Esri Adds GIS to Business Intelligence, Promotes “Location Analytics”
This week marks the 33rd annual users conference for Esri, a leading provider of mapping software and geospatial information systems (GIS). In Internet time, that should qualify the privately held company for elder statesman status.
The Redlands, CA-based software developer (founded in 1969 as Environmental Systems Research Institute) currently holds an estimated 40 percent or more of the global GIS market and is just introducing version 10.2 of its popular ArcGIS product line.
Yet longevity also can pose some challenges. For more than 13,500 GIS users and professionals attending the conference this week at the San Diego Convention Center, the invariable question is what’s new? Or perhaps more to the point, where is the innovation?
Esri’s answer, which became apparent during a business summit that preceded the conference, is “location analytics.”
“If you look at business data, the location aspect of customers, suppliers, corporate offices, and other relevant information is pervasive,” says James Killick, who leads Esri’s location analytics group. Killick says location analytics can add insights to business decisions in the same way that prospective homebuyers consider geographic factors like the quality of local schools and neighborhood crime rates in their purchasing decisions.
Killick says business intelligence is a $12 billion market that represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Esri, which has been working to integrate its GIS capabilities in a host of products—from Microsoft’s Excel and Sharepoint to IBM Cognos, SAS Enterprise BI Servers, SAP Business Objects, and Teradata. Of course, it faces competition today from some of those same companies; Microsoft, for example, is working to integrate map-data visualization tools into Excel.
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