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Location analysis, intelligence take BI process to a new place

Analyzing location data can help boost revenues and cut costs. But getting to where you want to go with location intelligence requires some effort.

Real estate, famously, is all about location, location, location. Business intelligence and analytics haven't reached that point yet, not by any stretch of the imagination. But location data is taking on a higher profile in BI and analytics circles, enabling the development of location intelligence applications that let business users map, track and analyze spatial data, demographic records, logistics data and other types of information. 

In a report published by The Data Warehousing Institute in September 2012, David Loshin, president of consultancy Knowledge Integrity Inc., cited a variety of potential uses for location analysis, from assessing eligibility for government assistance after natural disasters to optimizing transportation routing for product distribution.

Also, more advanced technologies are entering the location intelligence picture. For example, mobile applications are fertile ground for location-based analytics. And in a June 2013 report, consulting company Forrester Research Inc. detailed what it termed "the next stage" for marketers looking to tap into location technology: location-enabled predictive marketing aimed at better assessing the future interests and needs of customers.

But you can't just arrive at your location intelligence destination without putting in some effort to get there. Loshin's report listed to-do items such as building a suitable systems infrastructure and standardizing processes for integrating location data into BI systems. We've published a series of articles on SearchBusinessAnalytics designed to help you get started on the location analytics road. In one, we delve more deeply into location intelligence use cases and applications to provide a solid idea of what the technology can be used for. In another, we catalog tips from experienced users on implementing and managing location intelligence systems. We also take a close look at the benefits and challenges of deploying mobile location analysis apps. Hopefully, you'll have a smooth journey to the place you're trying to get to with location intelligence. Let me know how it goes.

Craig Stedman is executive editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at, and follow us on Twitter: @BizAnalyticsTT.

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What's the primary use or planned use for location analytics in your organization?