Changing the Way Business Thinks About Information

A lineup of plenary speakers including Kohler, General Motors, 3M, and Jones Lang Lasalle kicked off the Esri Business Summit held on Sunday at the Omni Hotel. Bruce Wong, manager of advanced network analytics at General Motors Company, began the morning talking about how important it is for GM to understand their business analytics. The company transformed itself from the bankruptcy it experienced in 2009 to posting $1 billion in Q1 profits this year.  “Using location analytics significantly changes the insights into the future – you get an understanding of where you came from and find out where you want to go,” said Wong.

GM's Bruce Wong discussed the importance of location analytics at the Esri Business Summit.

Wong said location has helped the company become more analytical, trim the fat, and get business fit. This is extremely important as the company changes the way it thinks and as budgets are downsized to meet the new era of thinking at GM. He also offered the following advice to the approximately 400 audience members: develop good project management, embrace what your customer is doing, and enter into partnerships with other companies where it makes sense, like service providers, to ensure success.

Dr. Wayne M. Gearey Jr., senior vice president of location intelligence at Jones Lang LaSalle, reiterated this and added that location intelligence is the game changer. “Using location analytics, we can define our data filters to understand the best location based on what the global ecosystem looks like,” said Gearey. “This is important because our ultimate goal is to keep our clients happy so they come back again and again.”

Dr. Wayne M. Gearey, Jones Lang Lasalle, said location intelligence is a game changer for business.

Rob Bakker, knowledge manager at Achmea, an insurance and financial services firm in the Netherlands, stressed that it is imperative for business managers to think about old things in new ways. Achmea’s use of GIS has led to streamlining processes for 18,000 employees, cutting costs, and innovating new products.

Interstate Batteries leverages GIS to enhance their outrageously dependable service model. A $1 billion, privately held company, Interstate Battery relies on a vast network of dealers to sell their products and provide spent batteries for recycling.  Esri technology is at the center of their efforts to maximize the efficiencies of Interstate Batteries Distributors as they serve their supported dealers.  “Esri mapping technology serves as the glue of our best of breed CRM, Business Intelligence and Master Data Management solution by providing a visual delivery mechanism for Distributor route fulfillment.  At Interstate Batteries we strive to serve our Distributors and Dealers with the best products and business / technology solutions, including opportunities to make GIS useful and effective,” said Mike Darr, program manager for Interstate Batteries Market IQ Program. “Before you know it, you’ll have the user looking at data in ways he never pictured it and uncovering previously unknown opportunity.”

Interstate Batteries' Mike Darr talked about finding simple opportunities to make GIS useful and effective.

Speakers from Kohler, 3M, and AIR Worldwide rounded out the morning, all reiterating themes of keeping projects small and simple, and taking care not to be a business interrupter. “Make sure you bring the tools you use to them. Don’t change the charts and spreadsheets your managers use – don’t complicate their lives any further,” said Simon Thompson, director of commercial industry for Esri.

Breakout sessions and lightning talks filled the afternoon and the evening ended with a social sponsored by Gold sponsor Microsoft and silver sponsors Accuweather, CloudTrigger, icubed, Nokia, and TomTom.

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