Time and location affect everything in the enterprise. From where a product is created to where it is going, understanding the location and time of production, disbursement, and point of sale data provides profit-yielding business intelligence. Extreme weather, cost spikes, and resource failures can put profits at risk. Knowing where critical events are happening and when is crucial to troubleshooting the problem, making necessary adjustments, and ensuring the business can stay on track.

The ability to see connections, complex relationships, and potential impacts by processing volumes of data through intelligent maps can provide necessary insight.  For example, if organizations can track the transit of a single product through its entire lifecycle or view an entire operating picture of factories, suppliers, stores and distribution centers, they can both ensure transparency and take advantage of real-time, actionable intelligence. Location intelligence is the key to implementing these vital capabilities.

Digitally Transforming the Enterprise

Given that practically all business transactions occur at a specific location, companies can use that commonality to manage data to view and analyze it through an intelligent map. However, location intelligence is more than a way to manage data; it is a means of capitalizing on that data. To take full advantage of this, organizations need to create a strategy for implementing location intelligence.  

First, the enterprise must commit to digital transformation. This is a cultural shift from paper documentation to new digital channels and methods. Sources of digital data including sensors, bar code scanners, and electronic transactions should be used and tied to a place and a time. Using location as a common connector, disparate data can be brought together and a new and insightful depth to analytics realized.

To accommodate this new complex data, an enterprise system that is scalable and open needs to be implemented. Start by providing great maps, data layers, and analytic models that can be accessed and shared. Then create focused apps to extend the reach of location intelligence to everyone within and outside of your organization.

Keep in mind, analytics should not be just for technical people; to have a tangible impact line of business owners need to be involved as well. By bringing location intelligence to the entire organization with user friendly tools and applications, companies across industries can take advantage of existing enterprise global networks and infrastructure to significantly enhance analytical and problem-solving capabilities.

OptimalLocationEsri

Spatial analytics quickly show the location and potential of high-performing markets.

Big Data: Making the Case for Location Intelligence

The reality is, you are not in need of data. In fact, if you are like most organizations, you find that you are swimming in information. Data comes in a steady stream, keeping everyone in the company apprised of the state of business: Where are my best customers and suppliers? How many products were shipped and where? What risk has happened near a distribution line and what is the effect on the supply chain? Where are service centers and customers located? Organizations today must successfully filter through this wealth of information to make a move that is not just good enough, but the next best action to take.

All business happens somewhere. The key is knowing exactly where that business occurs. Using location intelligence, geography acts as that filter. Users can create views that provide a broad assessment of global status that also lets them dive down into a focused view of neighborhood service gaps. Web apps can be created that allow anyone to access information so that they can more easily and quickly understand inventory, production, distribution, and other types of data through the context of where it is all located.

SupplyChainOperationPicture

Managers visualize all aspects of the supply chain to understand performance in real time. 

Being able to see the factors that affect business by location provides the ability to not only see what is happening now, but make plans for what may happen in the future. Location intelligence can help filter this data into knowledgeable information that can help organizations take action and become more efficient.

Putting the Where Into IoT

The catch, of course, is that just when we start to come to grips with the sheer volume of data being assessed every day, dynamic networks are being introduced that connect an organization’s factories, supply chains, warehouses and customers. Connected devices, buildings, even vehicles generate more and more data that needs to be visualized, understood and analyzed to be effective.

By connecting sensors from automated systems to a location intelligence platform, information can be seen in the context of what matters: where it is happening and what other environmental conditions exist that influence your success or failure. And if time information is included in this data collection, location intelligence can report on where business is happening, as well as when, and then map these trends. 

Location intelligence offers the much-needed gateway into IoT. By connecting and leveraging streaming data from sensors and devices, as well as social media feeds, organizations can track their most valuable assets in real-time.

CustomerShoppingHabitsEsri

Based on the demographics of its existing customers, a business maps neighborhoods with similar characteristics to see new customer potential and where to target advertising.   

Sharing the Wealth of Knowledge

To truly improve the capabilities of your organization however, your company needs to share this newfound intelligence with the rest of the organization. Everyone from CEOs and production managers to sales and marketing directors needs to be a part of the information exchange, but the data must be conveyed in ways that are useful for making decisions.

Operations dashboards provide real-time common operating pictures of the organization and can be used to view anything from production facilities to modes of transit to depots and retail outlets. Users can drill deep into data for more insight, depending on the information that is most important to them. Decision makers can then use the dashboards to monitor rapidly changing events and take intelligence-based action. 

Your organization is made up of a massive amount of data. To compete in today’s market, you need the capability to filter this vast quantity of information by its relevance, connections, and correlations. These relationships can all be mapped by time and place to understand risks and the market so you can make the next best decisions fast and ahead of your competition. 

Cindy Elliott
Cindy Elliott

is commercial lead, Esri. Elliott currently leads Esri’s commercial industry marketing team and acts as the go-to-market strategist for the manufacturing industry globally. For more than 15 years, she has worked with global manufacturers and enterprise class technology companies to help influence customer-focused business transformation. Prior to Esri, she worked at PTC (Boston, MA) for seven years where she helped launch a new business segment for Connected Service. Elliott earned a master’s of International Management degree from the Thunderbird Graduate School, in addition to completing the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. She also holds a Senior Visiting Industrial Fellow position at Aston Business School in Birmingham, UK, and is an established thought leader in servitization and manufacturer’s advanced services.