Location Intelligence Maturity Model
Initial Insights & Enrichment
Location Intelligence transforms your data from a simple address into a record full of valuable information. The more Location Intelligence you integrate into your processes, the more actionable your insights become. You will be able to increase your organization’s operational efficiency, ensure that your company outperforms consumers’ expectations, assist with your digital transformation initiatives and more. All you need to do is—build on the data you already have.
Build on location data, you ask, but physical addresses are constants, right? Well, no, they’re not. Even the simplest aspect of location data, a postal code or a street address, is subject to change; a street name changes or postal codes get reassigned. Not only that, but the world around the address is changing; a new development gets built in the middle of an existing street, a natural disaster demolishes multiple homes, or a rural area undergoes urbanization. Location data changes, and therein lies the risk—and the reward.
Whether you’re in finance, insurance, government, retail, telecommunications, marketing, or any other industry that relies on location data to get the job done, the more on target your data is, the better your outcomes will be. To help ensure that your business makes the most of its location data, we’ve developed a maturity model for Location Intelligence, which allows you to calibrate how well you are managing your location data.
There are five levels to our Location Intelligence maturity model:
- Level 1: Good Enough
- Level 2: Enrichment
- Level 3: Premium
- Level 4: Aggregation
- Level 5: Real Time
In business, maturity isn’t marked by a place in time, or an event, it is measured by the continued effort to improve. And no matter how mature your business is, there is always room for improvement.
In part one of this blog, we define the first two levels and explain how to progress from one to the next.
Level 1: Insights
There is nothing terribly compelling about the low end of the Location Intelligence maturity model. Good Enough is table stakes for location intelligence—it only takes you so far. This level is defined by these basic principles:
- The use of open source data for basic analysis and mapping
- Segment maps at a macro level, such as countries, states and municipalities
- Use of batch processes for address cleansing
Good Enough is primarily useful for organizations that need a broad-brush approach, to the level of precision of the Forward Sortation Area (FSA). As you know, an FSA is simply a geographic region (the first three digits of a Canadian postal code). It will specify if an area is rural or urban, but it can’t be segmented any further than that. So, for example, you won’t know if an address is business or residential.
In many cases, the in-house list of addresses that you’ve built over time is your most valuable data asset. Depending on how your organization is structured, the data may live in multiple silos, with inconsistent fields and formats, so before you use it, you need to combine it and cleanse it. To do that, you will most likely use a batch process; a script that accounts for all the basics, like identifying and correcting formatting errors and validating postal codes.
You may choose to use open source addresses or buy a list. In either case, you’ll need to cleanse or scrub it as well before you use it. It’s important to ensure the currency and accuracy of the data you use to have confidence in your results. The success of your location-based data project will depend primarily on the quality of the data you begin with, in which case using open source data may be riskier than purchasing from a trusted vendor.
In any case, if your data location needs are simple enough, the first level of our maturity model may just be Good Enough.
Level 2: Enrich
If location data is important to your business, it won’t take long to realize the need to graduate from Good Enough to the next level of the maturity model, Enrichment. At this level, you increase your location intelligence by:
- Appending additional data sources to existing records
- Introducing basic geocoding
When your business calls for customer profiling, territory management, or serviceability insights, it becomes important for your location data to carry additional information. In general, when you begin manipulating data for any purpose, you are applying Business Intelligence (BI) to your assets. Location Intelligence is a specific subset of BI. For example, a utility company may want to know the square footage of a building at an address; a bank, the value of the property; or an insurance broker, the age of a home. The information you need is out there; the variety of available datasets is vast. All you need to do to enrich existing data for a specific use, is purchase the requisite data.
Many industries rely on the geographic location of an address to inform decisions, but that may not be as simple as it sounds. Consider a street that has two equally valid names, such as Main Street and a highway designation. Each address on that street (or highway) can be referred to by two names. Geocoding resolves that issue by assigning coordinates, longitude and latitude, to an address.
Once a property has a geocode, it is possible to analyze it in relation to other geocodes. For instance, basic geocoding allows you to roughly determine where an address occurs on a road by interpolating (or approximating) the location. This information has many applications, such as determining proximity to a retail outlet or collecting comps for real estate, to name two. Geocoding allows you to introduce more complex, location-based analysis to your data.
When you are at the Enrichment level of the Location Intelligence maturity model, your data assets work harder for your business.
Click here to read Part Two