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Opinion

Is there enough aWhereness?
Natalie Newman By: Natalie Newman, Senior Analyst, Bloor Research
Published: 4th January 2011
Copyright Bloor Research © 2011
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Geographic or location technology has been around for a few decades now. Why has it not infiltrated into the enterprise as one would have expected?

Most Government departments have their GIS and do the usual analysis and create the usual maps. A lot of businesses probably use their GIS too. However, is location exploited as much as it can be?

We all know the answer to that but the question is: Why is this not happening?

In the past, location information has been separated from information management due to technology constraints, limited availability of data and complex operations. The GIS department was usually manned by those technical people, and requests were usually for the same old output. The bridge between the technical and the business was rarely crossed.

There are so many case studies available about the amazing solutions made possible by location analysis. GIS is commonly recognised and identified as the system that produces maps. There is a general lack of understanding of exactly WHAT difference location can bring.

We have moved into a period of location data abundance, amazing technologies delivering amazing results and complexity that is fading away.

The time has come for us in the location information industry to start questioning ourselves: Where are we going wrong?

Are we measuring the benefit of location analysis in a way that business will sit up and take note? Are the benefits appropriate and realistic? And are we using the language that business speaks? Do we really understand the business requirements?

Probably not, because how would we know what the business decision-makers really want? They are not easily accessible.

Therefore, it may be time to re-think and re-consider how to ensure location is incorporated into the information on which businesses rely.  Location needs to be part of enterprise information.

We need to target those people who are in contact with the decision-makers and get to discuss the business. Only by considering the whole picture i.e. business strategies, requirements and issues, can the prospects for exploiting locations be identified.

One group who fit into this picture could be the Sales Executives.

We need to increase aWhereness and convince Sales Execs that location is an untapped resource waiting for exploitation.  Firstly, in order to gain their attention, location needs to be talked about in terms of deliverables and business benefits. The usual jargon will definitely have to be replaced with clear terms leaning towards business speak. We need to re-examine the way location is explained. We need to re-think the examples and case studies. Do they really illustrate the power of location in a business way?

If we can empower the Sales Execs, they are only one of the groups who can identify opportunities where location can make that difference and add value. We need to find others and increase their aWhereness, too.

The GI industry really needs to have a re-think and re-focus on what actions will increase the utilization of location. We, in the industry, have such an enthusiasm for GI. Why are we failing to project this onto others?

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