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Report highlights growing role for location-mapping software

A new report from Dresner Advisory Services says businesses see increased value in location intelligence software, but products need to improve.

Businesses increasingly see location intelligence software as central to their corporate initiatives, but vendor products still have a ways to go to match users' preferences, according to a new report from Dresner Advisory Services.

In the survey of IT and business users, respondents ranked location-mapping software as their 12th most important business intelligence-related technology initiative -- behind mainstays of the field, such as dashboard development, self-service BI and data warehousing, but ahead of emerging technologies like cloud BI, big data and the Internet of Things.

More than half the respondents said location intelligence is either "critical" or "very important" to their organization. The average rating of location intelligence software's importance increased steadily each of the past three years, which the report said means businesses believe the technology is here to stay.

"We believe this shows a level of 'stickiness,' rather than a typical hype cycle of excitement and disillusion," the report stated.

However, when it comes to support for their most prioritized features, businesses are finding that vendor location-mapping software offerings sometimes fall short. According to the report, users said the most required feature is built-in geocoding capabilities -- converting street addresses to geographic coordinates -- which vendors do a good job of supporting. But users rank street-level data mapping and automated geocoding support as their next two concerns. The report ranked these features as fifth and fourth, respectively, on the list of top vendor-supported features. Users gave worldwide geocoding capability the lowest priority, but the feature ranked second for vendor support.

In general, the report stated, vendors are more likely than users to say that location intelligence software is critical or very important. But because the number of users who view the technology positively continues to increase year after year, the report's authors take that as a sign location-mapping software is cementing itself as a central business technology.

Ed Burns is site editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @EdBurnsTT.

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