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ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

September 2012


Changing the Way Business Thinks about Information

By Karen Richardson
Esri Writer

Understanding where business happens by analyzing location data is becoming an important component of success in an increasingly complex economy.

GM's Bruce Wong discussed the importance of location analytics at the Esri Business Summit.
GM's Bruce Wong discussed the importance of location analytics at the Esri Business Summit.

That point about location analytics was drilled home by executives from Kohler, General Motors (GM), 3M, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Interstate Batteries during the Esri Business Summit, held last July in San Diego, California. More than 400 business professionals attended the conference to talk about how commercial organizations around the world use GIS and place-based decision making to support customer service, increase profits, and effectively manage change.

Bruce Wong, manager of advanced network analytics at General Motors, spoke about how important it is for GM to understand its business analytics.

The company transformed itself from the bankruptcy it experienced in 2009 to posting $1 billion in profits in the first quarter of this year. "Using location analytics significantly changes the insights into the future. You get an understanding of where you came from and find out where you want to go," Wong said.

With location analytics, Wong said, the company now focuses more on conducting analysis using GIS. He also offered this advice: develop good project management, embrace what your customer is doing, and enter into partnerships with other companies like service providers—when it makes sense—to ensure success.

Wayne M. Gearey, Jr., of Jones Lang LaSalle said location intelligence is a game changer for business.
Wayne M. Gearey, Jr., of Jones Lang LaSalle said location intelligence is a game changer for business.

Wayne M. Gearey, Jr., senior vice president of location intelligence at Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate, reiterated this. He said that location intelligence is a game changer.

"Using location analytics, we can define our data filters to understand the best location [for a project] based on what the business ecosystem looks like," said Gearey. "This is important because our ultimate goal is to get our clients to a 'geography of opportunity' using the right people, data, and technology. As a result, we build trust, and they come back again and again."

Rob Bakker, knowledge manager at Achmea, an insurance and financial services firm in the Netherlands, stressed that it is imperative for business managers to think about old things in new ways. Achmea's use of GIS has led to streamlining processes for 18,000 employees, cutting costs, and innovating new products.

Interstate Batteries, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, uses GIS to improve its service model. A $1 billion, privately held company, Interstate Batteries relies on a vast network of dealers to sell its products and provide spent batteries for recycling. Esri technology is at the center of the company's efforts to assist Interstate Batteries distributors as they serve their dealers.

Interstate Batteries's Mike Darr talked about finding simple opportunities to make GIS useful and effective.
Mike Darr from Interstate Batteries talked about finding simple opportunities to make GIS useful and effective.

Mike Darr, program manager for Interstate Batteries's Market IQ program, said that Esri mapping technology makes distributor route fulfillment easier by providing a visual delivery platform that ties together the customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence, and master data management solutions. "Before you know it, you'll have the user looking at data in ways he never pictured it and uncovering previously unknown opportunity," Darr said.

Other plenary speakers included Felma Degefa, senior staff engineer at Kohler Co.; David Kniffin, business manager for 3M Traffic Safety Systems; and Sudhir Potharaju, vice president of software development for AIR Worldwide.

For more information on how commercial organizations around the world use Esri technology to make better business decisions, visit esri.com/retail.

 
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