ArcNews Online

Fall 2008

User Productivity and Experience Improved in the Business Analyst 9.3 Product Suite

ArcGIS Core Technology Leveraged in Desktop and Server for Business Solution Products


  • Productivity is the key theme for ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3.
  • ArcGIS Business Analyst Server 9.3 leverages desktop analysis tools.
  • Territory analysis tools are improved in ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop.

ArcGIS Business Analyst is a suite of product solutions that addresses a series of business-related questions, such as, Where should I put my next store? How is my current store performing? Is my merchandise what consumers in the area want? Am I offering the right services to my population segments? In these economic times, businesses and government agencies more than ever need reliable and effective tools to help them decide where to locate; relocate; expand; or, in some cases, consolidate facilities. To maximize their return on investment (ROI), businesses, in particular, must find their most profitable customers so that they can market to them effectively, optimize their merchandising mix for different markets, and reduce unsold inventory. To do this, they must understand customer buying behaviors and find the best markets and store locations that match their customers' profiles. Demographics, segmentation data, population forecasts, and other related data provide the answers to these questions.

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This image was created with an ArcGIS Business Analyst Server/Google mashup. The HTML version of the image displays the drive-time trade area and the Demographic and Income Profile Report on a Web page.

State and local governments, faced with limited resources and shrinking budgets, must make decisions about whether and where to locate new facilities, such as libraries, police stations, fire stations, schools, hospitals, senior centers, and other health-related centers. Economic development departments want to continue to attract new enterprises and at the same time retain existing businesses in their cities or counties. To do so, they must understand local market conditions to be able to recommend suitable locations in their trade area. Urban planners need to know if existing services meet the needs of the populations in the area, or if new or additional services are needed.

Esri's Business Analyst product suite helps businesses and governmental agencies to address all these challenges. It is built on top of ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server, and its goal at the 9.3 release is to improve productivity by giving users the ability to analyze scenarios that have multiple input sources with one set of tools.

The Business Analyst products include wizard-based applications that provide analysis and visualization capabilities, enabling users to get the best answers to all the above questions. Behind these applications is a rich library of data from leading providers, including Esri's current-year updates and five-year projections of demographic data, along with census, segmentation, and consumer spending data. It also provides information about market potential, retail supply and demand, and traffic counts for specified locations. Business listings and summaries, information about major shopping centers, and bank branch and deposit data are also available.

ArcGIS Business Analyst

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This image was also created with an ArcGIS Business Analyst Server/Google mashup. The ArcGIS Explorer version of the image shows the drive-time trade area with the Demographic and Income Profile Report.

ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3 with 2008 data started shipping recently. This desktop software provides workflows for site selection, territory analysis, economic development, and planning. Designed for users who perform more complex analyses than those offered by the online product, ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop software provides advanced analysis tools and an extensive library of data to help users make better business decisions; for example, users can define the criteria for a profitable market, identify customer types and prospects, learn the characteristics of their best customers, and be able to find more like them.

Because the key theme of the 9.3 release is productivity, the goal is to ensure that the software meets the market analysis needs of all sizes of organizations in commercial real estate, retail, economic development, and urban planning and to help users become more efficient and effective in making the best business decisions. The following significant improvements have been made to the tools for reporting and analysis, trade area creation, and territory design:

  • Report enhancements enable users to compare multiple trade areas to a benchmarked trade area, create a report with a map screen shot or series of screen shots, compare the demographic characteristics of customer groups, customize standard reports, create and save variable lists for reports and analyses, and run reports from the Project Explorer.
  • Analysis enhancements enable users to rank areas by customer demographics or find the best locations to serve customers more efficiently. The Find Similar tool now simply uses existing polygon layers, such as Drive Time trade areas, and matches potential sites to the master site with field linking.
  • Territory enhancements include the comparison of territories by rebalancing older territories with new sales figures or office locations and reducing the processing time for balancing, rebalancing, or re-creating territories.
  • Trade area enhancements enable users to calculate threshold areas by drive times in addition to rings and create arbitrary trade areas with map clicks. An important enhancement to identifying and labeling standard geography trade areas is the automatic output of the trade area name in the attribute table.
  • Other improvements include a significantly smoother software installation process, along with better documentation and online help, such as more illustrations and maps, more clearly worded error messages, and reformatted tables of contents.

ArcGIS Business Analyst Segmentation Module

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This image shows how reports can be customized with ArcGIS Business Analyst.

The ArcGIS Business Analyst Segmentation Module, an optional add-on to ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop software, is a wizard-driven application that helps identify the most profitable customer and prospect types by market area. For more precise customer profiling applications, Tapestry, Esri's segmentation system, is included in the ArcGIS Business Analyst Segmentation Module at the block group geography level. With Tapestry data, users can create detailed segmentation studies in graphic report format to identify customer types by their demographics and product and media preferences.

Volumetric fields (of, or relating to, measurement by volume) have been added to the reporting capabilities in the Segmentation Module in the 9.3 release, enabling users to weight their segmentation profiles by the total dollars spent by segment, the total number of purchases by segment, or the total volume of goods consumed by segment. When analyzing the Tapestry segments, users can also include volumetric information, such as sales, number of visits to a store, and dollars spent by each consumer. Volumetric options are also included in the Tapestry Profile Volume Report and the Market Potential Volume Report.

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server is an enterprise-level solution for sharing and collaborating on geographic business analysis. It includes ArcGIS Server; out-of-the-box Web applications and workflow templates for site evaluation and selection, market planning, and customer analysis applications; and a complete library of data. Developers can customize and integrate ArcGIS Business Analyst Server Web applications and workflows with an existing IT infrastructure and other back-office systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). ArcGIS Business Analyst Server is available at the Workgroup level for small deployments or at the Enterprise level for larger deployments.

Enhancements in the 9.3 release, scheduled to be available in late 2008, include the following:

  • Integration and Custom Development reduces the complexity of implementing geospatial techniques in any platform or application. These include updated APIs for SOAP and REST with end points for both .NET and Java.
  • Stateless Business Objects is a fundamental architectural change that enables ArcGIS Business Analyst Server to support more users simultaneously with lower consumption of CPU and RAM resources.
  • Custom Task/Task List and Custom Tools/Toolbar enable users to create custom functionality from the Task List and the Toolbar of the Business Analyst Server Tools applications.
  • New reports include Customer Demographic Profile, Customer Profile and Prospecting, Find Similar, Benchmark Report, and Executive Summary.
  • New output formats enable Microsoft Excel spreadsheet users to export to CSV, making the data available for use by any spreadsheet function.

The breadth of the Business Analyst product suite enables users to select the product that will deliver the functionality needed to perform applications most effectively.

More Information

For more information about the ArcGIS Business Analyst product suite, visit

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