Business is based on relationships, you’ll often hear. And that’s true. To be successful, you must build relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders. But there are other critical relationships: those among data. A thorough grasp of geographic information systems (GIS) and data analytics can give executives powerful insights that aren’t available any other way.
GIS has become a critical tool for success because a relationship with location is a common trait for many types of data. Want to know about customers? They live and work in locations. Want to improve your supply chain? It operates in and through locations. Need to track competitors? They have market strengths and weaknesses based on locations. Are operational costs a concern? They include labor, utilities, taxes, logistics, facilities — all factors of location.
GIS systems can capture location information and use it to correlate different types of data. Companies can then use advanced analytic practices and tools for strategic advantages in many industries, as GIS vendor Esri points out in just a few possible examples.
- Retail: A company could examine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns for different regions or demographic groups, compare sales revenue and profitability by territory, and plan where to place stores.
- Insurance: Understanding potential exposure by area could help an insurance company predict and mitigate losses from a natural disaster or predict fraud in given regions.
- [programpush poi=”MBAHC”]Energy: Geographic distribution of power outages and repairs could help pinpoint delivery anomalies and grid weaknesses. Customer-based analysis might help better plan services for increased revenue and profitability.
- Finance: A bank could examine deposits, loans, fees, and other revenue contributions by demographic and branch and build a model for new locations. Cross-departmental analysis could allow more accurate business forecasts and studies.
- Health care: Organizations can combine analyses of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, patient demographics, insurance coverage, and other factors to identify customer clusters, potential locations for facilities, optimized marketing and specialty profitability.
- Transportation: In an industry that is essentially the coordination of places and times, knowing such factors as customer demographics, origin and destination points, costs of operation, passenger or freight densities, revenue per seat and on-time performance can allow executives to more effectively plan routes, depot locations, service areas and offerings, and pricing.
GIS-enabled analysis allows managers to undertake studies that help improve margins, identify revenue opportunities, spot needlessly unprofitable operations, and gain efficiencies. That’s why smart MBA degree programs incorporate extensive data analysis instruction and experience, like American Sentinel’s program where the curriculum integrates business intelligence, GIS and informatics together with business principles.