Most people have heard of location intelligence tools such as Google Maps, or Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Indeed, mapping technology is used everywhere and can be accessed easily online, from a phone, and on the road. But can these applications be used successfully in a business information and reporting context? The short answer is yes.
Although it is early days, the marriage between location and business intelligence software is being seen by many commentators as a highly productive long-term relationship, rather than just a temporary fling.
What is location intelligence?
Traditionally, businesses can spend days, or even weeks physically compiling data from customer surveys and site visits. Location intelligence software can drastically reduce this process by mapping data electronically, thereby freeing up time for other activities.
How does it do this?
Basically, by using common data sources, such as GIS, aerial maps and even customer records, location intelligence technology can present data spatially – such as an interactive map format. This is much easier for our brains to process than traditional charts and tables. For example, by clicking on a map, managers can quickly gain an insight into any number of location-based business operations.
There are obvious benefits to this technology, such as tightening up business processes, improving customer relationships and even boosting performance and results.
Who uses it?
The applications are endless:
• telecommunications organisations use it for network planning and design and market analysis;
• Government uses it for many purposes, including census updates, urban planning, weather forecasting and emergency services;
• retailers use it for site selection, store performance analysis and demographic research; and
• media organisations use it for target market identification, media planning and demographic analysis.
But until recently, using this technology as part of a business reporting process has mostly been the preserve of experts. This is because it has operated on a stand-alone basis, rather as part of an organisation’s business intelligence platform. By converging the two technologies, a whole new level of data analysis can become available to the everyday user.
Yellowfin and location intelligence
The team at Yellowfin has acknowledged the popularity of location intelligence as a business reporting tool by incorporating the technology in its latest release, Yellowfin 4.0. This means organisations can now introduce location-based reporting into the business-decision making process without requiring GIS expertise.
Yellowfin 4.0 enables a variety of mapping visualisations to be used, including Google Maps, Heat Maps or fully-enabled GIS data-type rendering.
Of this latest trend in BI software, CEO Glen Rabie says: “With Yellowfin 4.0, we have taken two mature technologies (BI and GIS) and combined them. One of the most exciting aspects of our latest software is that even the casual business user can use this technology. This is one of the underlying principles of our Yellowfin products.”