Google Maps helped spread the online usage of features like geographic search, directions, or simply browsing maps for fun. Billions of people are using maps every single day to find relevant locations and support better decisions.
However, even with such a widespread usage of geographic tools, businesses are still not using them properly. It´s time to ask why:
>Why are sales territories still drawn using Paint or PowerPoint, and sometimes by hand?
> Why businesses are still blind about their geographical dispersion of their customers and assets?
> Why can’t a simple thematic map with sales evolution or market share be created as quickly as the driving directions for the next meeting?
Good questions indeed, and the most likely reasons your business still doesn’t use Location Analytics are:
Almost all your data can be seen and analyzed on a map. But most of the time the geographical dimension of your business data is hidden from the business users and decision makers. This prevents your business from knowing how to leverage geographical analysis for better results. It’s different looking at a data table or a bar chart instead of a map. You’ll always be missing something if you don’t have the spatial perspective of your business. And this usually means value and competitive edge.
2. Complex Tools
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the classical tools for geographical analysis, are complex and made for experts, impossible to be used by ‘common’ people like business analysts, marketeers and sales managers. So, if any of these users need any kind of geographical analysis asap, she can’t get it autonomously. Business Location Analytics tools needs to be as easy as Excel so that business can start using them by themselves widely and in a daily basis.
Let’s picture the following scenario – there is a new vegetarian restaurant opening in a frequented area of London. The dishes are delicious, there are many people passing by each day but do not go into the restaurant. Only after a few month the owner realizes that the people who live around eat mainly meat and fish dishes hence the unpopularity of the tasty vegetarian restaurant.
By knowing what their ideal customers care about, businesses can incorporate customer behavior data with demographic data and thus find suitable regions and locations for their stores.
Opening a new store without understanding customer behavior and linking it to their location is equivalent to shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the target. With the right location intelligence tools, businesses can fully control their decision-making processes and base them on insightful data and statistics, rather than just a guess.
3. Custom Development vs Ready-to-use
The companies that have tried to tackle internal use of geographical analytics usually followed the traditional path of building a custom developed IT project instead of using a ready-to-use solution. The common result is spending lots of time and money and end up with yet ‘another analytics system’ where user adoption is miserable, and a permanent team of developers is necessary just to keep it running. Nowadays this is a mistake, as there are Location Analytics ready-to-use (SaaS) solutions that cover the spectrum of business needs and don’t need initial investment.
Empowering your organization with Location Analytics capabilities, spreading and promoting its usage across different departments and users is fundamental for your business competitiveness. If you don’t manage your business with maps, sooner or later your competition will. Don’t be that person who doesn’t want to stop and ask for directions. Statistically, you’ll get lost.