This afternoon I delivered a presentation on the use of geography to improve the value from organisations’ investment in business intelligence solutions. The presentation concentrated on looking at why GIS is a great accompaniment to business intelligence and how the map can act as a great visual medium for sharing business data.
Data is being gathered by businesses constantly. More data is being gathered, and in more ways, than ever before. The challenge is how to turn that data into useful intelligence and how to make that intelligence accessible throughout the business. We saw how GIS is not only a tool for performing static analysis of spatial data but, through interactive web mapping, can also provide an interface for the business user to explore their data.In the presentation I worked through three examples: viewing the success of a retail sales campaign, understanding patterns of personal lending behaviour, and managing the natural disaster claims process within an insurance company.
One particular topic we looked at was what I called the ‘resolution challenge’. When working with vast amounts of business data there is need to aggregate the data up into higher order geographic areas such as states, sales territories, postcodes or areas of responsibility. However, this aggregation needs to be used carefully to avoid important data being obscured through the use of averages or similar techniques.
For example, when aggregated to the state level, sales performance might look to be good but when drilling down a bit further this might be hiding vastly differing performance between urban and rural areas.
At the end of the presentation I discussed the role of the GIS professional in driving adoption of mapping as an accompanying technology for business intelligence. Most importantly is the need to evangelise and sell the value within your organisation. Secondly, building a strong working relationship with the data warehousing and analytics team is required to support them in designing their data warehouse to make the most of spatial techniques.
Whilst the concepts are fairly straightforward the value of location intelligence can be significant. I hope everyone went away with a desire to push for mapping to be a key component of their business intelligence solutions.
To find out more about this presentation or topic, please contact us via email.