InetSoft BI Webcast: Geographic Business Intelligence

This is a continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft entitled "Geographic Business Intelligence." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

How do you make the business case to senior management for a geographic business intelligence project?

Mark Flaherty (MF): It is important to not underestimate that you need to step back and make some basic points. Even in a large enterprise, it may well be the case that the CEO is not familiar with GIS and what it can offer. And the mistake sometimes people make is to go into too detailed an explanation of what the technology can offer. From a senior executive’s point of view, they might not discriminate between geographic business intelligence and a spreadsheet of zip codes, and that would be because the benefits have never been articulated to them.

There are three main messages to take to this audience. The first is the added value of geographic information. This is simply making the point that there are things that you can only do with a geographic approach that can’t be done with traditional reporting or spreadsheets. List examples that you have in mind for your project.

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The second message has to do with the concept of business data visualization. Once a chief executive or a CFO sees information that they have not seen before, such as the financial performance of their operations laid out across a map, the level of interest goes through a step change. Mock up an example, preferably using an evaluation version of the software, like we offer.

The third point has to do with the power of integration. Geography has an inherent value of being a common attribute that can be found in many data sources. You always have information about customers and their addresses in one system, and in a separate database you have information about complaints or work tickets. Through geography you can combine those two data sets and understand which customers are most affected by whatever operations your are looking at. So you can mash up information from these various sources using this common key. It’s important to make sure that senior executives are clear on these very basic points that we might take for granted.

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How can you quantify the benefits of geographic business intelligence?

What benefits might accrue to the customers, consumers or citizens? Does it increase satisfaction or improve quality for them? Secondly you can look at processes that you are embedding geographic business intelligence into in terms of increased efficiency or decreased risk. Does it make you less liable to make a mistake? The third angle is in terms of outputs. Does it increase productivity or capacity? Lastly financial impact. Does it raise revenues or lower costs?

You don’t need to make the case on each of these dimensions, but it’s a useful checklist to come up with the business case drivers for your BI project.

To conclude, you can see how geographic information and business intelligence are very complementary, and a lot of times the ingredients for making a useful application already exist in an enterprise. So there is rather quick ROI when integrating what already exists in data bases and systems with a flexible BI tool such as InetSoft's. Business visualization is a great way to take the solution to chief executives, so build an example and show it to them. Be confident and make a positive business case.

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