Graphic Business News

Location Intelligence: Why it matters for businesses and govt (II)

By: Amerley Ampolo
Location technology can hugely be beneficial to provide accurate offline attribution mechanism for digital campaigns.
Location technology can hugely be beneficial to provide accurate offline attribution mechanism for digital campaigns.

Most digitally savvy executives use data-driven insights to propel faster decision making. But the most competitive organisations and industries are transforming core business practices by tapping into critical dimension of data – location (ESRI).

Continuing from Part One of this article, this second part addresses the next two questions triggered by JS.

- Are there organisations that are not fully leveraging the power of Location Intelligence due to system or data silos?
- How do organisations perceive the application of advanced analytics, location-based data and related technologies as we evolve in a connected devices ecosystem?

Why location intelligence
It stands to reason that if data is the oil of the 21st century and most data have a location component, then undoubtedly we need Location intelligence to mine and refine the data for value creation. The process of achieving value from location-data is referred to as spatial or location analytics.

Successful businesses today are leveraging business intelligence to monitor current trends and predict future business growth.
The competitive-minded businesses have further introduced geospatial technology in their operations.

And the highly successful businesses are leveraging Location Intelligence, the power of both business intelligence and geospatial technology.

The story of Amazon is one of such highly successful businesses using location intelligence. In 2017 when Amazon acquired Whole Foods, many were surprised why a successful e-commerce business company would suddenly get into the brick-and-mortar space.

According to location specialist Devon Hopkins (2017), the purchase had no link to food retail. It was rather to acquire precious data on regional consumer habits and population density already built by Whole Foods.

Although Amazon had mastered data analytics, it needed to perfect location analytics in order to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. That is the extent to which businesses are pursuing Location Intelligence to maximise business value.

Uber also leverages Location Intelligence to solve the demand and supply of taxi service.

Increasingly, organisations are getting to understand the competitive advantage they stand to gain with the use of geospatial technology and business data. Statistics from Dresner Advisory Services’ Location Intelligence Market Study 2018 reinforces the importance of location intelligence for businesses.

Across industries, “70 per cent of telecommunications companies consider Location Intelligence critical to their success”.

From a financial perspective, “66 per cent of enterprises rank Location Intelligence as either critical or very important to ongoing revenue growth strategies.”

Gartner states that the number of organisations using Location Intelligence is expected to quadruple by 2021. Will Ghana and the company JS represents measure up to this target?

Applying location intelligence
Some of the questions Location Intelligence helps businesses answer include:
 - Where should we put our next branch or store?

- Is this building in a flood zone and what premium should we charge for property insurance?

- Where can we find customers between ages 24 and 35 who own cars to offer our products? 

As simple as these questions may seem, they are complex and cannot be answered only by internal business data. Multiple layers of data pertaining to population, environmental zones, competitor retail outlets and other relevant data are required.

Using location analytics on a geoinformation system platform, these varied data sources can then be integrated to draw meaningful conclusions.

In reference to the JS question, (what made the company do five times more than his organisation and turn out successful?) Location Intelligence was a core of the business strategy.

The utility company put Location Intelligence in the hands of managers, technicians, customer care representatives, fieldworkers, accountants and the directors. Each department was part of the information creation, management and sharing.

The business intelligence of the utility company was well integrated to their geospatial technology. This allowed information to be well disseminated across the organisation.

Outages were not only monitored by engineers, customer care agents could also visualise the extent of outages and impacted customers in real time for proactive engagements. Waiting time for customer feedback was reduced significantly.

Additionally, managers were able to monitor and track the progress of field personnel during maintenance tasks. Overall, the system enhanced transparency; making it easier for the finance unit and directors to allocate resources where necessary.

In my opinion the critical success factor for the utility company was in the adoption of Location intelligence as a customer-centric technology that enabled the identification, understanding, mapping and prediction of customer needs; whiles at the company of JS it was just a great system for asset management.

The application of Location Intelligence spans many organisations and industries. These include:
- Financial services – risk management, mergers & acquisitions, branch location optimisation, market analysis, cross-sell activities

- Telecommunications – network planning and design, customer segmentation and profiling, market surveys and market penetration analysis

- Insurance – address validation, claims management, underwriting and risk management

- Tourism – customer profile analysis, site selection, expansion planning, target marketing

- Media – media planning, subscriber demographics, market segmentation and targeting
- Health – facility allocation, epidemiology, accessibility

- Government – census updates, tax jurisdiction, electoral redistricting and updating, urban planning, waste management, law enforcement and crime analysis, emergency response and disaster management, environmental and land management
- Transportation – transport planning, route monitoring, channel development

- Education – research, planning, management

The application of Location Intelligence magnifies customer understanding and improves business processes.

  For organisations that embrace location intelligence, decision making becomes an all-inclusive process leading to enterprise growth.

The digital era has enabled more businesses to gain access to the components of Location Intelligence – advanced technology, data (varied sources) and systematic processes. Organisations in Ghana, from banking to insurance to health and beyond, stand to benefit immensely from Location Intelligence when integrated into the strategy.

“Knowing where things are, and why, is essential to rational decision making” - Jack Dangermond (ESRI).

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