boundaries makes it a critical asset to BI. 

With GIS, relationships can be established through modeling of related attributes and then visualized in business-understandable formats such as charts and maps. It is also possible to model complex dynamic business workflows that make a big chunk of BI projections thanks to this location system. 

In a nutshell, GIS compares and visualizes layered location-based data for a better understanding of Business Intelligence interrelationships and outcomes. 

Location Helps BI Link Information

Business Intelligence helps you gather smart information. Well, location intelligence will help you link this information geographically. It, therefore, helps answer questions that arise in BI systems such:

  • Where are your current and potential customers?
  • How do these customers behave wherever they are?
  • What are their purchasing habits in these particular areas?
  • Can your business segment, target, and position your customers in a way that will optimize profits and revenue?
  • Can you deliver using alternative cheaper routes?
  • What is the best location for your new branch offices?

Simply put, adding a location aspect to BI gives rise to new insights and provokes critical questions that were initially improbable to pose. Addressing these questions steers your Business Intelligence model in the right direction for a competitive advantage over your rivals. 

Location-Based Insights Drive BI Strategy

Business Intelligence strategies are designed to help businesses communicate, develop, and distribute their products or services to customers. However, location-based insights are needed to effectively and accurately drive these strategies. Some of the key insights to take home include:

  • Location intelligence (LI) a compliment and not a substitute for Business Intelligent: LI comes into play when BI is found to be unidimensional in terms of store locations or customer demographics. It digs deeper into and draws relationships between customer data and geographic location. 
  • Better demonstration of data: a BI spreadsheet environment might obscure geographic and dynamic data projected on a map. LI can help reveal these characteristics quite clearly. 
  • Improving efficiencies: generally, tools of location intelligence are meant to solve a specific issue. However, businesses are now coming up with innovative ways to apply LI to improve operational efficiencies and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Part and parcel of business operations: software vendors have continued to design tools for spatial analytics for everyday business executives. This will result in live editing capabilities, intuitive interfaces, and shorter timeframes to train new users.

These are some of the LI insights that are currently driving business intelligence expertise in different industries

Final Word

Location continues to play a key role in Business Intelligence, which previously relied on postal codes and until recently, IP address register. Thanks to location intelligence, BI can now translate into a real business performance improvement tool. 

GIS has enabled layering and visualizing data such as customer opinions and sales figures by relating it to geographic information. This gives business executives a clear and accurate visualization of areas with greater revenue and profit benefits. 

As we’ve mentioned, geographically localized analysis of information is a new starting point for an improved Business Intelligence paradigm. And because of the various conclusions that businesses can draw from location-based data, organizations have started achieving serious benefits unforeseen until now.

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