Ventana Research’s benchmark research on trends in location analytics show growing enterprise needs for location services and a signification challenge in analyzing information in location context.
Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana Research, shares insights from the report, “Ventana Research Business Trends in Location Analytics Benchmark Research – September 2013.”

Information Management: What are the trends driving adoption of location analytics?

Mark Smith: The number one reason driving change to adopt location analytics is a new initiative to provide better information for making decisions in over half, 51 percent, of organizations. Organizations that have adopted and use location analytics find the most important benefit is improving customer experience and satisfactions, according to a fifth of organizations. In fact, the most important business aspect to improve use of location-related information is electronic commerce of products and services, 64 percent, followed by consumer access to product information. The use of location analytics has the most appeal to those using it for any aspect of interacting and servicing the needs of customers.

What are some of the key findings revealed from your research?

The first is that over one-third, 35 percent, of organizations are planning to change the way they use location information and analytics over the next 12 to 18 months, and even more so in very large organizations by employee, 57 percent, and revenue, 62 percent. The second is the challenge today where almost half, 49 percent specifically, state it requires significant effort and is very difficult to analyze information in location context. Next is that consumer mapping with Microsoft and Google has been used for enterprise needs in 37 percent of organizations but only 8 percent are very satisfied. The assumption of just using free services on the Internet and adding data will not meet the needs of the enterprise, though IT sees this set of capability as providing a map of the data as the most important capability, 81 percent, but other aspects of visualizing metrics on a map for selection to perform analysis are just as important to those that have experience with location analytics.

What surprises or unexpected results did the research uncover?

The first is the difference in seeing the value of using location analytics in business versus IT where the research found that almost half of those in business, 48 percent, compared to IT, 16 percent, indicate it improves the results of activities and processes. This demonstrates the lack of awareness of the potential of the technology in IT. The second is that almost two-thirds of organizations looking to change the way they use location information and analytics do not find suitable software to meet their needs. This demonstrates the lack of awareness and education on what is possible today with technology. Last is that experience matters, as the research found that almost two-thirds, 62 percent, of respondents who are very experienced with location analytics improve their results significantly compared to those with less experience, 23 percent. These results find some elements of where business and IT need to be synchronized around innovating with business analytics using location, and examine the art of what is possible with dedicated software to meet their needs.

What do you expect in terms of viable use cases for location analytics – are they all around marketing?

The use cases for location analytics are across business processes of an entire organization, and our research finds that those customer related ones are the most prevalent in over half of organizations, 54 percent specifically, followed by market focused planning and execution, 40 percent, and those related to the manufacturing, distributing and providing information about product and services, coming in at 39 percent. Organizations can apply location analytics to just about any business process, and while customer ones are important, the research finds that improving the automation of marketing and providing more intelligence to the sales force are high priorities. For manufacturing organizations, the use of location for assets and sourcing materials to manufacturing to the distribution of the products is just as important.


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