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
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
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.”