Tag: BAO

ArcGIS Business Analyst Online Beta–Part II, New and Improved

 by Brenda Wolfe

This week the ArcGIS Business Analyst Online beta was updated.  The feedback from the first release was glowing, but we hope users like the second beta even more when they see the flashy new features that have been added.  Here a few quick items…

For starters, the Home tab layout has changed to help users get started quickly.  Because many users want to enter an address right away, we have moved the Select Location tab to “Step 1.”

A new way to view and select sites has been added to the top of the Get Reports tab.  Users can now readily see the site name and characteristcs, making selection easier.

We are creating features to help users work more efficiently.  In the updated beta, users can now choose which tab they want the applicaiton to open to by default.  Tired of the Home tab?  Now you have a choice!

If you would like to check out these new features and more, e-mail me at bwolfe@esri.com.

More to come, stay tuned. 



Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

When dots on a map are not enough

by Jim Herries

A friend wrote me recently asking how to provide some additional value to a client who had mapped out their store network and that of their competitors as ‘dots on maps’ using a popular mashup approach.  Before offering suggestions, we exchanged emails about why the current visuals were unsatisfying to that client.

The heart of the issue is that visual representations are stimulating for a period of time, but ultimately they lead to a hunger for explanations.  The dots look good but immediately lead to questions that start with “Why…”. 

Any mapping software can be made to jam a ton of point symbols onto a single map.  Here’s an example from an interesting blog about a very specific issue.  If you browse through the blog, note the passion and frustration emerging in the thread.  All over a map???

Signal to noise ratio is out of whack.

In the case of my friend’s inquiry, the down economy has this client asking whether they have an appropriate configuration of stores relative to the market opportunity and to the competitive landscape.  The ‘dots on maps’ provided a clear benefit: it helped the client recognize that they were ready for some actual analysis of the situation. 

We talked about doing more visuals with better symbols representing how many competitors were within the trade areas of the store network.  That was good too, in that it surfaced the fact that not all competitors are equal, in terms of brand strength or physical characteristics such as square footage. But better symbolization won’t substitute for good analysis.

You can see your favorite place to shop from the road, and you can see it on a map.  Do you understand why it is there?  Do you understand how long it can remain there profitably?  Do you have an idea of what it would become after that?  Someone should.  The markeplace answers all three of those questions over time, but watching the dots come and go on the map is different than analyzing and planning for which dots will come and go.

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!


Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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… :-)

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment