Tag: bao-only

New Business Analyst Online Beta Released

 by Brenda Wolfe


Last week the beta version of the next generation ArcGIS Business Analyst Online was released.  Current subscribers were offered the opportunity to kick the tires on this new version and provide feedback.  The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Here are a few of the quotes from users…

“Wow, looks great!” 

“I like the new look and feel.   

“I just looked at the new program and am thrilled with the new color coded map.”

And my personal favorite, “All the cool kids are using it.”

Many loved the new color-coded mapping capabilities that make the data in Business Analyst Online come alive.  In this example, the highest per capita income areas of San Francisco pop out (bright green areas).


If you have questions about accessing the new Business Analyst Online beta, you can e-mail me at bwolfe@esri.com.  Look for a generally available release of Business Analyst Online around mid May.

Remember, all the cool kids are using it!


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The Big Sort… Or, Love Thy Neighbors?

 by Brenda Wolfe

This weekend I picked up Bill Bishop’s book “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart” (published in 2008). According to Bishop’s research, over the past 30 years we Americans have been gradually sorting ourselves into homogenous communities.  Every year, between 4 and 5 percent of the population moves.  And when they move, they make the subtle choice of choosing neighborhoods that they think fit them best, bearing out the notion that like attracts like.  People are attracted to and feel comfortable among others with the same beliefs, ways of life, and political bent.  It is the local political balkanization that is the “tearing us up” part of Bishop’s title. 

Bishop contends that marketers were among some of the first to pick up on this trend.  Indeed, marketers use what is known as segmentation data to be able to hone their messages down to neighborhood level.  ESRI offers its own Tapestry Segmentation data that is included in ArcGIS Business Analyst Online. 

Using the color-coded mapping in Business Analyst Online, I was able to determine that I live in one of the areas of Redlands, California dominated by Pleasant-Ville types of people, as seen here by the green highlighted areas.

ESRI’s Tapestry Segmentation handbook gave me a detailed description of “my people.”  Much of it was spot on.  I won’t spill the beans, but I do think my segment has superior qualities to the other 65 segments.  :-)

If you would like to know which types of people dominate your local area, check out ESRI’s ZIP Lookup Tool to get your own free report of top Tapestry segments in your ZIP Code. 

See if you are indeed like your neighbors.


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Does Geography Matter – to Business?

by Johan Herrlin

When people speak about the value of GIS for business they tend to apply their existing knowledge of government use cases and paradigms, often leading them to draw hasty conclusions. In many government applications of GIS, such as parcel management or water/wastewater utilities, the individual workflows are geocentric. That is, they are fundamentally geographic in nature and the entire workflow revolves around managing the geographic component of the task at hand. In these cases, it’s easy to see the value of GIS in the transaction.

In contrast, when GIS is applied to solve many business problems, it is common to geo-enable an existing workflow. In this case, there is an existing workflow that is augmented and enhanced through the use of GIS, as opposed to being the central element of the workflow.

This can lead people to view the value that GIS brings to business applications as being less significant than in government applications. It can be argued, however, that the actual impact of GIS on these types of decisions is perhaps even greater than in many government spaces.

For instance, customer analytics and target marketing represents core operating functions for most businesses. While it is possible for businesses to investigate many facts about their existing customers, such as which products are sold in which store, or which products have the greatest margin, there is no way for them to generalize those trends to the broader population. This can lead to a very myopic view of a business’ customer base.

By simply applying one of the most fundamental capabilities of GIS – geocoding and appending, organizations can enrich their internal customer data with external information such as demographics, consumer expenditures and segmentation data. This allows organizations to now look at the types of people that tend to purchase a particular product, how far the best quality customers are willing to travel to consume a good or service, or where to find more of the best customers.

In this case, GIS plays only one part in a larger workflow, but serves to enable a whole new set of questions to be asked about existing data. Without the use of GIS, organizations don’t fully leverage the investments they have already made into other enterprise systems such as CRMs and ERPs. By applying GIS, these organizations can increase the expected lift from marketing campaigns, better cross-sell goods and services, and find additional high value customers through simply geo-enabling an existing, non-GIS workflow.

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The Insane Amounts of Data in ArcGIS Business Analyst…

   by James Killick

When I joined the ArcGIS Business Analyst team about a year ago I was astounded by the depth and breadth of data that we ship with the Business Analyst products — over 11,000 variables on current year and five year forecast demographics, thousands of variables on consumer spending habits, over 12,000,000 businesses, crime data, traffic congestion data, banking data — this list just goes on and on and on.

If you want to see just how insane it gets take a look at this:


Households that used three or more packages of dog biscuits in the last month??  You’re kidding me?

It turns out we’re not just creating all this data for fun. It’s actually vital for learning where a business can be successful or determining ways in which a business can be made more successful. You can use it to laser focus your marketing … or to help you decide which product lines to carry in a store … or to help determine whether a particular location is still viable for business.

If you want to see more drill down to the Esri data pages on esri.com at http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data

Have fun exploring… :-)

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Colorful Las Vegas

By Brenda Wolfe

This past December I experienced the joy of running the Las Vegas half marathon alongside people dressed as Elvis, women dressed as brides, and full-marathoners in much better shape than me.  I noticed the marathon route not only went through the luxurious high-end casino area of Las Vegas Boulevard, but also through the more colorful areas of Las Vegas located just off Las Vegas Boulevard where tired-looking retail warehouses of showgirl clothing await the next lucky lady in need of a sizzling outfit. 

This got me thinking, how much do I really know about Las Vegas beyond Las Vegas Blvd?  To satiate my curiosity, I fired up Business Analyst Online and mapped some demographics variables contained in the product to see what would pop out.

First, let’s see where the money is.  Here a look at 2008 Per Capita Income estimates:

Per Capita Income (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest):

most diverse (red areas are the most diverse)…

Diversity Index (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest):


So do the wealthy own more cars?  Looks like it.  At least there aren’t many car owners on the strip.

Average # of Vehicles per Household (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest): 



So guess who’s walking to work…  workers in the red areas, that’s who.

Workers Who Walk to Work (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest): 


I’ve heard Vegas is turning into more of family town.  So where are the large families?  Looks like in the northeast part of Las Vegas.

Average Household Size (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest): 


So that leaves the rest of the LasVegas population without large families to spend money on dating services.  I guess that is a first step to a larger family potentially.  By the way, if any of the people in the red areas need a special outfit to spice up their dating lives, I know where to find a nice showgirl clothing warehouse.

Money Spent on Dating Services (yellow is the lowest, red is the highest): 

Next week… Where is the highest concentration of Elvis impersonators?

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Why Business Analyst is Even More Relevant in a Down Economy…

  by James Killick 

Yep – I’m sure you’ve all heard enough already. Stores closing left right and center. Circuit City, Mervyn’s, Linens’n’Things,  … and likely many more to come.

The use case for ArcGIS Business Analyst has commonly revolved around where to open a new store or where to expand in a new market. Making the wrong decision about location can result in wasting huge amounts of money.

However, it’s important to realize the same is also true for downsizing and consolidation. If you need to close a store or exit a regional market the Business Analyst products can help you make the right decision about which store to close…

Using Business Analyst you can easily rank your stores according to performance based on market penetration or determine which stores have the greatest potential in the future based on their proximity to your best type of customers and predicted growth for the local market.

And it doesn’t stop at site selection. Customers are using Business Analyst to laser target their marketing on not only the right locations, but the right kind of people in the right locations. And they’re also using Business Analyst to optimize their sales and service areas using the Business Analyst’s territory design tools (more about those in a later blog).

Talk to us if you want to learn more about how to do all this – we’d be glad to help you out!

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User Experience – We get it or we might have…

  by Sooria Jeyaraman

Usability: “The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” (ISO 9241-11)

Major goal of our latest release of Business Analyst Online is to improve the usability and user experience of the product. Exposing our vast sets of data in our products has always been a challenge, to say the least let alone do some analysis with it. Most of you would agree with me that no design could be perfect until it serves the purpose effectively. We as a company have realized that and user experience is very much in ESRI’s radar these days (Woo hoo!!). We’ve incorporated some of the user centered design principles for this upcoming release of Business Analyst Online 9.3.


Let me explain the process a bit. A small window of opportunity was created within the project schedule to accommodate designers (user experience architect and visual designer) early in the product cycle. Designers along with the product management made use of the situation by incorporating these three simple steps.
1.    Listen to the users
2.    Usability testing and listen to the users
3.    Listen to the users again.

We actually listened (literally!) to the customers through our numerous customer interviews and tried to analyze the user’s goals and expectations of the product. Sample personas were created to bring life to our users and numerous white boarding sessions happened over months. Finally after several redesigns a working prototype was created.  This prototype was given to the actual users in the form of usability testing to initiate our second step of listening.

Usability testing as expected served as a great eye opener for the stakeholders of the project and for us designers too. We watched and listened to the miseries of our users actually trying to use our prototype. There were times we wanted to go across the one way mirror and show the user where that particular link was.. hey, but there were occasions where the users  were delighted about our design as well, so there was something to boost our egos :)

After these sessions, we got back to the drawing board to analyze the reasons why certain design elements didn’t work with our users. After remedying those issues, we tested it again with our users and repeated the process multiple times. The beta that is going to be out soon might not solve all the issues but we are hoping to hit a field goal ;) at the minimum. Having said that, there is always room for improvement and as I mentioned earlier no design is perfect until it solves the user goals effectively and efficiently. We still might go back to our drawing boards based on what we hear from you.

- SJ

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Calculate a walk time in Business Analyst Online

 by Jim Herries

All ArcGIS Business Analyst products can calculate drive times to help you understand your market.  How can they help with “walk time” calculations? 

A drive time analysis uses the actual road network, including speed limits, road types, one-way streets and other factors to calculate the trade area for a store, assuming people prefer to drive to it.  For example, I’ll drive about 5 minutes to eat lunch, I’ll drive about 10 minutes to a hardware store, but I’ll drive 30 minutes for a great meal at a favorite Italian restaurant (I mean you, Mario’s Place in Riverside). 

A few subscribers to Business Analyst Online have asked over the years whether it can help them look at businesses who depend on walk-up customers as a significant component of their daily business.  Can it do “walk time” analysis?

Absolutely.  There’s no software setting for it, but if you can move a decimal point, you’re good to go.  How?

Walk times are not for everyone.

A ‘walk time’ analysis can assume a 3 mph walk speed.  A drive time on that same street probably assumes 30 mph driving speed (ok, some streets are faster, some slower, but this is an estimation).  To get an estimated 5 minute walk time, just enter 0.5 minutes as the drive time. The resulting polygon shows you how far someone can typically walk in 5 minutes (or drive in 0.5 minutes — that’s 30 seconds in your car, hardly enough time to get the traffic report on the radio). To get a 12 minute walk time, enter 1.2 minutes as your drive time parameter.

Want to show the impact of adding a free trolley to your community?  Upload your trolley stop locations, buffer each by 0.5 minutes (aka 5 minute walk time) and run demographic reports in Business Analyst Online to understand the population and spending habits of people in the area.  If you own ArcGIS Business Analyst on the desktop or server, you can adjust the software to use 3 mph on all pedestrian-capable roads to obtain a more accurate estimate.


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Esri Data – Did you know? Valentine’s Day Edition

Valentine's Day Heart  by Catherine Spisszak

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  Whether you choose to participate or not, there is no denying that Valentine’s Day spurs the demand for romantic gifts such as roses, boxed chocolates, champagne and even diamonds. In 2008, over 47 million people purchased boxed chocolates in six months alone.  Almost 18 million Americans bought diamond jewelry in 2008 and over 9 million ordered flowers over the internet.

Esri Data can reveal very interesting facts about the market for Valentine’s Day gifts across the country. The Esri Consumer Spending Data includes total expenditures, average spending per household, and a Spending Potential Index to reveal trends in spending patterns in this changing economy.  

The Chevy Chase area in Maryland appears to be one of the more romantic areas in the country.  This area has the highest Spending Potential Index for indoor plants and fresh flowers and jewelry.  Households in that area spent $329 on average on indoor plants and fresh flowers and over $900 on jewelry in 2008.

The Esri Market Potential data includes a Market Potential Index (MPI) that compares the demand for a specific product or service in an area to the national demand.  Rose Valley Borough, Pennsylvania has an MPI of 238 for ordering flowers on Internet in the last twelve months, 138% above the national average!   Sweet Home City, Oregon fell below the national average with an MPI of 81 for purchasing boxed chocolates in last 6 months.  And finally, in Round Rock, Texas the MPI for buying diamond jewelry in last 12 months is 120, 20% above the national average. 

So for those men out there that are spoken for, let this serve as your reminder that Valentine’s Day is this weekend.  And, to find out what other goods and services are represented in the Esri Consumer Spending and Market Potential databases, please visit http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data/index.html.

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What does “population” mean, exactly?

  by Michael Scofield

According to the Census Bureau, population totals reflect the total number of persons residing in an area of standard geography. This figure includes citizens and non-citizens. The Census count strives to include illegal aliens (if they are living here) even if they are not specifically identified as such.

The primary criteria for being counted by the U.S. Census Bureau is being a permanent resident the area being enumerated.

Not all U.S. citizens are included in the U.S. population count as shown in the sketch below.

At the time of this writing, the Census Bureau estimates the population of the U.S. to be nearly 306 million. That figure doesn’t include U.S. citizens living overseas on a more or less permanent basis.

Many forms of analysis use household population, which excludes persons in group quarters (dormitories, prisons, military barracks, etc.).

A subset of households are family households. A family is defined as a householder and one or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption. Other, unrelated persons may live in the household, but they are not counted as part of the family for census tabulations.

So when you see or use a population statistic, you want to clearly understand what categories of people are included.

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